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My Cockatiel Laid An Egg! What Should I Do?

You may be astonished to discover that your cockatiel has deposited an egg if it lives alone and without a partner. Unlike hens, cockatiels do not require a partner in order to produce eggs.

These eggs, like the chicken eggs we consume, are unfertilized and consequently nonviable. The issue then becomes, what are you to do with it?

"My Cockatiel Laid An Egg! What Should I Do?" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) will discuss what to do if your cockatiel lays an egg unexpectedly and how to avoid this from happening in the future.

Why Some Cockatiels Lay Eggs Without a Mate

If you own a female cockatiel, you should be aware that certain environmental circumstances might increase the likelihood of your bird entering breeding mode.

One such instance is pair bonding. A female cockatiel must form a relationship with a male cockatiel in order to mate. Occasionally, though, they form unsuitable relationships with items in their environment, such as a toy, stuffed animal, or their own reflection in the mirror.

Other birds can also have an effect on your cockatiel’s reproductive instincts; if you have two females and one of them begins to lay eggs, it could prompt your second female to initiate the reproductive cycle.

Possible Health Complications Associated With Egg Laying

There are similar hazards involved with reproduction in birds as there are in people. If you suspect that your cockatiel is having any of the following issues, please call your veterinarian immediately.

1. Egg Binding

Egg binding happens when a bird is unable to discharge an egg or when an egg takes longer than usual to move through the reproductive system of a bird.

A nutritionally deficient or unbalanced diet is one of the primary causes of egg binding. Nutrient insufficient can cause an egg to have a soft shell, causing it to become trapped in the oviduct.

Egg binding may be occurring if you observe your bird resting on the bottom of its cage, having difficulty breathing, or straining.

2. Egg Yolk Peritonitis

Egg yolk peritonitis is a disorder that can affect all species of birds, but is most prevalent in cockatiels and other species.

Egg yolk peritonitis occurs when a ruptured or incompletely shelled egg yolk enters the body cavity of a bird. As a result, the bird’s belly may fill with fluid, causing breathing difficulties and a reduction in appetite.

3. Hyperlipidemia

A bird’s circulation may have an excessively high concentration of lipids and proteins when its egg production is high. The thickening of a bird’s blood, which can lead to a stroke, can be caused by a continuous high quantity of lipids.

What To Do With The Egg

If the Egg Is Fertile

If your bird was introduced to a male cockatiel before to laying the egg, it is possible that the egg is viable.

To determine whether or not an egg is viable, you can employ a technique called candling, which involves holding the egg up to a light source to examine what’s within. Wait a few days following the egg’s laying to candle it.

A viable egg should have a black dot with spidery veins emanating from its center. This black dot represents the embryo. If the egg is unfertilized, it should appear clear with the exception of a small shadow of the yolk. If you’re still uncertain about what you’re seeing, you may seek advice from a bird breeder.

After determining that an egg is viable, you may either return it to its mother or place it in an incubator for incubation. The incubation period should last around 20 days.

If you intend for your cockatiel to incubate her own eggs, you should provide her with a nesting box. A nesting box will provide her with seclusion as she incubates her eggs.

Once the eggs hatch, you should keep the chicks with their parents until they are able to feed independently, around 4 to 6 weeks after hatching.

Give your adult cockatiel additional food at this time so she can sufficiently feed her chicks, and discuss with your veterinarian whether or not nutritional supplements are acceptable.

If you own a male cockatiel and wish to continue breeding your birds, you should be aware that they should only breed once or twice each year.

Cockatiels, unlike other birds, may reproduce at any time of year, but that does not imply they should; breeding has a significant negative impact on their health. Keep your cockatiels in separate cages to prevent mating until the female has had sufficient time to relax.

If the Egg is Infertile

If you establish that the egg is infertile, you should keep it with your cockatiel for the time being; if you remove it too soon, she may lay additional eggs to replace the ones she lost.

If you are unsure about the egg’s fertility but do not wish to hatch it, you can temporarily remove the egg from the nest and boil or freeze it before returning it to the bird.

Often, there will be several eggs, so ensure that you have removed all viable eggs and replaced them with sterile or false eggs.

You may leave the eggs in your cockatiel’s nest for around three weeks, which is roughly the length of time they would typically require to incubate and hatch.

Afterwards, you may begin taking them from the cage one by one. Your cockatiel will eventually discover that they are not viable. She should eventually forsake them.

Tips For Preventing Your Bird From Laying Eggs in the Future

Several cockatiel owners are astonished when their pet lays an egg since they were unaware that their pet was a female. Bring your bird to the veterinarian if you have any questions as to its gender. Your veterinarian should easily be able to determine the sex of your bird. Knowing you have a female bird might help you prepare for the likelihood that she will lay eggs.

If you believe your bird has formed an unsuitable attachment with an object in its environment, consider removing it.

Other strategies include removing anything from your bird’s cage that it may associate with nesting, such as cardboard boxes; relocating your bird’s cage to a less familiar area of the house; and covering its cage for a minimum of 12 hours at night to communicate to your bird that it is not spring and therefore not the appropriate time to lay eggs.

If the behavior persists, see your veterinarian to determine the best approach.

Final Thoughts

While you may not anticipate it, your pet cockatiel may lay an egg. If you wish to prevent this behavior, you may try a number of measures mentioned in “My Cockatiel Laid An Egg! What Should I Do?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

If you are interested in breeding your cockatiels, you should consult with your veterinarian about giving them with the right diet to guarantee a successful procedure.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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