Signs a parrot is going to lay eggs

5 Signs Your Parrot Is Going To Lay Eggs

It often comes as a surprise to many bird owners when their parrot lays an egg. It takes approximately 48 hours for an egg to develop inside a parrot before it is laid. 

So there’s hardly any time to observe physical changes when a parrot becomes gravid. However, there are a few behavioral signs that are noticeable before the parrot starts egg-laying.

A hormonal female parrot will show nesting behaviors and other changes in behaviors during the breeding season. These are your first clue that your parrot might be trying to lay eggs. Let’s discuss the signs of egg-laying and what you should do if your parrot is in the process.

Can Female Parrots Lay An Egg Without A Mate?

A female parrot can lay an egg after mating with a male or without it. She can lay eggs even in the absence of a mate if she is hormonal and allowed to nest. However, the eggs laid by a single female parrot are not fertile. 

Because parrots are not easily sexed, it becomes difficult to know whether you have a female or a male. This is why owners most of the time get surprised when their parrot lays an egg. 

Parrot Egg Laying Signs

Weight Gain

Weight gain and increased appetite are common signs that a parrot is preparing to lay eggs. In order to form the egg, the parrot’s nutritional needs change, which causes changes in appetite. However, weight changes are hard to notice in birds because they are covered in feathers. 

Unless you are weighing your bird regularly, it is difficult to notice any weight gain early on. It is only when the parrot is about to lay an egg that you will notice a clear difference in their appearance. You can also check your parrot’s belly to see if it looks distended. 

Less Frequent Or Watery Droppings

Parrots have a single opening, called the cloaca, that serves as the exit for their reproductive and digestive tracts. While the egg is developing, the droppings may become infrequent and larger in size. 

As the parrot’s body redirects its energy and resources toward the development of eggs, the digestive system slows down, resulting in less frequent droppings.

However, once the egg is fully developed, the droppings may become watery because the parrot will not be able to pass anything solid. 

According to Avian Medicine, egg-laying parrots excrete urine without urate and feces. This means when a parrot is laying eggs, the egg’s presence can obstruct the usual passage for solid waste, leading to a more watery excretion.

Swollen Vent 

There are usually no physical signs of a parrot being gravid until it is far into the egg-laying phase. One observable physical change you can notice is the swelling of the vent. The vent is the external opening for the reproductive and digestive tracts in birds. 

As the female parrot’s body prepares for egg-laying, hormonal changes lead to an increase in blood flow and fluid retention in the reproductive organs, causing the vent to become visibly swollen. This swelling is a natural occurrence and only lasts till the reproductive cycle. 

Sitting On Cage Bottom

When a parrot goes to the bottom of the cage, it is never a good sign. A female parrot that is preparing to lay eggs may find a suitable nesting spot in any one corner of the cage and nest there. The bottom area of the cage is chosen because it provides warmth, especially if there are any towels lying around. 

Nesting Behaviors

Hormonal birds tend to become territorial and start guarding the cage as it is their nesting site. Along with this, parrots exhibit a range of nesting behaviors, which indicate their readiness to lay eggs. Female parrots, in particular, sometimes pluck their feathers to line the nest, which can be a strong sign that the parrot is about to lay an egg. 

Parrot sitting inside its cage

What To Do If Your Parrot Is Laying Eggs?

Unwanted egg-laying is not good for parrots and often leads to chronic egg-laying. The parrot gets stuck in the cycle of egg-laying and keeps producing eggs.  

This happens because in captivity parrots do not get the seasonal signals on when the breeding period is over. The breeding conditions are ever-favorable, which causes them to keep laying eggs. 

There are a few strategies that you can use to stop your parrot from laying eggs. These steps might take a while to work, but it is also a good idea to consult with an avian veterinarian. Some birds that get into a state of chronic egg-laying might need hormonal therapy to fix the issue. 

Limit Exposure To Light

The reproductive cycles of parrots are influenced by changes in the amount of daylight exposure, also called photoperiod. Increasing the duration of light can mimic the extended daylight periods of spring and summer, triggering hormonal changes in parrots that stimulate breeding behaviors.

To discourage breeding, you need to limit the amount of light parrots receive. You can do this by putting your parrot to bed early and covering its cage. Parrots need 10-12 hours of sleep with complete darkness during the period. This makes the parrot believe the days are returning to their normal length and it is no longer an ideal time to breed. 

Discourage Nesting 

During the nesting phase, parrots may display heightened aggression and defend their territory. They may engage in nest-building activities, and shredding materials to create a nesting site for egg-laying. Do not provide your parrot with any kind of nesting material such as newspaper or cardboard. Also, remove any towels or cloth that might be lying at the bottom of your parrot’s cage.  

Relocate The Cage 

Relocating the cage will signal the parrot that the nesting site is unstable, so they cannot safely breed there. They will eventually abandon the cage bottom as a nest and come out of the reproductive cycle.  

Pet The Head Only 

Do not pet your parrot in any place other than the head. When parrots are in a hormonal state, petting, stroking, or touching certain areas of their bodies might inadvertently stimulate them and promote breeding behaviors.

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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