Sunday, February 27, 2011

Early Spring

It's the end of February and it feels like springtime! I'm not complaining, I've had enough of freezing with all the cold weather we have had. Obviously the birds have spring fever, we have lots of babies! We have senegals, pineapple green cheek conures and parrotlets in the nursery now. We also have another clutch of pineapple green cheek conures in the nest with their parents which will be in the nursery soon.

The blue quakers have been louder than usual and spending time in their nestboxes. I expect eggs soon.

If you are interested in any of the babies above, feel free to email me at  We also keep our website current as to what we have available:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Bird Laid Eggs, Now What?

I have gotten several phone calls lately from people whose pet birds have laid eggs. Many people think that because their pet is laying eggs, it should have a mate. This is not necessarily true. The reason why the female is laying eggs is because environmental conditions (light, temperature, cage set-up, etc.) are telling her hormones that it is a good time to reproduce. Your bird is not pining away for a mate. Laying eggs is just a natural function of hormones doing what they do.

One should never purchase a mate for their bird without thinking it through first. Here are some points to consider:

1. Your pet may not want a mate at all. Single pet birds develop a close, mate type bond with their owners. That special connection is one of the reasons why we are drawn to them. It takes a lot of patience to convert a pet that is bonded to humans into a breeder. You cannot just throw two birds together in a cage and hope they get along. They must be kept in seperate cages side by side for weeks, sometimes months until they accept each other. And just like humans, some birds just don't get along. So you can go out and buy another bird for your girl, only to have two birds that do not like each other!

2. If per chance, your bird does get along with the new bird, now you have another set of issues. Many people do not realize that once a bird is set up with a mate (as a breeding pair) that bird will not be your pet anymore. You cannot have both a pet and breeder. It is one or the other. Your bird will become bonded to it's mate. Breeding pairs become extremely territorial of their cage (they are defending each other and their nest). Your former pet will protect it's territory by inflicting painful bites. And the fact that the bird is a former pet and is not afraid of you..... well, get ready.

3. What are you going to do if there are babies? You cannot have a full time job and take care of baby birds. And for birds to be tame, you must pull them from the care of their parents at a few weeks old and handfeed them yourself several times per day. You also need special equipment for handfeeding and to keep them warm. I won't go into all the details here, but trust me it is quite an undertaking! As a breeder, you are responsible for the lives you bring into this world. That means taking care of them while they are yours and making sure they go to good homes where they will be loved. What are you going to do if you cannot find homes for your babies? You cannot keep them all.

So you've thought this out and decided not to get a mate for your bird. Well, here's what you can do to discourage the egg laying behavior and get your pet back!

1. If your pet bird is on eggs, leave them in there for about 3-4 weeks. If you take out each egg as it is laid,  she will lay another to replace the one you took. Let her lay her entire clutch of eggs and sit them for a while. She may become very defensive during this time. Just leave her alone. Service the cage and let her be. Be sure to check the food bowls to make sure she is eating and drinking. Many pet birds after being allowed to go through the process, become bored and quit sitting the eggs after realizing they will not hatch. Either way, after a few weeks, take the eggs out and throw them away. Then...  

2. Take away anything in the cage that your bird perceives as a nest. And if you are providing a nestbox for your bird to sleep in, take that out or off the cage.

3. Rearrange the cage. Move perches, toys and food bowls around. Change things up. Maybe put in some new toys and perches.

4. Try moving the cage to a different location. Simply moving the cage to a different area in the same room can have a big impact.

5. Put your bird on a more meager diet. I'm not saying starve your bird. But if you are providing an  abundance of fresh food, fatty seed mix, nuts, etc. that will encourage breedy behavior. Hopefully your bird is on a pelleted base diet. Adjust the ratio of your bird's diet to more pellets and less fresh food. Limit nuts and seeds to occasional treats. Especially during the breeding season.

Since we do not spay or neuter our pet birds, hormonal behavior is something bird owners have to deal with. Following the tips above will help minimize these behaviors so you can go back to enjoying your beloved pet. Of course, each pet bird is different. If you need additional help with your bird, feel free to contact me through my website at