It is now Spring and we are getting an increasing number of phone calls from clients concerned about their egg laying birds. Pet birds will lay several times throughout the year, but more commonly during Spring.
If in the presence of a mate, female birds (hens) will be more likely to ovulate and produce eggs. It is a common misconception that female birds need a mate to lay eggs. Hen birds will lay eggs in the absence of a mate, however these eggs will not be fertile.
There are many problems that can be associated with egg laying birds and unless an experienced and confident breeder, it is best to avoid egg laying at all costs. Egg laying problems include egg binding, where the egg is ‘stuck’ in the cloaca or abdomen, egg-related peritonitis, where the yolk leaks into the abdomen, resulting in severe infection, and calcium deficiency, causing paralysis and neurological issues.
There are many ways that you can reduce the incidence of egg laying problems, but the least invasive way is through behavioural modification to stop the production of eggs. Behavioural modification aims to change the hen bird’s laying cycle so that they cease laying and can be extremely effective if done correctly.
Medical and surgical treatment options are also available, but you should always consult your avian specialist veterinarian first.
Please feel free to post any questions or comments you may have regarding behavioural management of egg laying.