Southern mealy amazon parrot perched

How To Tell If A Parrot Is Egg Bound? (Signs + Prevention Tips)

Most female parrots are able to lay eggs without needing any outside assistance. However, in some cases, the egg may get stuck inside the reproductive tract and prevent the bird from expelling it normally. This condition is known as egg-binding or dystocia.  

It can be a distressing and potentially fatal situation for the parrot if it is not addressed immediately. A parrot that is egg-bound may show signs of poor health such as fluffed-up feathers, lameness, constipation, loss of appetite, etc. Identifying the symptoms of egg-binding early on can help in a favorable prognosis.

Signs Your Parrot Is Egg-Bound

Egg binding occurs when a parrot is having difficulty passing eggs. Most parrot owners find out about this situation when it’s too late. It is critical to recognize the symptoms in the early stages as the condition can be life-threatening for parrots. Here are the signs to look for if your suspect your parrot is suffering from egg-binding:


The earliest sign to identify is seeing your parrot straining to pass the egg. Although straining can also be associated with constipation, a parrot that is egg-bound may strain by repeatedly pushing and contracting its abdomen in an attempt to expel the egg. 

Moreover, in some cases, constant straining can lead to Egg Yolk Peritonitis – a condition where the yolk from a broken egg reaches the bird’s stomach, causing inflammation in the protective lining of the abdomen.

Heavy Breathing

When a female parrot is struggling to pass an egg, it may show signs of distress that are evident in breathing. Due to straining and physical effort, the parrot’s breathing may become heavy and labored. 

Inflamed Cloaca

The persistent straining and pressure exerted to expel the trapped egg in the vent can cause swelling in the abdomen. There may also be visible swelling and inflammation around the cloaca. This can cause the inner tissues of the cloaca to become visible externally, creating a swollen and often reddened appearance. 

Cloacal Prolapse

Straining during egg binding can put extreme stress on the cloaca and lead to damage. According to the MSD Veterinary Manual, cloacal prolapse happens when the inner tissue of a bird’s vent area comes out, causing the intestines, cloaca, or uterus to be exposed. This condition is not only painful for the parrot but also poses significant health risks, including infection, and difficulty in passing waste. 

Decreased Droppings Or Constipation

Egg binding in parrots can potentially lead to a decrease in droppings or even constipation. The egg stuck in the reproductive tract can cause a blockage in the passage of excretion which can make the parrot constipated

Loss Of Appetite

As a consequence of a blockage in the GI tract, the parrot may refuse to eat since it is not able to expel waste. The discomfort and inability to pass stool may cause the parrot to lose its appetite.

Fluffed-Up Feathers

Parrots instinctively conceal signs of any weakness or illness and may try to hide their situation for a while. However, when a parrot is fluffing up its feathers it usually indicates that it is sick and is trying to keep warm.

Paralysis Of A Leg Or Lameness

The pressure exerted by the obstructing egg around the bottom region can damage the nerve in the parrot’s legs, making it unable to stand. In some cases, complete paralysis of one or both legs may occur, making the parrot immobile.

Sitting On The Cage Floor

Due to straining and discomfort, the parrot may struggle to find a comfortable position and continually adjust itself to alleviate the pressure. However, if the pain from the stuck egg becomes too much, it may make it difficult for the parrot to perch. A parrot may then sit on the cage floor as it is unable to walk.  

Sudden Death 

Parrots are sensitive creatures that cannot handle too much stress and pain. In severe cases, an egg-bound parrot may show any visible symptoms or signs of distress. This silent condition, unfortunately, may sometimes be the only sign before a sudden death. A parrot that is egg-bound cannot survive more than 48 hours without treatment.

Budgie sitting in its cage

Causes Of Egg Binding In Parrots

Egg-binding in parrots can be caused by various factors including dietary, biological, and even environmental. Here are some of the possible reasons why egg-binding may occur:

Large Or Abnormal Eggs

At times, the egg the bird is trying to expel may be deformed or just be too large in size. The abnormal size of the egg may pose a challenge for the bird to pass it through. This can occur as a result of certain nutrient deficiencies and health conditions. 

Overproduction Of Eggs

Chronic egg-laying is another health issue in pet birds including parrots. If a parrot is laying too many clutches of eggs, it may become deficient in certain nutrients, particularly calcium which can cause thinner walls in egg shells, among other abnormalities.

Cloacal Infections Or Tumors 

A parrot may have difficulty passing through eggs if the passage or oviduct itself is inflamed. GI infections and other diseases can cause the cloaca to get swelled causing pain in expelling eggs. 

Nutritional Deficiencies

An unbalanced diet that lacks vital nutrients, especially calcium, selenium, and vitamins D and E, can contribute to complications in egg laying. These are essential vitamins and minerals required for a number of physiological and reproductive processes such as the formation of the eggshell, and proper muscle contractions of the oviduct and uterine. 


Apart from nutritional deficiencies, an unbalanced diet, typically a high-fat or all-seed diet can contribute to unhealthy weight gain in parrots. Obesity can have detrimental effects on the reproductive health and egg-laying abilities of parrots. When parrots are overweight or obese, it can disrupt their hormonal balance

Budgie sitting on hand

How To Prevent Egg Binding In Parrots

Egg-binding is most commonly observed in small birds like Budgerigars, canaries, cockatiels, finches, and lovebirds. However, any bird may develop this condition. The smaller bird species tend to encounter such issues more frequently and so as a responsible parrot owner, you should be aware of the possible risks and take necessary steps to prevent egg-binding. 

Balanced And Nutritious Diet 

As mentioned above, nutritional deficiencies and poor diet can cause various health issues that can potentially disrupt normal reproductive processes and cause egg-binding. Maintain a balanced dietary routine and provides healthy greens as well as fruits and nuts. 

It is extremely important to provide foods that cover the essential vitamins, minerals they need in a day. Adequate calcium levels are particularly crucial as they directly pertain to the formation of eggshells. 


If a parrot is not engaging in its environment or does not get opportunities to exercise and work its muscles, it may make it more prone to egg-binding. Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, strengthen muscles, and improve cardiovascular health, all of which are crucial for good reproductive health.

Discourage Egg-Laying

If you do not want your female parrot to breed and lay eggs, you can take steps to discourage them from doing so. For parrots with chronic egg-laying, the use of medication to regulate hormones may be better suited. 

  • Keep them in dark or low-lit places 
  • Keep them away from other male birds
  • Reduce fat in the diet 
  • Provide a balanced diet 

Salpingohysterectomy Or Avian Hysterectomy 

According to the Veterinary Information Network, Avian Hysterectomy may be performed to treat egg-binding in birds. However, this procedure may only be used if no other treatment seems viable or if the oviduct appears to be ruptured or damaged.

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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