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To lay an egg or not to...that is the question???

DrLuv

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My cockatiel Paulina has been doing the mating dance daily since we hit the hot weather out here in L.A. ...about 2 weeks ago she got a little pooch at the lowest part of her abdomen. I figured she might be getting ready to lay a nonfertile egg since she is only in her cage with another female named Lucille. After a couple days and no egg I thought maybe it would help her move it out if she had a nesting box in the cage.. so I put one in. She loves it and sits in it periodically as though she is going to lay an egg but so far nothing. She has no signs of an egg bound bird. She is VERY active eating, playing, taking a bath, talking. And she also is pooing regularly. She has calcium in the cage...plenty of water...ideal temperature conditions and is in a flight cage. I feed her daily with vita s
20190518_132649.jpg eeds, scrambled eggs, lentils, dried fruit and fresh spinach. Ill try to attach a picture. Any ideas what is going on? Is this an egg in her belly?
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Zara

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Cut the spinach for a while, it impedes the absorbtion of calcium. Offer kale, collard greens, bok choy and other dark leafy veg.

Does your bird fly? It is the best exercise she can get.

If you can´t see the egg when you check her vent, then you will have to wait. I don´t provide a soft nest for my hen ´til I know I can see the egg and know she will lay within 24 hours. Observe her well so you will know for the future.


For future reference, a good way to cut back laying is to cover the bird for 14 hours a day. Rearrange the cage every few days including food and water bowls. Add a new toy. Provide plenty of foraging.

Be sure to note all eggs laid by your hens. More than 2 clutches a year and the hen is classed as a chronic egg-layer, something you will need to talk to your vet about.

If at any point you are unsure and feel that there is something wrong, just go straight to the vet. Better safe than sorry and all that.
 

Tiel Feathers

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I would take out the nest, you don’t want to encourage her to lay, and it just might make her lay more. She probably will lay in a day or two, but just watch for signs of binding.
 

DrLuv

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She has had a baby bump for over a week. I put the nesting box in hoping she would relax enough to lay her egg but she sat in the box for awhile and never did. I took the box out and pulled her out and wrapped her in a towel. I washed off her vent and put a micro dot of oil on her vent and rubbed it a bit and than blotted it off. I felt her abdomen and although it feels full there was no feel of an egg right at the mouth of the vent nor could I see an egg even if I moved the skin a bit. In the meantime she is extremely active. Preening, bathing, climbing and eating. She's in a bit of a pout now because I handled her. But she will get over that soon. She has no problem pooing but she seems a little distracted by a need to be alone and lay her egg or eggs. My question is how long can a bird walk around with an egg in them before laying it. I understand all the panic online over an egg bound bird but I really don't believe she is. The last cockatiel I had for years I took to a vet once and it died of fright as soon as the vet held him. So I am not wanting to take this one into a vet unless she seems like she is in a crisis.
Thoughts?
 

DrLuv

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20190523_160950.jpg Positive update....
After about a week without laying an egg my cockatiel had a massive abdomen. I wrapped her in a towel, washed and lubricated her vent and felt her abdomen which was rock hard. I gently pushed on her stomach where the top of an egg would be to see if I could see any bit of an egg appear but there was nothing. I put her back in the cage and prayed. In the next few minutes she pushed out 2 massive eggs! One broke but I took a picture of the other One ..pictured below. Now its been about 50 hours since than and she looks like she is going to lay another. She is now alone in the cage with a young male. Once she has passed any remaining eggs and has bonded with the male I will put a nesting box in the cage. It seemed that the reason she was having such a hard time laying the first egg is because she has never laid any eggs before and the egg was far bigger than the opening in her body. Once the first egg came out the second one came out much easier and quicker. Im hoping from here on out she won't have any more problems laying eggs because her body has now stretched out to handle laying an egg.
Thank you for your support
 

Zara

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In the next few minutes she pushed out 2 massive eggs!
I´ve never heard of anything like that.
It takes 24 hours to create an egg, but I always thought they push that one out before making the next.
2 eggs at once... I have no idea. Have you called your vet?
Be sure to write this down in your egg journal.

