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Patricia, Parrot Consultant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1759
Experience:  Published author, free lance bird behaviorist, adviser to the parrots at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
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how do I tell if my parakeet is going to lay eggs/babies

Customer Question

how do I tell if my parakeet is going to lay eggs/babies? First time with this situation, she is crouching in corner panting, is this a sign? And if so do I need to seperate her from the other two males? They seem to be bugging her in the corner..
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.

Hello. If she is sitting in a corner panting, there is something very serious going on. Either she is very ill or she may be attemtping to lay and egg and she is egg bound. If she is egg bound, that is life threatening. Normally we don't recommend separating birds that have always caged together and if it is a true breeding situation, the male bird who is the father, must stay with the female because they share the duties of incubating the eggs and of feeding the little ones. One parent cannot do it alone. But, in this situation, I suggest that you temporarily get her out of the cage and into a smaller, carrier or other enclosure. Whether she is ill or whether she is egg bound, you need to do it for now. The last thing she needs is the others aggravating her and raising her stress level any higher than it is. Prepare the smaller enclosure first by lining the bottom with lots of paper towels and putting in bowls of food and water, in a corner, that are heavy enough she won't turn the over. Then, being more gentle than you have ever been with anything, scoop her up in both hands to move her and do not put any pressure whatsoever, on her body. If she is egg bound, the only thing that will put her life in greater danger is if that egg should rupture inside of her. Do not turn her upside down and do not let her struggle but as you are moving her, very gently run your finger tip down her tummy, in the direction of her vent. Try to determine if there is any swelling or enlarged area near her vent, probably just in front of it. If you feel one, she is definitely egg bound. But, if you don't, there is still no guarantee she isn't. If she is egg bound, and if it is not dealt with right away, the symptoms will progress. She will become unable to keep her balance and she will lose the use of her feet and legs because the egg will be pressing on the nerves and blood supply to her legs. This is for future reference but the reason for becoming egg bound is not nearly enough calcium in the diet and poor diet in general. If she (and all of them) are on a diet that has only seeds or seed products, they are already in trouble, health wise. I'm going to give you some links about proper Budgie diet. If she has not had an unending supply of cuttlebone, plus many other high calcium foods, she cannot form solid shells for her eggs, therefore they are too soft for her to pass them. But again, that diet stuff is for later. We must get her through this crisis first, whether it's egg or illness. If she doesn't have a cuttlebone and if someone can run to the pet store and get her some, it might help just a bit but don't count on it. She needed the calcium long before now. Having some right now, and if she is not too weak to munch some of it, it might trigger her to lay the egg. However, that is a huge "might". If she strains too long without help, she is also at risk of a prolapse. She will literally turn inside out, trying to pass that egg. If that should happen, you only have minutes to get her to a proper avian vet. That's another thing I'll give you links for, to assist in locating one. The information I'm about to give you only applies if you have verified that she is egg bound. If these symptoms or the beginning syptoms of illness you need to get all of them to an avian vet right away. Because birds mask all symptoms of illness or injury from us for as long as possible, the fact that you are seeing any symptoms now shows that which ever it is, it has been going on for awhile. Time is of the essence here. Her life depends on it.

Against my better judgement, I'm going to give you one last ditch effort you can make. I say it that way because it is exactly that, last ditch, when all hope is gone, desparation move. I also warn you, it has little chance of success. It's only better than doing nothing. You can coat her vent with cooking oil and have her stand in a dish of luke warm water. The water must be deep enough to come about half way up her tummy. Any deeper and she will panic and struggle. Struggle is the last thing you want. You must handle her as gently as possible and don't put any pressure at all on her body, anywhere. If the egg has not already ruptured inside of her, you don't want to cause it to. The best way to keep her standing in the water is to cup both your hands over her body without really holding her directly. But, if she does not pass that egg in about 30 minutes or less, and without a vet, she is going to die. Your first choice is a certified avian vet. Second choice is a vet who has tons of exprience working with birds. For now, just bookmark the sites and read them later. If you have the proper information about diet, perhaps you can avoid another life threatening emergency like this. I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you both. Let me know if you have more questions. Patricia

Click here: Hepatic Lipidosis

Click here: PetCareLibrary - Tumors in Parakeets (

Click here: Parakeet Medical and Safety Information

Click here: Parakeet Budgie and Keet FAQs and Info

Click here: Toxic and Safe Plants/Trees for Birds - Household Poisons

Click here: Birdsnways - Safe Plants & Trees for pet birds, pet parrots &exotic birds

Click here: Nutrition

Obesity & Diets (budgies)

Click here: The Basics: Intro to Budgies / Parakeets

Click here: The Budgie and Parakeet Place - Care, Training, Pictures and More


Click here: Find your local Avian Veterinarian

Click here: Avian Veterinarians Recommended by Bird Breeders and Owners

Click here: Avian Vet List

Click here: BirdsnWays - Avian Veterinarians - Vets - Vet Services for Pet Parrots & Exotic Birds

This one looks like an advertisement for Harrison pellets but they are only sold by vets so it's another good list to check. Click here: Harrison's Bird Foods is a family of certified organic pet bird diets that were formulated to make your bird as he