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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question for those experienced breeders or those who have experience with egg laying females. I have a female parrotlet (Gemma) and male that are caged separately. Gemma is 7mths old based on the hatchday I was given. The two get to visit with each other under supervision each day and I have not seen them mate. For a few weeks Gemma has been shredding up paper and trying to hide under it. Last week I noticed she had gained several grams during a very short amount of time. I had been checking her vent area since last Friday and there was no swelling until yesterday. Yesterday I could see a little swelling for the first time and she does poop infrequently and large poops for about 1 week. My questions are:

When should I expect her to lay it?
How long is "normal"?
Is there anything I can do for her?
At what point should I be worried?

This morning when I left she was on the bottom of her cage. She seems alert and not necessarily straining. I have been giving her calcium supplements (I give to all the females just in case) once a week for the 4 mths that I have had her and she has a very good diet of sprouts, pellets, seed, veggies, and grains daily. With a little egg here and there. I appreciate your advice. I know she is not a budgie, but I trust you all and your expertise.
 

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If you have only noticed the swelling yesterday, then she could hang on for another 2 to 3 days before laying. As the time passes you will see the vent area getting more swollen and rounder in shape and the poops will continue to be big.
You should only be worried if you actually see her straining and in pain. If she keeps her good spirits up and is bright eyed and alert then all should be well.

I'm very sorry you are having to deal with this so soon, given the fact that no breeding/nesting nor mating were encouraged for her to be displaying these symptoms at such a young age makes me believe she may be on the road to be a chronic egg layer. I hope that's not the case, though but chances are high, unfortunately. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your words of encouragement. I did have finches before that would lay eggs, but I was not as in tune with them since I only observed them and never took them out etc. So it is good to know that I am still in the safe zone. After this time, I will know more what to expect.

I'm very sorry you are having to deal with this so soon, given the fact that no breeding/nesting nor mating were encouraged for her to be displaying these symptoms at such a young age makes me believe she may be on the road to be a chronic egg layer. I hope that's not the case, though but chances are high, unfortunately. :(
Could I have been encouraging it without knowing? Can you let me know what I should not be doing just in case? If she is a chronic egg layer, what should I be doing for her in relation to this?
 

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It does sound like she is going to lay. I usually start noticing swelling from 3-7 days before they actually lay :) Does she have plenty of calcium in her diet? Do you have any liquid calcium on hand just in case you need it? :)

Although I wrote this in relation to budgies the same applies to all parrots, and these are the best things to do to discourage breeding: http://www.cutelittlebirdiesaviary.com/when-we-dont-want-eggs.html
 

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I really don't think you have been encouraging her, just the fact that Gemma is caged separately from Oliver is a good thing and also the way you always supervise them during out of cage playtime. At 6 months old she is right on the birdie puberty but that doesn't mean she should necessarily start to think about eggs and laying them.
Have you ever seen her trying to mate with a toy or something? This can happen sometimes when a bird reaches puberty, but again if it's not consistently nor obsessively done, it won't lead to egg laying or any other type of problem.
It's also important to not give her any kind of hiding spot or things that she can use as a nest (no cozy huts, no coconut toys with entrance hole, not even the half coconut ones).

When she does lay her first egg, you can try to discourage her from laying more by attempting to break her laying cycle. You can do so by totally rearranging everything in her cage, or even moving her to a different cage altogether and never giving her a nest box/nest area and just let her lay on the floor of the cage. That can make her think that the sudden change is not suitable for her to continue with the egg laying and make her stop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I really don't think you have been encouraging her, just the fact that Gemma is caged separately from Oliver is a good thing and also the way you always supervise them during out of cage playtime. At 6 months old she is right on the birdie puberty but that doesn't mean she should necessarily start to think about eggs and laying them.
Have you ever seen her trying to mate with a toy or something? This can happen sometimes when a bird reaches puberty, but again if it's not consistently nor obsessively done, it won't lead to egg laying or any other type of problem.
It's also important to not give her any kind of hiding spot or things that she can use as a nest (no cozy huts, no coconut toys with entrance hole, not even the half coconut ones).

When she does lay her first egg, you can try to discourage her from laying more by attempting to break her laying cycle. You can do so by totally rearranging everything in her cage, or even moving her to a different cage altogether and never giving her a nest box/nest area and just let her lay on the floor of the cage. That can make her think that the sudden change is not suitable for her to continue with the egg laying and make her stop.
Yeah she doesn't have any of those things in her cage and I did just move her into a different location and a different cage. I think it was right at the beginning of this all happening. Apparently it didn't stop it. I have not seen her trying to mate with any toys, although I did see Mina twice over the last year and I immediately removed said toy. Mina has never displayed any of these other symptoms or behaviors though. Right now, she only has the cage floor and I feel pretty bad about it but understand why. I debated folding a small receiving blanket and putting it there for some cushion, but decided it wouldn't be a good idea.