What is this birds diet now? It is important she gets back the nutrition she has lost.

@PoukieBear @Lady Jane @Hankmacaw @Monica @rocky'smom @cassiesdad @sunnysmom @Tara81 (I don´t know who to tag :( )
 

Lady Jane

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Twin eggs! That had to hurt! Poor girl needs a rest and some good calcium to eat. Treat her well.
 

CeciliaZ

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I have had my tiel occasionally lay eggs the next day after one was laid. Watch her...
 

DrLuv

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I love her so much. I didn't have the money for a vet. I laid in bed all day with her cage next to me and prayed God would help heBut even called my prayer partner and asked her to pray for her. And than finally it happened. I believe without a miracle she would have died.
She is much better today. Its been over 48 hours since this experience and Im not entirely sure she wont lay another. There is no nesting box in the cage. Im really hoping those 2 eggs were all for now.
Her diet daily consists of vita seed, scrambled eggs, dried blueberries, fresh greens either broccoli or spinach or celery, a large seed stick, a salt free rice cake and plenty of oyster shell grit and a coddle bone.
She now has a male companion. But I think he is much younger than I was told. But they get along well.
 

Zara

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I didn't have the money for a vet
She now has a male companion.
No money for the vet.... but you buy another bird?
I´m not against you expanding your flock, that´s lovely, but you need to be able to pay for vet care. I´m assuming this means that you did not take the new bird to the vet for a check up.

Her diet daily consists of vita seed, scrambled eggs, dried blueberries, fresh greens either broccoli or spinach or celery, a large seed stick, a salt free rice cake and plenty of oyster shell grit and a coddle bone.
Have you tried pellets? They may be something for you to look into. They are a sure way to know you bird is getting all the vitamins she needs.
 

DrLuv

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I didn't buy the male. I had a female Lutino that didn't get along with my albino (who just had the eggs). So I traded the Lutino with a highly competent breeder who raised the male I have. The male was in perfect health when given to me. The breeder wanted my Lutino because of her coloring. As for my albino.. I was walking down a very busy boulevard and saw her on the sidewalk running scared and trying to fly. She was seconds from being hit by a car. I caught her and brought her home and used Craigslist to see if anyone lost a bird. No one responded. That was last year and That's how I got her. Im disabled and on a fixed income so I never could have afforded her. No I haven't tried pellets yet
 

Tiel Feathers

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View attachment 305420 Once she has passed any remaining eggs and has bonded with the male I will put a nesting box in the cage.
I’m glad she’s okay, that must have been so hard for her! I would not give her a nest box in the future, you definitely don’t want to breed, and you don’t want to encourage egg laying.
 

Zara

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I didn't buy the male.
I bought the male on the right who is about half her size. The owner tried to tell me he (...)
I´m sure you can see the confusion. Maybe a translation error?

She was seconds from being hit by a car.
Wow, she´s one lucky bird!

No I haven't tried pellets yet
Give them a go, it may take a little time for the birds to be interested others will eat the from the get go. Try feeding them to your hen one by one (as if it were a treat), or you could soak some in a little dish, or mix them in with her veggies.

Meanwhile, if your cage isn´t too heavy, and depending on where you live, some sunshine will help your hen absorb calcium. I have to put my birds out pretty early because it is too hot in the afternoon where I live.
 

Monica

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Agreed, it's not a good idea to encourage her to breed.

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!


It's great that she eats a varied diet, although if she isn't eating much greens, you may want to add pellets into her diet to help round out anything she may be missing. I would say she doesn't need the seed stick or rice cake and feeding grit can be quite controversial. If you feed celery, it's best to feed it finely chopped up. The "strings" in celery don't always get broken down well in their system and can cause digestive problems.
 
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