Preventing Egg Laying in Pet Birds

Even if your female bird has never had an egg laying problem, this
information could someday save your bird's life. Whether they have a
mate or not, many hens will decide to lay eggs. While it is more
common in the spring and summer, it can happen any time of year.
Here are some things you should do to reduce or eliminate egg laying problems:

1. Do not provide any sort of nesting site or nesting material. Use a
wire grate in the bottom of the cage, or remove all paper or bedding
material and just leave the plastic or metal tray. Remove any boxes
she can hide in, and prevent her from accessing dark corners in the

2. Disrupt her environment by putting her into a different cage or by
moving the cage to different locations within the room or into
different rooms of the house. This may make her feel that it is not
safe to start a family when her life is so unsettled.

3. Reduce the hours of daylight she receives by covering the cage
with a heavy, dark blanket for 12 hours each night. The increasing
length of daylight hours stimulates many birds to lay eggs in the
spring and summer.

4. Leave the eggs with her if she is sitting on them so she won't
feel the need to keep laying more and more. Some birds need to have the pile of eggs to sit on for two or three weeks to help fulfill
their nesting urge.

5. Save all the eggs she lays that have not been cracked. They will
not go bad if the shell is intact, but will dry out so they rattle.
If she starts another clutch of eggs, you can place all of the old
ones under her to make her think that she has too many and she may
stop laying.

6. Be sure to provide plenty of calcium in her diet by having a
cuttlebone, mineral block, or feeding a pelleted diet. For info on
switching your bird from seed to pellets, see

7. If your bird seems to be straining to lay an egg, or is sitting on
the floor with her eyes closed, feathers puffed, or not eating, she
could be in a serious, life threatening condition known as being egg
bound. Get her in the bathroom and run some hot water in the shower
to make the room steamy and warm, and call for help right away. If
pink or red tissue is protruding from her back end, this is an
emergency and she needs to be seen immediately.  For more info see

Burge Bird Services
Julie Burge, DVM
13833 S. 71 Hwy
Grandview, MO  64030
(816) 356-4700