Too Many Eggs

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Post  FinchG on Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:04 pm

This was probably written for hookbills, because they can get aggressive during breeding, but the over all information can also apply to finches. FinchG

Too Many Eggs!

by Dawn Hanlon

Is your loving pet bird laying eggs without a mate? If so here is some important information and tips to get her to stop laying and go back to being your loving pet once again.

First you have to understand what makes a hen lay eggs. In the wild, birds lay eggs to continue the species. In most places this occurs in Spring, when the days become warmer and daylight hours increase. Often this time of year is accompanied by an increase in rainfall and an increase in fresh food stuffs with the growth of foliage and fruits. The birds know that when the eggs hatch out there will be a ready supply of new fruits and berries and other healthy tidbits for them to feed to their fast-growing chicks. Those are the basics of procreation, no matter the species.

Now, how does this affect your single hen in her cage in your house? Well, breeders like myself create conditions that are optimal for breeding in our aviaries for year round hatching. To imitate nature we provide artificial lighting that simulates the sunlight, fresh foods, and high humidity levels. Also available are warmer temperatures and nesting material. You may be imitating these same things a little too well and stimulating breeding or egg laying in your own home without realizing it.

To stop a single hen from laying, and therefore regain your loving and adorable sweetheart, you have to take a look at her surroundings. Is there a full-spectrum type of lighting in the room such as a fluorescent fixture? Or large windows that let in sunlight during the longest and hottest part of the day? If so, this could be a major contributor to the egg laying. Try keeping a shade over the windows or only partially open, to cut back on full light exposure. Try not turning the overhead light on until later in the day. By limiting light exposure to less than 12 hours a day you will replicate the Fall shortening of days. In many cases this is enough to break the egg laying cycle.

If you feed your birds fresh foods, and I strongly recommend this practice for all bird species, you may be giving her signals to breed by letting her know that a large and never ending food source is available. This is a very attractive setting for any mother with hungry mouths to feed and a very strong factor in the reproduction cycle. Do not stop giving the fresh foods, but give them less frequently or in smaller amounts. The natural reduction of fresh foods available in the wild stimulates the birds to stop breeding so imitating this in your home should be as effective.

What type of nesting or cage lining do you use? If you have a cage grate, a lining of newspaper (preferred for disease control), or wood chips should not make a difference. But, if you have no grate, you may notice that your hen is shredding the paper or wood chips and making a little nest-like area in a corner of the cage. Try changing the type of cage material you use as well as moving the cage perches and toys around. A change in environment will often pull the hen out of breeding mode.

Along with the cage material you should check to see if she is trying to feed a particular toy, or if she has a "special"; place on a perch that she uses as a "mate". If so, remove this article at once.

Lighting, food availability, nesting material and a "mate" have been identified as possible contributors to excessive egg laying. It may be one of these things that is the cause, or it may be a combination of these. Only persistence and observation will tell you just what you need to do to stop the egg laying.

If your hen is laying eggs, do not remove them as she lays. This stimulates her to continue laying to replace the lost egg(s). Let her lay her clutch and sit on it as she will. After several weeks she will tire of this activity, especially when no babies begin hatching, and you can safely remove and dispose of the infertile eggs.

Why not let her lay eggs? Well, there are several reasons to prevent excessive egg laying. The least of which is to get her to stop being a nippy, protective mother and have her become your sweet and adoring pet. But, there are health issues that can arise with excessive egg laying as well. Loss of calcium and other much needed nutrients can lead to osteoporosis, or brittle bones. Flapping her own wings could cause a bone to break! Another problem is starvation. Even though she is eating, if the food is not high enough in protein and fat and other needed nutrients, she can effectively starve to death. Her metabolism is on high when she is producing eggs. This is a very intricate body function that takes a lot of energy and nutrients to manufacture eggs.

Another very dangerous aspect of excessive egg laying and depletion of nutrition is the increased chance of egg-binding. The hen may not be able to pass an egg for various reasons. Low humidity, being too young or having laid too many eggs causing scar tissue to form in the egg tract, or being too weak from laying too many eggs in too short a time are just a few. This is a life- threatening problem and if you do not know what to look for, or what to do to help, your hen could die before you even realize there is a problem. Egg binding is an extreme example of what could happen, but the dangers are very real and need to be considered seriously.
Getting a mate for your bird is not the answer. Just because she lays does not mean she wants to breed, it only means that instinct has recognized the correct conditions for breeding and has taken over.
By examining your hen, her surroundings and her diet, you can very effectively stop this behavior. In so doing you are helping not only her, but yourself as well. Her health will improve, her mood swings will stop and you can look forward to a long and happy relationship with each other once again.

FinchG Too Many Eggs Birds_zps98e5f41b Too Many Eggs Dans-fleur_zpsc53bae9e
Lots Of Societies, 11 Gouldians, 4 Orange Cheek Waxbills, 2 Orange Weavers, 3 Spice Finches,1 Quaker, 1 Conure and 2 Lineolated Parakeets


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