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is laying eggs!"
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(updated 7/24/07)


In the image at left, on 4/3/05, Poopy gives me
that look that says, "I'm gonna lay an
egg any minute and I have no sense of
humor whatsoever so keep your distance!"

Below, on 4/4/05, Poopy is sitting on her second egg of the year in a new soda box!

We get a lot of calls and emails at this time of year about pet birds laying eggs. If your pet bird is healthy, has a well-balanced diet, and gets some exercise, egg-laying can be a normal process that does not adversely affect your bird.

Many pet birds will "go through the motions" of nesting and not actually lay eggs.
See this page for more information and images of our pet birds "nesting".

Here is our pet Bare-Eyed Cockatoo, Poopy, on 3/5/05. She is displaying in front of her soda carton "nest" and the reason soon become apparent; she had laid an egg! This is nothing new for her as she has laid several eggs every spring for the last few years. Poopy is 26 years old and was the first cockatoo that I hatched and hand-reared from the egg. She has been the beloved family pet for all these wonderful years. She is quite a character!





Even though Poopy is very bonded to me and loves me 99% of the time, this evening she was furious
that I was near her egg! She rushed out her box to shoo me away. She becomes very moody when she
has eggs and is very protective of her nest site. She will even stand beak to beak with our Hyacinth Macaw to defend her nest when she is broody. She is normally very timid around other birds and would not otherwise get anywhere close to a macaw!

On the morning of 3/8/05, we noticed my husband's pet Congo African Grey, Togo, was not acting normally. She is a voracious eater, yet she was sitting listlessly on her perch and looked stressed. She sat with droopy wings and a hunched stance. I checked her droppings and was concerned to see very little fecal content and there was a spot of blood in one fresh dropping. One look at her vent area and I immediately suspected that she was egg-bound. With our heavy winter rains, many birds are laying eggs early in the breeding season and some new pairs are laying for us. Togo had never before laid an egg in the 17.5 years that we've had her. She was raised from the egg as a gift for Dave and she is heavily bonded to Dave and despises me! She has plucked her chest feathers for many years, beginning as a young bird when Dave went out of town for several days.

She has been "courting" Dave the past several weeks, regurgitating and lowering her wings, and she had been chewing on a cardboard box in her cage and sitting inside the box.Togo's vent area was a mess with slimy droppings pasted to the area and a bulging cloaca. I could see the bulge of the egg in her lower abdomen. Just the evening before, she had frolicked on the couch with Dave and had laid on her back on his chest. I saw her quite well and her vent area did not appear swollen or abnormal in any way the previous evening. I was surprised to see the egg so far dropped down. We put her in our bathroom and warmed the room with the ceiling heatlamps and a heating pad set on high placed under the wire floor of a small hospital cage. We covered the cage almost completely with towels and a soft towel had been placed on the inside floor of her cage. She was hand-fed from a spoon a little rice cereal mixed with electrolyte solution and a bit of Karo Syrup. She had food and fresh water available in her cage and we added a cuttlebone, but I didn't expect her to eat much, as I could see
that the pressure from the egg had disrupted her digestion.

droppings with very little fecal content

puffy vent area

She sat very still on the perch and did very little for the first couple of hours. She seemed to be fairly comfortable and looked less stressed as she sat in the warmth. I was checking her regularly and finally decided to get another look at her vent. I opened the door to her cage and she crawled out and sat on the wire door. She allowed me to scratch her head (she NEVER allows that from me!). Her vent looked even more dilated and I wanted her to go beck into the cage and lay that egg! I could not get her to go back inside so I went to get Dave to do it. When we returned minutes later, a relieved Togo was sitting on the roof of the cage and the poor egg, yes we named it Humpty, was splatted on the marble bathroom floor!
It was quite a large egg and I'm not at all surprised that she had trouble laying it. It looks as if there
is at least one more egg to come.


There was a small bit of blood loss but it was not actually very much blood and it is normal for a hen to lose a bit of blood when laying her very first egg. We will keep a close eye on her for the next several days and keep her in the small cage until we are sure she is ok. Depending upon how she looks tomorrow, we might put her back into her larger normal cage with a dark nesting box and a dummy porcelain egg so that she can sit on eggs and satisfy her instinct to care for them.

Togo rests after having laid her
very first egg!

A couple of hours after laying the egg,
Togo is back to her old self. With this attitude, I wouldn't have a CHANCE at scratching her on the head now!

She ate quite well right after this image
was taken and then spent a quiet night in
the warm hospital cage.

I gave Togo a shoebox on the morning of 3/9/05 and put an infertile egg from another parrot into the box. Within an hour she was sitting on th egg and she seemed very comfortable and happy. She laid another egg on the morning of 3/10/05. She sat sporadically in the box for the next three days and then seemed to lose interest on the 14th. She did not lay a third egg. On 3/15/05, she seemed restless in the small cage and we returned her to her regular abode where she seemed to be completely back to normal.



Togo, sitting on her "nest" on 3/9/05.


Poopy turning her egg on 4/24/07

Our pet Bare-Eyed Cockatoo, Poopy, had three eggs on 2/27/07 in her Zola Acai berry drink nestbox!
She is about 28 years old and has been laying eggs every spring for several years with no problems.
update 4/24/07- Poopy has laid her sixth egg of the year in three clutches! We let her sit for weeks on the first two clutches so we thought she was through for the year. We were surprised when she laid yet again in her tissue-box nest!

All photographs are by Gail J. Worth and are copyrighted.
They may not be reproduced by any method without written permission.

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