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My cockatiel laid unfertilized eggs, what now?

4MookMook

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Hello,

I just created an account on this forum after some worry. I hope you guys are able to answer some of my questions that I have. This is the first cockatiel I have, so I'm always open for new information.

I have my cockatiel for 2 years now. In the beginning, we didn't know if Mook was a male or female. We determined she's a female due to her behavior and other things. Back to present day, we noticed some hormonal behavior (she was making soft noises with her tail up) and she was definitely more active at night, running around her cage back and forth. I looked it up and found out some of it was breeding behavior and she could possibly lay an egg. I didn't know a single female cockatiel could lay an egg, so I was suprised to read it. One day later, there was an unfertilized egg in the corner of the cage. She didn't do much with that one, but she tried to find a place for it by digging in the sand and occasionally move her egg to a place of her liking.

When we cleaned her cage a week after the first egg was laid, we decided to remove it from her cage with the goal that she'd stop. At that time, I didn't know that she was going to replace it with another one if she lost it. And that was true, a few days after she laid one egg and another the day after. But now, she's sitting on her eggs for most of the day + she's very protective of them. She does go up to eat and drink water regularly or when someone is close to the cage I'm providing her more calcium rich food too. But other than that, I just let her be with her eggs. She's also more aggressive.

Now here are my questions: What do I do from here? Is it okay to let her sit on her eggs and if so, how long does it take for her to realize they are unfertilized? I've read some things about dummy eggs and I'll consider buying some when she's laying more eggs. We usually let her out of the cage every day, but I don't know if it's okay for her to go out when she's with her eggs? Is it possible to break the cycle and how do you know if she's through that? Are there more things I should look out for? I'm pretty worried about not doing the right things and I really want her to be okay. Maybe I haven't done the right thing at all.

My apologies for asking so many questions and I hope you guys were able to understand everything. English is not my native language, but I'm trying. I wrote this in a rush, so I hope that I can ask more questions when I have them :)

Thanks!

Nick
 

Zara

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Welcome to the Avenue Nick :starshower1:

What do I do from here?
Sounds ike you are doing well at the moment with the diet and allowing her to keep her eggs :)

, how long does it take for her to realize they are unfertilized?
She might not, but most do realise.
Incubation period is 3 weeks, so you won´t want her to be brooding for more... once you are drawing close to that date, Start moving perches around, moving the food bowl around, move the whole cage if you can etc, these will all throw her off a little.

I've read some things about dummy eggs and I'll consider buying some when she's laying more eggs
Dummy eggs are handy. I have read of people tricking Tiels that lay lots of eggs, but taking the first laid egg and replacing it with a full clutch of dummy eggs. Worth reading into :)

We usually let her out of the cage every day, but I don't know if it's okay for her to go out when she's with her eggs?
Yes, if she will leave the cage, then allow her out. Being out and moving around is something she needs to be able to do between laying down all day.
If she has a play stand, or favourite place to hang out out of the cage, allow her to go there and enjoy it, It will help take her mind away from the eggs

Are there more things I should look out for?
Look out for her being overly tired, or loss of balance. Weigh her daily and monitor that she is not losing weight and is eating, monitoring her poops will help with this.

When we cleaned her cage a week after the first egg was laid, we decided to remove it from her cag
Just to put this here too; the hen can keep an egg up to a week before incubating, so if she ever lays an egg but ignores it for 4 days, don´t remove it. Once incubation has started (she sits on it), then you can remove it after she ignores it for 4-5 days.

@Tiel Feathers @Monica @Tara81 @finchly
 

Monica

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You've received some good advice. You don't want to remove eggs unless you also remove the triggers to egg laying... and there could be a lot! You mentioned she laid her first egg on sand.... sounds like she has access to the cage bottom? If yes, I would recommend using a cage grate as one thing to discourage egg laying in the future. The aggression is normal since she's trying to protect her future "family". (even though the eggs are duds)


If it helps... This is generally what I recommend for egg-laying hens. (X-post) :)

  1. Remove Eggs
    • Rearrange the cage
    • Move the cage to a new location
    • Use a cage grate
    • Get a new cage/Use a different cage
    • 12-14 hours of complete darkness (may require as much as 16 hrs for 2 weeks - or try providing the opposite, as little as 8 hrs of sleep)
    • Full Spectrum Lighting/Better Lighting
    • Lower the indoor temperature
    • Decrease calcium and protein within the diet (if she is on a high calcium & protein diet prior to laying eggs)
    • Remove anything that could be taken as a nest
    • Remove anything that could be used as nesting material
    • Don't allow her in any dark place or enclosed area
    • IMPORTANT: save the eggs in the fridge
    • If she lays more than 3-4 eggs, put them back in the cage
  2. Leave the Eggs
    • Leave the eggs alone in the cage
    • [Optional] Replace with fake eggs (prevent eggs from breaking)
    • Increase calcium
    • Let hen sit on eggs for 3-4 weeks or until she gets bored of them
    • Once done sitting, toss



