Why Did My 17 year old Jenday Conure, Kiwi Lay an Egg?

Why Did My 17 year old Jenday Conure, Kiwi Lay an Egg?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Good Morning,

Yesterday morning my nearly 17-year-old Jenday, Kiwi laid an egg. 

We adopted her nearly 2 years ago from a friend who raised her until she was 15 from where she was little and could not even perch! 

During those years, Kiwi laid many eggs. 

But with me this is the first. 

I am not sure what to do today as I found her this morning sitting on it keeping it warm and I am worried she will grieve when nothing happens. 

Should I remove the egg?  She spent a lot of time yesterday doing the same.  She is a wonderful bird and always sweet and happy and I want her to stay that way.

Also, I want to be sure she has enough calcium in case this happens again which I hope it won’t.

Please advise.

Thank you,
Janet

Dear Janet

Between January and April yearly we get all sorts of emails from people with hormonal birds.

Some are females laying eggs, others are males who have gotten aggressive and are lashing out.

Thankfully that time is almost up and our birds will usually return to normal.

But some do seem to hang onto their hormonal behavior longer and it can affect their health.

Between the calcium used for egg production and other bodily resources used to replace feathers pulled at this time of year, it can be physically hard on them.

Yes, a calcium supplement added to your bird’s water is a very good idea. And if your bird is eating a seed-based diet, then a good Multivitamin may also be a good addition.

If you feed mainly pellets, then a multivitamin is really not needed. But the calcium is.

Vitamins

We have had our own experience with a chronic egg-laying cockatiel which after dealing with Lupron shots and dummy eggs,

We found a real solution. LIGHT.

Most of the pet birds in our home don’t get much light.

Parrots are tropical and as such, their brains are used to having a bright light (the sun) on them a minimum of 12 hours a day.

Less than that and their brains feel it is time to find a mate and raise a family.

Yes, they can still lay eggs without mating if their brains have triggered this action.

We have found with the research by Harrisons and Hagen (both major bird food producers) that if a bird is placed under a bright light for 72 hours straight, the pineal gland is affected through the eyes and it helps to reset the circadian rhythm and the birds lose their interest in broody behavior.

The bulbs do not need to be pricey UV bulbs, they just need to be bright, daylight types.

We take the bird and put her in a small cage (to best offer bright light) place the light directly over the cage, as close to the bird as possible, and leave it one for 3 days and nights.

2 covered bird cages with lights on under covers on top of cage

The bird can eat, sleep, play, etc as normal.

They just must remain under the constant light.

After 3 days (72 hours) the bird usually loses interest in nesting, eggs, etc. If not, it can be repeated up to 7 days.

It sounds drastic, but it isn’t.

The bird does not have to be injected with anything, and afterward, will go back to normal behavior.

However, after the treatment, you must keep the light above their cage and set it on a timer for 12 hours on and 12 hours off, forever.

This will help keep the hormones in check. You are replicating the Australian sunshine in the summer, year-round. Birds don’t mate, breed in the summer.

You can find lighting options here.

Please let me know if you have any questions and please let us know how it works out.

 

Hi Catherine,

Thank you for taking the time to respond with this interesting information.  
This being the third day, I hope she will lose interest in the egg and not lay more.
She is on the Harrison’s pellet diet, both coarse and fine mixed together.  
No seeds at all.
I am so surprised after 2 years with us she laid an egg.
Wondering what stimulated the hormones now?
Should I remove the egg or will that make her lay more?
Thank You, Janet

Dear Janet

Oh yes, my apologies for skipping this important information.

Remove the egg and any nesting material she has collected.
Remove all small balls, egg-shaped toys.
If there are any hanging toys that she can allow to lay on her back then they need to be moved.
They can be hung higher or in a spot, they cannot be against her body.
If you have a playtop cage with a tray installed above the bird, the tray must come out and stay out to allow light to pass into the bird’s cage.

What can cause her (or any hen) to lay?

  • Darker than normal lighting in her cage
  • Too many shreddable toys and the piling up of the shreds
  • Toys that lay on her back
  • Too many balls
  • Too much food. Don’t leave full dishes 24 hours a day. Instead, offer a 1/4 cup of any dry food. You can pull food before bed and return it in the morning.
  • Too much petting below the neck. Birds only have contact below the neck when they are going to be choosing a mate and mating. Otherwise, neck and up only for preening as they can’t do it themselves.
  • Another male bird in the house.
  • It does not have to be the same species to affect her.
Foods with soy are thought to cause hormonal behavior. This food does not have soy.

 

Hi Catherine,

Again, thank you for all this really valuable information.
So, my male green cheek conure lives in the cage next to her, but they are never out together as he can be an aggressive bird, even though he is smaller, I can tell you he packs a nasty bite.
Kiwi is a sweet and gentle bird and has only bitten once when she was really scared and clamped down.
Buster the green cheek, Kiwi’s neighbor…he is the same age
NEW POST 4/15/2024 My nearly 17 year old Jenday, Kiwi laid an egg
I will remove the egg and clean up the cage tomorrow of any shredding material.
In looking under her vent, it still looks a bit distended, I hope there’s not another egg.  Tomorrow would be day 4.  Will the removal of this egg cause her to want to lay another?  I feel sad for her, she wants to be a mom…
Janet

Dear Janet

Yes, it looks like the male GCC is the catalyst that has caused Kiwi to become hormonal.

Birds do not have to be the same species or in the same cage to affect each other hormonally.

He may have been near her before without issue, but something has caused it all to click, and boom, she is responding by producing an egg.

By the way, she may lay a couple more before her cycle ends. Just keep removing them.

That you have a male near her, may continue to trigger egg laying.

I DO recommend light treatment for her.

But as she is near the male, over time, her hormones will kick back in resulting in another clutch.

We know birdkeepers who do have to repeat the treatment a few times a year.

Be sure to get that calcium into her water daily.

Best of luck

Catherine

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