Is Your Pet Cockatiel Egg Bound?

I read recently that someone had a problem with one of their cockatiels…Egg Binding was suspected.

This is a very serious situation and one that you must act swiftly on.

Egg Binding can be fatal

All female cockatiels are prone to becoming egg bound, it is not limited to females with male partners either. This is a common myth that just because the female has no male partner does not mean that she will not lay eggs… Being vigilant and understanding your pet cockatiels behaviour will help immensely in this situation. 
Egg binding can be caused a number of things. The most common cause is the lack of calcium which is needed to create the egg. Always ensure that all bird cages have some form of calcium supplement. Many females that live on a very basic diet of seeds will suffer from lack of nutrition which also doesn’t help. The best situation for all cockatiels is to supply them with a varied diet of fresh greens and fruit.

Egg Binding may be caused by;

  • Repetitive egg laying cycle
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet leading to nutritional problems
  • An unsettled nesting place
  • The reproductive tract being infected
  • Lack of calcium needed to form an egg shell

The Perfect Egg Laying Situation

Most bird lovers will have a perfect or close to it set up for their flock…Not only will this encourage the female to nest and lay eggs, it will be consistent and create the perfect breeding ground. You see, in the wild cockatiels will instinctively wait until they have the perfect or very best situation for mating and nesting… safe, plenty of food & water, comfortable surroundings etc. Not doing it on purpose we are creating the perfect nesting place for our birds, which leads them into false thinking that they are always safe and can just going being breeding machines. After all, the female just wants to breed and raise young.

Knowing this, we can upset the routine somewhat which will effect the comfortability of your cockatiels and hence slow down or even halt the egg laying process.

How To Slow Down or Stop Egg Laying

If your female has a male partner then they will naturally want to nest and mate. If they show signs of this and start a cycle ensure that the female has the best diet and nesting area possible. If your female is alone and therfore going to lay infertile eggs, try and avoid this happening.

Here are a few tips to help prevent this;

  • Ensure that your cockatiels get a good 12 hours sleep at night, more if possible.
  • Keep them covered to create darkness like they would experience in winter months.
  • Avoid any stroking of her back as this will stimulate the sexual emotions.
  • Try and rotate some of the food containers and toys in the cage so that they have to become familiar with the territory again.
  • Mix up the diet, limit the basic seed food.
Try and keep the laying of infertile eggs to a minimum, excessive egg laying can and will seriously deplete the female immune system and could possibly lead to severe illness.

Signs Of Cockatiels Being Egg Bound

egg bound cockatiel

These are a few signs that your female may display, keep an eye out for them;
  • Depression
  • Sitting at the bottom of the cage
  • Labored breathing
  • Lethargic
  • Straining
  • Lack of droppings
  • Fluffed up appearance
  • Poor appetite

Something to note with this is, we noticed that one of our females was suffering when trying to lay an egg. The strange thing was that she had laid eggs before with ease and all our cockatiels have an awesome diet. The only thing we changed was that we were putting a little vinegar into the water. On studying the cause of what might be the problem, it became clear that the vinegar was counteracting the calcium supplement that we were giving.

Might be worth noting that vinegar will not allow the calcium to do its thing…

We stopped the vinegar and within a few days all was good again. Needless to say, it was a very worrying time as she was suffering, I stayed with her all through the night keeping her calm, and when she finely passed the egg it was soft shelled.

Since then this wonderful female cockatiel has laid fertile eggs and has now three young ones

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