Gemma does cuddle on my chest in the evenings. I usually have a receiving blanket there to protect my pjs from poop and she does put her face under it. Is that bad? I do not rub her back just her head.
 

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It's not bad and you only use the blanket to keep her from pooping on you.
It's clear you are very concious of everything that could trigger breeding behaviour, including the petting on her back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
It does should like she is going to lay. I usually start noticing swelling from 3-7 days before they actually lay :) Does she have plenty of calcium in her diet? Do you have any liquid calcium on hand just in case you need it? :)

Although I wrote this in relation to budgies, the same applies to all parrots, and these are the best things to do to discourage breeding: When We Don't Want Eggs! - ************* Cute Little Birdies Aviary
Thank you so much. I do have Avitech Cal D Sol that I have been giving her in her water once a week for the last 4 months. I also recently purchased a liquid calcium, in case I have to administer it orally in an emergency. Since it is better absorbed, I put the liquid in her water last night even though she has already had her weekly Cal D Sol in her water.

Having a time frame really helps. I will also read the information on your link.
 

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Thank you so much. I do have Avitech Cal D Sol that I have been giving her in her water once a week for the last 4 months. I also recently purchased a liquid calcium, in case I have to administer it orally in an emergency. Since it is better absorbed, I put the liquid in her water last night even though she has already had her weekly Cal D Sol in her water.

Having a time frame really helps. I will also read the information on your link.
No problem :) Since she is so young I would start giving her calcium daily as a precaution if you can. The younger they are the higher chance of egg binding and uterine prolapse, which both usually happen as a result of not having enough calcium stores, so in her case I think it would be better to play it safe and up her calcium levels :)

I agree with Aluz that it doesn't sound like you have done anything to encourage her to lay :hug: The right amount of daylight when they have higher hormone levels can be enough to trigger laying birds though, so the sooner you can apply the suggestions in the link I gave you the better. Hopefully you can throw her out of it and get her back to just being a teenager :giggle:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·


No problem :) Since she is so young I would start giving her calcium daily as a precaution if you can. The younger they are the higher chance of egg binding and uterine prolapse, which both usually happen as a result of not having enough calcium stores, so in her case I think it would be better to play it safe and up her calcium levels :)

I agree with Aluz that it doesn't sound like you have done anything to encourage her to lay :hug: The right amount of daylight when they have higher hormone levels can be enough to trigger laying birds though, so the sooner you can apply the suggestions in the link I gave you the better. Hopefully you can throw her out of it and get her back to just being a teenager :giggle:
So do you think I should use the liquid Calcium Plus in the water or the Avitech Cal D Sol in the water.....or wait did you mean directly to the beak?
 

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Is it weird that I also think she smells different?
I have never noticed a difference in scent in my laying hens, but then again while breeding them I wouldn't take them out to have a good sniff at them.

Maybe she took a bath early in the day when you weren't around and by night time you noticed the different smell. I can totally see the difference in scent the days my Khaleesi takes a bath, because the scent lingers on even after a few hours post bath.
 

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So do you think I should use the liquid Calcium Plus in the water or the Avitech Cal D Sol in the water.....or wait did you mean directly to the beak?
I just meant adding it daily in her water :) You don't want to handle her anymore than absolutely necessary when she is laying as the eggs are so delicate while they are being formed. If one were to crack inside her she would likely need surgery to be saved as most times they simply can not pass a broken egg physically. I never handle them unless it is literally an emergency ;)

What is the difference in ingredients between the two? I have never used calcium plus before :) I use crystal calcium by Kal in my laying hens water, it is flavorless and devolves instantly so they don't even notice it is there: Kal Crystal Calcium? -- 10.6 oz - Vitacost

Something with vit d in addition to calcium to help with absorption is ideal :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have never noticed a difference in scent in my laying hens, but then again while breeding them I wouldn't take them out to have a good sniff at them.

Maybe she took a bath early in the day when you weren't around and by night time you noticed the different smell. I can totally see the difference in scent the days my Khaleesi takes a bath, because the scent lingers on even after a few hours post bath.
She is out with me a lot and I just have a sensitive sense of smell I guess. Especially since they are close to my face also if they are on my shoulder etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·


I just meant adding it daily in her water :) You don't want to handle her anymore than absolutely necessary when she is laying as the eggs are so delicate while they are being formed. If one were to crack inside her she would likely need surgery to be saved as most times they simply can not pass a broken egg physically. I never handle them unless it is literally an emergency ;)

What is the difference in ingredients between the two? I have never used calcium plus before :) I use crystal calcium by Kal in my laying hens water, it is flavorless and devolves instantly so they don't even notice it is there: Kal Crystal Calcium? -- 10.6 oz - Vitacost

Something with vit d in addition to calcium to help with absorption is ideal :thumbsup:
Ok. Recently, I don't handle her too much other than asking her to step up and letting her hang out on her playgym. Sometimes on my shoulder while going to and from one room or a little head scritches. I guess I shouldn't even let her out during this time?
 
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