Maybe you looked into your parrot enclosure and found an egg and don’t know what to make of it. Maybe you thought that you had a male parrot and have now realized that you have a female.
Either way, now that you have a parrot laying eggs, there are a few things that you need to address. First, do all eggs turn into baby parrots, and is this something that you can just ignore? We break down everything that you need to do and look out for here.
Do Female Parrots Lay Eggs Without a Male?
Just because you have a female parrot, that doesn’t mean she’ll lay eggs. But she also doesn’t need a male to lay an egg. That said, you don’t need to worry about baby birds if there isn’t a male parrot around, as these eggs will be infertile.
Why Is Egg Laying a Big Deal?
You might be wondering why it even matters that your parrot is laying eggs if she isn’t fertile. The truth is that egg-laying can lead to a litany of health complications, especially if she is laying eggs repeatedly.
Parrots that are laying unfertilized eggs will likely lay more of them than they would in the wild, which can lead to a whole host of health problems. Here, we highlighted the four most common health and behavior problems that can result from egg-laying.
The most common health concern with egg-laying is egg binding. This is extremely common in captive birds, as they often don’t get the necessary exercise or natural sunlight that they need for proper egg-laying.
Instead, the egg can be soft or lumpy, which can keep it from moving through the oviduct like it needs to. Symptoms of egg binding include the bird sitting at the bottom of the cage, having difficulty breathing, blood coming from the vent, excessive straining, or even experiencing pathologic bone fractures.
If you suspect that your parrot is suffering from egg binding, you need to immediately take her to a licensed vet.
Egg Yolk Peritonitis
If your parrot isn’t “shelling” the eggs properly, the innards of the egg can fall into her body cavity. This is known as egg yolk peritonitis and is extremely uncomfortable and dangerous for your parrot.
Symptoms include lethargy, problems breathing, and a decreased appetite. If you suspect that your parrot has egg yolk peritonitis, you need to take her to a vet as soon as possible.
Another serious health condition that can develop from chronic egg laying is hyperlipidemia. This occurs when the blood starts to thicken as a result of constant egg-laying. When this happens, your parrot can have a stroke, and it doesn’t matter how much exercise you give her or how you change her diet.
Typically, at this point, your parrot needs either spaying or hormone therapy, or else it can be life-threatening.
Irritability and Behavior Problems
While this isn’t nearly as serious as other health concerns that can come from chronic egg laying, it can be extremely frustrating for owners. When parrots lay eggs, they go through a hormone-changing process and get extremely protective.
You might find that your ordinarily friendly parrot won’t let you near her cage and will try to peck at you and hurt you when you get too close. These behaviors aren’t life-threatening, but it’s probably not something that you want to deal with from your pet.
What to Do After Your Parrot Laid an Egg
If your parrot has already laid an egg, there are a few things that you need to do. First, ensure that the egg is infertile. If you don’t have a male around, then you don’t need to do anything. But if you do have a male, there’s a good chance that you have fertile eggs.
You can freeze or boil the eggs to make them infertile. Keep in mind that raising young parrots is almost impossible for novice handlers. But if you plan to keep the fertile eggs, consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible to see what you need to do.
Once you have infertile eggs, leave them with your parrot for about 3 weeks, even if your parrot isn’t nesting them. From there, remove one egg at a time over several days until they’re all gone. This could be a traumatic experience for your parrot, even if the eggs were never fertile.
Also, while your parrot is laying eggs, they might need nutritional supplements to keep everything going smoothly.
How to Prevent Future Egg Laying
Since egg-laying can lead to a whole host of health problems, it’s best to prevent egg-laying if at all possible. There are a few things that you can do to help prevent your parrot from future egg-laying.
First, you can move her cage to a different part of the home. This will make her a little uncomfortable, which helps prevent her from laying eggs. Also, rearrange any movable objects inside her cage.
Switch out the food bowls and move them to a new location, and remove any objects that your parrot can use to make a nest. This includes cardboard, substrates, fabric toys, and anything else she can use. Discourage any nesting behavior when she is out of her cage too.
You can also extend nighttime hours by covering her cage, as this will mimic winter conditions when it’s not time for her to lay eggs.
But the most effective thing that you can do to help prevent egg laying can also be the hardest. You need to remove whatever she associates with as a “mate.” This can be a toy, mirror, or even other birds, even if they’re females.
That said, many birds perceive their owner as their “mate.” You need to avoid bonding behaviors like grooming, petting, kissing, or sharing food during this time. While this might be difficult, it’s the most effective way to stop chronic and potentially dangerous egg-laying.
While you might not have to deal with a baby parrot, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the fact your parrot just laid an egg. While these tips can all help discourage future egg-laying, if you can’t get it under control, you’ll need to seek out a veterinarian to help you with the problem.
They might recommend hormone therapy or spaying, and this might give you a parrot that you can bond with and no potentially dangerous egg laying!
Feature Image Credit: MStock00, Shutterstock