Generally speaking, there are triggers to hens laying eggs, and if you can remove the triggers, you may be able to stop the egg laying. Triggers can include toys that she can lay in, a plastic base to a cage, nesting material (i.e. cage bedding), a diet high in protein and fat, too much or not enough light, quality of light, etc. All things that should be considered. Removing the triggers to egg laying should be considered *FIRST* before any drastic measures should be taken. You never know, it could be something simple!
 

finchly

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between Zara and Monica, you have all the answers.

I will add that I have a hen who is what's called a "chronic egg layer." It sucks. The calcium needed is incredible and has to be monitored, and it has to be in proportion to the phosphorus and on and on. I let mine sit on a clutch (usually 4 to 5) and she tires of them eventually. In fact she doesn't even sit on them very well -- she's prone to leaving the nest for an hour or two! She'd be a terrible breeder lol.

I also want to let you know that when she is laying an egg, which is every other day, she is very bitey to me/hubby and her cage mate. On the off day, she's as sweet as can be. So we try to keep track of which day we are on. Monitoring these hens for egg-binding is crucial. You need to read up on the signs and be prepared.

Everyone told me not to get a girl because of this possibility. I have 4 girls now. She's my only eggy one, and she's so sweet, as are the others. So the egg problem is minor compared to the enjoyable personality.
 

4MookMook

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Thank you all for your responses @Zara , @Monica & @finchly! I'm very grateful. They're a big help to what I should look for and it took some of my worries away.

A quick update: she laid another egg today. I must say that it looks pretty sad to see her being protective of her eggs that are unfertilized. She usually stays with them in the cage most of the day, only goes up to eat food, which she does less than normal. I noticed that tonight she's sitting on her eggs too, yesterday she went to her perch as I covered the cage. But tonight, she's still sitting on her egg. My questions here if I'm allowed to ask: is it normal that she sleeps on them? She's honestly pretty active, putting her eggs in the perfect positions and I'm pretty worried that she won't get much sleep. Should I monitor that too?

Last thing I want to point out is that I read about the importance of calcium intake during this stage especially. I've been giving her more veggies, spinach but I'm a little clueless on what has calcium that I could give her more, because she's not fond of everything. Do you guys have any recommendations for me?

Again, really sorry that I ask so many questions but your answers do give me more insight. This is the first time we have dealt with this and I want to be sure to do the right things for her.

Thank you all so much!
 

Monica

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If she were with a male, she would be taking turns sitting on the eggs with the male.

As for calcium rich foods... besides cooked eggs, there's also broccoli, kale, collared greens.... think, dark leafy green vegetables. :)
 

Zara

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I've been giving her more veggies, spinach
Just remember, feed spinach in moderation as it can impede calcium absorbtion (I personally skip it altogether).
. besides cooked eggs, there's also broccoli, kale, collared greens.... think, dark leafy green vegetables. :)
Also, carrots, bok choy, a little dill :)

Feel free to ask as many questions as you wish :)
 

finchly

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is it normal that she sleeps on them? She's honestly pretty active, putting her eggs in the perfect positions and I'm pretty worried that she won't get much sleep.
Not to worry; this is normal.

Do you have access to a calcium supplement? Like this?
bird calcium.jpg
 
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Tara81

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Skip Spinach entirely during egg laying. It has too many oxalites. Spinach should only be fed twice a week in moderation if the bird is not egg laying. Kale is a dark leafy green and full of calcium and nutrients. Brocolli has some calcium. Sesame seeds have a small amount of calcium (but high in fat - feed small amounts only). Boiled egg once a week (just 1/4 of the egg) can help with vitamin D. Do make sure she eats her pellets or a supplement with calcium and vitamin D. You can sprinkle pellet dust / vitamin dust on her wet veges as well.
 

4MookMook

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Thank you again for all the responses @Zara, @finchly & @Tara81. I took on your advices and bought some bok choy and kale. She's not crazy about both, she eats her pellets more and some millet (which she's crazy about haha) But she does eat those greens occasionally when I give it to her. I read about cuttlebone and that it's also a calcium rich source for cockatiels, so I'm gonna try to get my hands on that as soon as I can.

