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Excessive egg laying

fashionfobie

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Johnny99

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So the female has a new female friend (the male has been put into a separate cage), and the problem is now that her new friend is laying like crazy. During the past week or so she has laid an egg every day. Always on the bottom of the cage and they ate it every time. They do not have any nest boxes in the cage. I do not feed them egg food either. They've got cuttlebones, crushed oyster shells and I also give them water soluble calcium but I am worried it's not enough.
 

Screech

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Mine eat their eggs too, despite having access to oyster shells and a balanced diet. I wonder if they eat their eggs to try get back the protein lost, but I have nothing to back that up.
How many hours of light do they get?
Reduced daylight hours did not stop mine, but perhaps it could help for yours. Short days in theory replicate winter, which is not an ideal time for birds to breed in their natural environment.
 

Shezbug

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Mine eat their eggs too, despite having access to oyster shells and a balanced diet. I wonder if they eat their eggs to try get back the protein lost, but I have nothing to back that up.
How many hours of light do they get?
Reduced daylight hours did not stop mine, but perhaps it could help for yours. Short days in theory replicate winter, which is not an ideal time for birds to breed in their natural environment.
I believe they eat their own eggs to replace the lost calcium.
 

fashionfobie

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One thing to add to the discussion is that egg laying isn't always something a bird has perfect control over. She may be laying because of her biology, but my not want to have chicks. I was surprised to read in Gisela Kaplan's book Bird Bonds that as few as 15% of adult birds have families annually.

However if she is harming herself I may try and offer her a nest of dummy eggs, for all we know she desperately wants eggs to sit, and is eating out of stress from not having a safe place to lay them.

It is complicated, we don't want to encourage nesting but we also don't want to have her laying lots of eggs. I'm just brainstorming since I do not know the best solution.
 

Johnny99

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Mine eat their eggs too, despite having access to oyster shells and a balanced diet. I wonder if they eat their eggs to try get back the protein lost, but I have nothing to back that up.
How many hours of light do they get?
Reduced daylight hours did not stop mine, but perhaps it could help for yours. Short days in theory replicate winter, which is not an ideal time for birds to breed in their natural environment.
They get around 12-13 hours of daylight at the moment, but the days are slowly shortening. When I tried artificially shortening their days once it triggered a really hard molt in one of my canaries.
 

Screech

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They get around 12-13 hours of daylight at the moment, but the days are slowly shortening. When I tried artificially shortening their days once it triggered a really hard molt in one of my canaries.
Perhaps that could be playing a factor, it is about that amount of daylight in the summer. You might see a decrease in egg laying as the days shorten.
Yes, artificial daylight hour changes does affect canaries moulting cycles quite a lot. I have not heard about the same happening in other birds such as zebra finches, although I do try keep all of mine on a natural daylight cycle regardless of species. If you think she is laying so excessively that it would be a major health risk to her to wait till the days shorten naturally, you could artificially shorten the days back to 9 or so hours while keeping any other birds you have on the normal hours. Assuming all the birds are kept in one room, one way you could do this would be covering their cage with a dark coloured towel/blanket while leaving the others without one.
 

Johnny99

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She had another egg today. I'm really gonna have to start considering using a blanket like Screech said. They often try to mount each other so maybe that's what triggers the egg laying?
 

Johnny99

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They started fighting after a month of being friends, preening each other every day etc. One of them kept chasing the other almost the whole yesterday's afternoon and evening and she does it even at the moment in the morning. There's no blood or pulled feathers. What am I supposed to do? Wait until it stops? Why are finches like this... it's annoying.
 

Johnny99

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The other female laid an egg again, so I'm going to have to start covering their cage with a blanket. How many daylight hours should they get? And for how long should I be doing that?
 

Screech

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I would say 8-10 hours of daylight, and you can keep that timeframe until they (hopefully) stop or reduce hormonal behaviour.
 

fashionfobie

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She is determined.

Have you tried dummy eggs yet? Maybe letting her sit a clutch will help. Eventually when the eggs don't hatch she will move on. It may at the least give her body a break from laying.
 

Johnny99

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She is determined.

Have you tried dummy eggs yet? Maybe letting her sit a clutch will help. Eventually when the eggs don't hatch she will move on. It may at the least give her body a break from laying.
So I gave them a nest with dummy eggs, but the problem is the other female went and sat on them instead. She hasn't laid eggs for about a month and I'm worried she'll resume doing so. The female that I wanted to sit on them doesn't, even when I gave them two nests.
 

fashionfobie

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So I gave them a nest with dummy eggs, but the problem is the other female went and sat on them instead. She hasn't laid eggs for about a month and I'm worried she'll resume doing so. The female that I wanted to sit on them doesn't, even when I gave them two nests.
They really aren't making it easy for you.
 

fashionfobie

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Should I give them 2 nests, hoping that eventually the crazy egg layer will sit in one of them? I've only got 7 dummy eggs though, would have to buy 7 more. Not like that's a problem.
I think that is a good idea. Two nests and two sets of dummy eggs. :fingerscrossed:
 
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