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· Member of the Month March 2011
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When We Don't Want Eggs!

When We Don't Want Eggs

Sometimes we have over enthusiastic hens that want to have chicks even when the timing is not right or they are not in the best condition or age to raise a clutch of chicks.

While the male is very important in the role of raising chicks, most of the encouragement and drive for actually laying eggs comes from the female, and this is why they will do so even without a male present.
While most of the males job is wooing the hen and mating which can happen through out the year with no breeding intentions, she is the one that seeks out and prepares a nesting spot, and starts her laying cycle when she is comfortable with her chosen spot.

What are some signs your hen is going to lay? What are some things that can naturally encourage breeding? And how can you discourage her from laying eggs?

It is very important to know these things before hand if you want to stop egg laying before it starts! You can find the answers below :)

What Are The Most Common Egg Laying
Here are the most common behaviours you will see
in a hen when she has started a laying cycle, and why:

Change in cere color
Excess chewing
Spending time in any dark spaces
Eating extra amounts of calcium

Change In Cere Color
Her cere will change from a light blue/white to a light tan and then dark brown.

Increased hormones will make her especially territorial and aggressive, she will defend her chosen nesting spot and or cage with increased aggression.

Excess Chewing
Hens naturally chew to hollow out their nesting spot, and then fling out the extra material to clean the inside.
In our homes this could be chewing the paper at bottom of the cage, or flinging her seed/pellets from food dishes.

Spending Time In Any Dark Space
Any dark place can be taken as a nest. Kozi korners, snuggies, covered food dishes, dark cage corners etc.
If they can fit in it, they will attempt to use it as a nest if they cannot find anything better!

Consuming Extra Amounts Of Calcium
In preparation for laying eggs most hens who rarely touched a mineral block or cuttlebone will devour a whole one in no time.

There are a number of things that will encourage your hen to lay eggs.
Some of them are rather obvious, and some might be happening without you even
noticing. Some of these include:

Increased daylight hours
High protein and high fat foods
Nesting Spots
A Stable environment
Finishing a moult

Increased Daylight Hours
In the wild budgies breed when the rains come and increased daylight hours provide them with extra time to forage to feed their growing chicks.
The same thing is true in our homes in the spring/summer months, and/or all year around with artificial lighting.

High Protein And High Fat Food
In the wild an abundance of rich foods happen during the rainy seasons when breeding naturally takes place.
Increased amounts of these foods in our homes will trigger breeding condition and their breeding instincts in the same way.

Nesting Spots
Budgies are very opportunistic breeders.
They will do their best to find a nesting spot and will pick ones you might not think likely.
Watch out for anything small and dark they can get into!
Be careful too about cage covers and the dark places they can create

A Stable Environment
Security is very important for breeding, when their surroundings are predictable and ideal it is the perfect time to breed.

Finishing A Moult
Right after they moult they are in peak physical shape and naturally come into breeding condition. Rightafter a moult get ready to start watching for breeding

How to discourage your hen from laying:

Decrease daylight hours
Limit certain foods
Change up her environment
Prevent male/female contact
Decrease daylight hours

Decrease Daylight Hours
Limit her daylight hours to 8 if possible, but definitely no more than 10 at most. If you do not have a room with no windows, try to make the room as dark
as you can.
Make sure you stick to a routine and keep up with it for a number of weeks after the breeding signs stop to prevent her from starting another cycle.

Limit Certain Foods
While you do not want to cut off nutritious food, you do want to limit ones that will encourage her to come into condition. Hard boiled eggs, quinoa, most beans and legumes etc or anything with a high fat or protein level should be avoided.
Instead offer her healthy vegetables that have lower levels of these
things but are still nutritious.

Change Up Her Environment
Stability and routine make for great breeding times.
When you suspect your hen is getting ideas about laying, rearranging her cage is a excellent thing to do.
Try to make things look as different as possible.
For example, put perches that were on the bottom of the cage on top, food dishes that were on the right on the left etc. Adding some new toys at this time is a great idea too. If at all possible move the cages placement in your home as well, even if it is just across the roomor a few feet away.

Prevent Male/Female Contact
If you have both males and females in your home limiting their contact with each other during peak breeding times will help to keep things from escalating to the egg laying point.
Separating your sexes will also give you the peace of mind that if any eggs
are laid, they are not fertile and they can easily be disposed immediately.

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