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Home > Birds > At What Age Do Parrots Start Laying Eggs? Bird Sexual Maturity Facts

At What Age Do Parrots Start Laying Eggs? Bird Sexual Maturity Facts

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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There are many species of parrots out there, and they all mature at different rates. Medium-sized parrots typically mature at around 2 years of age. At this time, they will begin laying eggs. Smaller species usually mature faster, while bigger species mature slower. Therefore, you’ll have to take your parrot’s specific species into account.

With all that said, parrots become capable of laying eggs after they reach sexual maturity. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will lay eggs. Parrots’ egg-laying is regulated by hormones. If these hormones signal to the parrot’s body, the parrot will lay unfertilized eggs (unless they have been fertilized, of course).

Several factors may signal to a parrot’s hormones that breeding season has begun. An increase in sunlight hours, exposure to other parrots, or the availability of nesting materials may all play a role. However, sometimes parrots simply lay eggs without any obvious cause.

If you don’t want your parrot to lay eggs, you can prevent these factors from occurring. However, there is no way to prevent egg-laying completely without medical therapy or surgery.

The size of the clutch will depend on the species of parrot. Some parrots may lay 3–6 eggs, while others may only lay one. Different species have different norms.

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Do All Female Parrots Lay Eggs?

All female parrots that have reached sexual maturity are capable of laying eggs. However, parrots work differently from other species in that they only lay eggs when exposed to certain conditions. Because egg-laying is controlled by hormones, it mostly depends on what the bird’s hormones are up to.

There are several ways to induce egg-laying in female parrots. Exposing them to other parrots and increased sunlight is one way to do this. Often, breeders have to induce egg laying by providing nesting materials and adjusting sunlight exposure. However, it is generally not suggested to induce egg-laying unless the bird is being bred.

rainbow lorikeet parrot
Image Credit By: Arulonline, Pixabay

Egg-laying does have some risks, just like any other birth. Birds have died from impacted eggs, which occurs when an egg gets stuck inside her oviduct.

Furthermore, egg-laying also requires a lot of minerals, calories, and nutrients for production. This factor makes breeding birds predisposed to malnutrition, osteoporosis, and other illnesses.

Therefore, we recommend that pet parrots are discouraged from breeding.

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How to Discourage a Parrot from Laying Eggs

There are several ways to discourage a parrot from laying eggs. Here are some of our top suggestions:

1. Keep your bird away from potential “mates

In the wild female birds only lay eggs if they have a mate. In captivity, though, this doesn’t have to be another male bird of their species. Any bonded bird will do. Keeping your bird separated from other potential mates in the household will usually prevent egg-laying. Keep in mind that a toy or even a preferred human can be perceived as a potential mate by a female parrot.

Amazon parrot on branch
Image Credit: fiz_zero, Shutterstock

2. Eliminate potential “nesting” sites

Birds also only lay eggs in the wild when they have a nest. These nests are usually in dark, enclosed areas. Therefore, you should not provide dark, enclosed areas for your bird to nest in. If your parrot is regularly out of her cage, closely supervise her, as she may go and find a nesting location. Birds may nest in the dryer, under a couch, or in drawers.


3. Put your bird to bed early

Your bird should not be kept up late at night, as day length can trigger hormonal breeding responses. You should mimic the day/night cycle of the winter, which will prevent your bird from believing it is breeding season.

covered cage, birds go to sleep
Image Credit: Kedek Creative, Shutterstock

4. Regularly change the cage interior

Birds only like to nest where they are completely comfortable. One way to prevent this is to regularly change the inside of the cage. As you might imagine, this also helps keep the bird entertained and thinking about other things.


5. Provide optimal nutrition

Some birds will simply lay eggs no matter what they do. In this case, we recommend providing optimal nutrition and full-spectrum light to prevent nutritional issues. You’ll likely need to feed a pelleted diet to ensure your bird receives all the nutrition they need, as seed-based diets are not nutritionally-dense.

parrots eating food
Image Credit: Dewald Van Rensburg, Pixabay

6. DO NOT remove eggs

Commonly, bird parents will remove eggs from the bird’s nest as soon as they are laid. However, birds do not have a biological limit to the number of eggs they produce. Instead, they produce eggs until the “correct” number is in their nest. Therefore, if you remove the eggs, the bird will continue to lay them. One of the best ways to prevent further egg-laying is to leave the eggs or egg dummies in the nest until the bird loses interest.


7. Consider hormone injections

If necessary, you may want to ask an avian veterinarian about hormone injections. These are relatively safe and can stop egg-laying when our other suggestions haven’t worked.

avian vet. examining lovebird
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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How Long is a Parrot Pregnant Before Laying Eggs?

Egg-laying does not work the way the general populace often believes it does. Birds do not develop a set number of eggs ahead of time and then lay them all at once. Instead, birds only produce one egg at a time. This egg is developed over a 24-48 hour period in most cases, though this can vary a bit. Therefore, parrots aren’t actually “pregnant” very long at all.

Parrots (and all birds) will continue to produce eggs until they have the “correct” number in their nest. This number depends on the species and the bird. Sometimes, there is quite a range within a species. If an egg is removed, the female will lay another one to replace it.

Therefore, if the eggs are continuously removed, the females will continue to produce more eggs until the breeding season is over. Sometimes, this can lead to lots of eggs being produced. One particular bird continued to produce eggs for 63 days!

parrot couple
Image Credit: Pixabay

Even if the eggs are unfertilized, it is best to leave them in the nest. Otherwise, the female will simply continue trying to reach the “correct” number of eggs in the nest, which may lead to chronic egg-laying.

Once the correct number of eggs is produced, the female will normally stop laying eggs. However, if the bird’s hormones continue to signal that it is breeding season, she may start another clutch if the eggs are removed.

For fertilized eggs, the incubation period usually lasts 18–30 days. Usually, both females and males will incubate the eggs. However, in captivity, this may differ.

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Conclusion

All female parrots that are sexually mature can produce eggs. However, unless she believes it is breeding season, she usually won’t. Therefore, there is a lot you can do to prevent egg laying in pet parrots, which is typically recommended to avoid the possible health issues that often come with it.

In the wild, female parrots usually do not lay eggs unless it is the correct time of year, which the parrot determines by the lengthening of days. Therefore, in captivity, a longer day and extra sunlight can make the bird believe that it is breeding season. Furthermore, birds usually don’t lay eggs unless a mate exists, though this mate doesn’t necessarily have to be the correct gender or species.

Finally, most birds will make a nest before egg-laying. Providing nesting materials and a location will often make the bird lay eggs.


Featured Image Credit: LINO IGNACIO, Pixabay

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