In Reply to: Re: green cheek not flying as well as before posted by Lawrence M Nysschens on Sat, Dec 28 2013 at 11:27 AM CST:
: : : My green cheek was, when younger, able to fly from the downstairs lounge up the the second floor--by launching herself off the top of her cage. Now, after owning her for 31/2 years, she can barely fly across the lounge. I don't clip her wings. Is something wrong? Or, is it that she's grown much larger than when young, but her wing feathers have not grown as much as she has?
: : : if just recent, she could be close to laying an egg which they will do even if there is no male around to fertilize it. If this has been a situation getting worse as time goes on I would think it is either due to lack if enough time out if cage flying around to keep up her strength or possibly her diet has made her overweight. If you let her eat fried foods, too many sunflower seeds, etc.. And not enough fresh veggies, it could be making her overweight or at least not giving her the strength she needs. I would try encouraging her to fly more. Like when you first take her out of the cage, put her on a counter or perch and get her to fly a short distance to you. Gradually increase the distance and she will regain the needed muscles. But look for signs of labored breathing, sitting w feathers ruffled up, etc... Right after short flights. A bad diet or genetics could mean her heart is straining and may need veterinary care:(
: : Good luck!
: We feed her with eCotrintion fortified nutrition for parrots and conures. She also has a hanging seed. She does like a slice of Oro wheat Honey Berry bread as well. We tried various meats and vegetable and fruits but she won't eat any of that. She eats all the above. I did notice a week or two ago she became hesitant about taking off even for a level flight. She spends at least 30-50% of her day outside the cage. How long does it take for an egg to develop?
When they start laying eggs, they can lay them for quite a while, I documented Silky's egg laying. She was born in 1988, and didn't start laying til much older. She was fed Dr. Harrisons diet for all but her first year of life.
She was with me since the beginning. The following is my notes I took to document for me to compare from year to year and stuff I copied from a website when I wanted to find out why she started laying them all of a sudden.
September 9 silky laid an egg, September 13, 2007 she laid a second September 16, 2007 she laid her third.
April 4, 2007, Silky is masturbating quite a lot in her cage next to her birdy buddy. Making screeching noises, also.
Silky laid her 1st egg last night sometime, found on April 11, 2007. Much quieter now. Seems ok.
Silky laid her 2nd egg over night found on April 13, 2007
3rd egg on April 17
4th egg on April 22, 2007
I Took eggs away on May 14th. Put new cuttlebone in cage. She seems fine. She was still sitting on them.
Silky laid eggs in 6/05
Started last week in Feb 2006 Monday feb.27
, March 1st , 4th, and 7th , 10th 13 16
Laid two eggs so far, on Thursday March 2 clipped wing and removed under bed, still no egg on Sat. gave back the underneath of dresser after called vet below and spoke to someone. She loves to go under Jerry’s bed. By March 10 silky has laid 5 eggs, 3 in her cage, one under a dresser. She is now in new cage, not roaming free. Bed time 7:00 wake up after 7:00. less than two weeks she has laid 5 eggs. On March 14, she laid her 6th egg in her new cage. On March 19 I threw away all her eggs. She liked to sit on them and stayed in her cage most of the time. It is March 24, 2006 and she is has not laid any more eggs. Made the underneath of the bed unavailable.
Information gathered from websites.
Susan Clubb, DVM
Loxahatchee, FL 33470
office phone # 561-795-4878
Susan is board certified and the author of many published works regarding bird health. She and her husband maintain their own aviary and avian research facility.
She is a caring, knowledgeable avian vet. Her compassion is the same for all birds. I once took a duck to her and he was treated as compassionately as if he were the most expensive Hyacinth Macaw.
I don't know Susan well, yet. However, she was so highly recommended, by everyone with birds in Palm Beach County, that I feel like I've known her for years. I very highly recommend her as a caring and knowledgeable Avian Vet.
Egg laying affected by light and hormones
I have a maroon-bellied conure, and she never lays any eggs. Is that normal?