Another update: She laid another egg an hour ago, which makes it four. I read that she could lay 5-8 eggs. But it's getting harder for her to keep them all in a good position for brooding, as she's moving more. Also I noticed when she is coming up for food and goes on her perch for to stretch, she's making some hissing/aggresive noises (not very loud) while she's stretching (like those noises when she's irritated) She only does it for a short time and then goes on with what's she was doing. My take on that is that she sits on one position below the cage and it might be hard for her to stay in place, but I could be wrong. I tried to put her eggs on a soft cloth, but she then moves them to the same place she likes most, which is in the corner. Also when she's out of cage, she's very alert and her flying is quite short. Is this normal during an egg-laying period? Another question I have is that now that she laid another egg, does that reset the three weeks counter and will she sit longer on them?

I've also read about egg-binding, which is quite scary and it got me worried for her. I've been monitoring her, but she's laid all her eggs so far. I do feel bad that I'm reading on this quite late, I should've been more informed. But I'm really thankful for all your answers, they've been a big help. I've been quite worried, but she's eating and drinking well. I'll try to look for other supplements when I go to the store.
 

Zara

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cuttlebones are not as good as the sellers make them out to be. Great grooming toold for little birds, little else.
Could you maybe make some birdie bread or other bird treats with some veggies? Eating pellets is very good though :)

lso when she's out of cage, she's very alert and her flying is quite short. Is this normal during an egg-laying period?
Yes. She´s on alert for predators to protect her eggs.

Another question I have is that now that she laid another egg, does that reset the three weeks counter and will she sit longer on them?
No. It is from day one of brooding, whenever that was. Some brood after 2 or 3 eggs, others after the full clutch.
If these were fertile, what would happen is that last chick would come out of their shell a few days after all the others and be very small compared to them all. They wait to incubate so the chicks all hatch around the same time closer together creating less size difference in chicks. It´ñs very interesting :)

With good diet and good exercise, she already has an advantage over egg binding :)
 

TraciAnn

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Nick couldn’t have asked better questions. This thread was so helpful for my situation. My two year old surprised us with eggs as well, especially because she was supposed to be a male haha surprise . Great advice. I appreciate it very much. One major difference is we have her brother. She’s done making her clutch of five. We have candled them and don’t see anything. I was wondering how long it would be safe to say they aren’t fertile? I heard you could see a dot, heart, after a couple days.
Also we have never seen any hanky panky between them and was wondering if this is something they do in private or it doesn’t matter and do they need to be active for each egg. I’m so clueless about this part. This is why we wanted two males. I know this is an old thread so I hope you get it. Thanks
 

finchly

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Nick couldn’t have asked better questions. This thread was so helpful for my situation. My two year old surprised us with eggs as well, especially because she was supposed to be a male haha surprise . Great advice. I appreciate it very much. One major difference is we have her brother. She’s done making her clutch of five. We have candled them and don’t see anything. I was wondering how long it would be safe to say they aren’t fertile? I heard you could see a dot, heart, after a couple days.
Also we have never seen any hanky panky between them and was wondering if this is something they do in private or it doesn’t matter and do they need to be active for each egg. I’m so clueless about this part. This is why we wanted two males. I know this is an old thread so I hope you get it. Thanks
How long has she been sitting consistently? If at least 5 days you should be able to see something.

Hey it seems like they do it in private, public, where/when they feel like it! I don't believe they need to be active for each egg - they can hold sperm for awhile - but they do tend to mate between eggs, just because they can!

Hopefully she won't keep laying, I presume you didn't want them to mate.
 

TraciAnn

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Thanks for your reply Monica. Her first egg was November 7th and she laid one every other day right on a typical schedule and they were laying on them with the first egg. But now that she’s through with her clutch as of the 15th she been laying on them constantly just about. He‘s not taking his turn like he was. It’s mainly her now. So I should check them for viability now? I really appreciate your helping us with this. And No we didn’t want any mating especially since we asked for two males from the breeder. A whole different situation now so if you have advice about that it would be very much appreciated too
 

TraciAnn

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Sorry Finchly. This is totally new to me and I got all mixed up regarding “who” I was replying back to. I’m figuring it out now. Again my apologies
 

finchly

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Hey, no worries. Yes, you can check the eggs now.
As far as stopping them... @Zara can you address that? I'm caring for my sick dad, I'm exhausted.
 

Zara

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Hi Tracy, how did you get on with the eggs? You should have had a good reading by now.
As your birds are siblings, you will want to invest in a set of dummy eggs, and swap all of the eggs your hen lays. While you are waiting to purchase or deliver, you can boil eggs, allow to cool down and put back.
 
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