-- Nicole, DaizyGlRL@aol.com
My 10-year-old green-cheek conure laid six eggs last year, which worried us as she wasn't acting too well. We took her to a vet who told us she needed a hormone shot as she was too old for that many eggs and could get egg bound. After the shot, she got so sick we thought we were going to lose her. She got very lethargic, droppings were very watery and she got very bloated. Vet said she was too fat and had us put her on a diet. We took her back to the vet three more times, but he said it was a normal reaction to the shot. It took her two months to get well and we blame it on the shot. We had been told to take the egg away immediately after she laid it to keep her from laying more. Since, we have heard otherwise. A week ago she laid three eggs which we left with her for most of the day, till she seemed to ignore them. She stopped at three and is fine and healthy as normal. Seems that leaving the eggs was the right thing to do. It's been two weeks since the last egg and she's well, happy, and playful as ever.
-- Al Judd, email@example.com
Last August my husband and I retired and moved to Florida from Atlanta. Our 15-year-old female gold-crowned conure has been laying eggs in the summers for the last five or six years. However, in Florida she started laying eggs in November and continued through New Year's. I found an article on the Internet that said exposing birds to extended periods of light could trigger laying. The room the birds now have had three large overhead flourescent lights. We disconnected two, but laying continued. We turned the lights off entirely and let natural daylight govern the birds' day and night. The egg laying stopped immediately and has not recurred. Would fluorescent lights have caused our conure to lay?
-- Carol Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org
My budgies sometimes lay eggs. When they do, I give them the liquid calcium supplement neocalglucon in their water (1 cc per 30 cc's). I just tried to purchase some and found that it is no longer manufactured. What can I use as a substitute? They have mineral blocks and cuttle bone, get fresh greens every day and pellets are a big part of their diets. I have one hen, though, who won't touch the cuttle bone or mineral blocks and I would like to know that she's getting enough calcium.
-- Judy Judd, New York, email@example.com
EGG PRODUCTION is the most stressful event in a bird's life. It's been estimated that 10 percent of all hens have reproductive problems annually.
Some pet birds never produce eggs; others lay to excess. Many things can stimulate a hen to lay - the season, lighting, hormones, presence of a mate. Removing eggs will usually result in more being laid. Letting a hen sit on them will usually "turn off" the ovaries and stop egg production.
Hormones are very powerful chemicals produced by specialized glands of the body. In addition to sexual activity, hormones control metabolism, mineral balance, growth, and other natural processes. The pituitary gland stimulates a hen's ovaries to produce egg yolks. By giving a bird hormone shots that combine a variety of drugs such as chorionic gonadotrophin, Luperon, and steroids, it's possible to shut down the pituitary and stop egg laying.
I've never seen a hen bloat from a hormone injection, and such a reaction is not something I can explain. However, I would agree with you that attempting to control laying via medical means can have adverse effects. Manipulating your bird's environment is the safer way to go.
One of the stimulators of the pituitary gland is light. In fact, birds' skulls are so thin, light literally shines through to this gland. Normally, in most species as the daylight hours shorten, the pituitary shuts down production. As daylight hours lengthen again, the pituitary resumes activity and breeding begins.
You should be able to stop your bird from laying by shortening the period of light she's exposed to each day to six hours. Completely darken the room the rest of the time - if the cage is small enough, you can place it in a well-ventilated closet, if necessary.
You should also remove your bird's favorite "loveys" and, if there's a mate, relocate him far enough away that he and the hen can't hear one another vocalize.
If egg laying continues and causes serious health problems such as egg binding (a life-threatening condition in which the bird is unable to expel the egg), you should speak with your veterinarian about the possibility of surgically removing the uterus.
Cuttlebone, mineral block and the foods you mention, plus dairy products and crushed eggshell, all are rich in calcium, necessary for the laying bird. Alternatively, your veterinarian should be able to provide you with liquid forms of calcium.
Keep in mind that birds need vitamin D3 in order for their digestive tracts to absorb calcium. Birds exposed to at least a few hours of unfiltered sunlight (light through the windows doesn't count) a day will produce their own vitamin D3. Birds confined indoors need vitamin D3 added to their diet via fish oils or commercial vitamin supplements.
Discouraging Breeding Behavior in Pet Birds
Hilary S. Stern, DVM
For The Birds
1136 S. De Anza Blvd., Suite B,
San Jose, CA 95129
In the wild, female parrots will not lay eggs unless they have a mate and a suitable nesting site. In captivity, however, some parrots will lay eggs or even have repeated clutches of eggs despite the absence of a mate. Egg production is stressful for birds; it depletes their nutritional stores, and predisposes them to malnutrition, osteoporosis, and life-threatening illnesses. In situations where birds are being intentionally bred, these risks are an inherent part of the breeding process. For pet birds that are not being bred, however, egg laying can pose serious health risks without the benefit of producing chicks.
Some birds have problems from the very first time they try to lay eggs. Other birds can lay for years before they run into difficulties. In either situation, however, reproductive problems can lead to egg-binding, oviductal prolapse, peritonitis, and death.
Unlike with cats and dogs, it is not a simple procedure to spay a bird. For many birds, the most effective way to stop egg laying is through environmental and behavioral changes. Some birds may also require medical intervention.
10 things you can do at home to stop your bird from laying eggs
1. Put your bird to bed early, by 5 or 6:00 p.m. A long day length is one of the most important environmental cues triggering egg laying in birds. By allowing your bird to stay up late, you are mimicking the long days of spring/summer, making your bird think it is time to breed. An early bedtime will help to turn off her breeding hormones. Note that she will need complete darkness and quiet for this to be effective (covering the cage while the radio or TV is on is not adequate!).
2. Keep your bird away from dark, enclosed spaces. Most parrots are cavity nesters, which means that instead of building a nest out in the open they look for dark, enclosed spaces in which to lay their eggs. In order to stop your bird from laying eggs it is essential that she is kept away from such areas. Nest boxes should be promptly removed. Birds can be ingenious when looking for a nesting site (under a couch, behind the microwave, even in the dryer!), so it is important that she is under close supervision when out of the cage.
3. Keep your bird away from other birds to which she is bonded. Having a mate is a strong stimulus for your bird to lay. This mate may be a member of the opposite sex, another female bird, or even a bird of a different species. Separating your bird from the other birds in your household will help turn off her hormones.
4. Discourage breeding behavior in your bird. Some birds will display breeding behaviors with their favorite person, such as vent-rubbing, tail lifting, or regurgitating food. Discourage these behaviors by putting your bird back in her cage for a "time out" whenever she displays them. Don't pet your bird on her back or under her tail, as this can be sexually stimulating.
5. Remove your bird's "love-toys". Some single birds will display mating behaviors with objects in their environment, such as food cups, toys, perches, or mirrors. Mating behaviors include regurgitating food, vent rubbing, and tail lifting. If your bird engages in these behaviors with an inanimate object, that object should be permanently removed from her environment.
6. Rearrange the cage interior and change the cage location. Your bird is more likely to lay eggs in a cage that hasn't changed in a while. Putting your bird in a different cage and/or changing the cage location can help discourage laying. Changing the arrangement or types of toys, dishes, and perches in the cage can also be very helpful.
7. Give your bird optimal nutrition and provide full spectrum light. Producing and laying eggs robs your bird of the vitamins, proteins, and calcium she needs to stay healthy. It is especially crucial during the breeding season that she is on a complete and balanced diet, which in most cases will be a pelleted diet. A seed diet supplemented with vitamins is not adequate. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a pelleted diet for your bird. Full spectrum sunlight is necessary for your bird's calcium metabolism, and can be provided by unfiltered sunlight or by a full spectrum flourescent bulb.
8. Avoid removing the eggs which your bird has already laid. Sometimes the easiest way to turn off the egg-laying cycle is to allow your bird to sit on her eggs. If your bird lays a few eggs and then sits on them, leave the eggs in the cage for 21 days or until she loses interest. If however she does not stop at 3 - 4 eggs and continues laying, this strategy may not work, and you should call your avian veterinarian for further suggestions.
9. Ask your veterinarian about hormone injections. In certain cases of excessive egg-laying, your veterinarian may recommend hormone injections in addition to the above environmental and dietary changes. Hormone injections are relatively safe and can help reduce egg-laying in some birds. The effectiveness of hormone injections varies from bird to bird and can not be accurately predicted beforehand.
10. When in doubt, ask your avian veterinarian. If you have questions or concerns regarding your bird's health, or if the above changes do not stop your bird from laying, please give us a call. We have helped hundreds of bird owners stop their birds from laying, and we can help you, too.
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