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Thread: Egg binding

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    Egg binding

    Hi,
    My cockatiel is sitting quietly with a bump on her lower back. I am sure she has an egg stuck but my vet is not an avian vet. What can I do to help her.
    Thankyou

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    Re: Egg binding

    If you are right there is not much you can do, except get her professional help ASAP, her life could be in great danger.

    Some say you could try rubbing Vaseline around her vent, also a nice steamy bathroom. And for at least an hour or two.
    But if it is an egg and is further up in her this may not help.
    The greatest danger is if the egg breaks inside her, and even if you find a good vet who knows what to do, she could still pass away from a bacteria infection when they break the egg to get it out.

    Sorry if I sound so negative, but I feel this is the reality of egg binding.
    So I am praying it is not a egg stuck.
    R.I.P my little ones.

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    Re: Egg binding

    I'm so sorry to hear about your little tiel, Debby! Have you consulted with a regular Vet since your vet is not Avian? I would hope he/she would allow you to bring your bird into the Vet's office for a checkup. Here in America, I know there are some folks who have to rely upon a regular Vet when they can't find an Avian Vet in their area.

    I will be praying for your little tiel, that she will successfully pass the egg.

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    Re: Egg binding

    I am going to ask my regular vet today about my bird, hopefully they will be able to help. I do not have a car so i can not get to a further away avian vet. I wish i had thought about all this before getting my bird because now she might be in alot of pain and I cant do much about it.
    Thanks for your advice.

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    Re: Egg binding

    Debbie do not beat yourself up. You are doing the best you can.

    We are here for you.
    And hopefully it is not an egg stuck.
    What is her pooh like?
    R.I.P my little ones.

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    Re: Egg binding

    She laid her egg this morning! Its got a soft shell, which I am not surprised about as she will not eat any fresh veg. She does have a mineral block and a cuttle fish bone. i had hoped this would be OK, but obviously not. Any more advice would be very welcome.

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    Re: Egg binding

    Hi, Debbie! How is Pumkin doing now? The egg did not break did it? Did you see any blood at all, in her little bum (vent) where the egg comes out?? If you didn't see any blood at all, and the egg didn't break, that is positive news. If the egg would have broken inside of her, that would be a much worse problem for you right now. Do you know how old Pumkin is, and are you her first owner? Did you get her from a petshop or a breeder? And do you have other tiels, or only Pumkin? Do you feed her seeds only, or do you feed seeds and pellets, or just pellets? If you could take some time to answer these questions, I am sure we can be of help to you when it comes to Pumkin's diet.

    Here's some information about female (hen) tiels that I am hopeful will be helpful to you! I have been in the very same place you are now with a little hen tiel I had by the name of Ollie. I got Ollie at a Petshop, and thought she was a baby tiel, probably about 12 weeks old or so. The shop didn't know her age. About 3 months later, I found her one morning, on the bottom of her cage, just sitting there. It scared me so much. Immediately I picked her up, and about the same time, out popped the first egg she ever laid. I did not have any male tiels in my home, and I thought Ollie was a baby tiel. Evidently Ollie was older, because generally a hen will not lay until they are about 9-12 months old, and usually they will have a male tiel in their presence, although, there are many single hens who lay eggs without a male tiel in the home. Luckily, my Ollie's egg was hard shelled. And from that day forward, Ollie laid eggs on a regular basis.

    Now that Pumkin has laid her first egg, you can expect that she will lay another one in about 2 days. Hens lay an egg every other day. You need to immediately get some extra calcium in her, because now that we know the egg was soft, she may have the same problem the next egg she lays. Hen tiels usually lay about 5 eggs (every other day) although, they can lay more than 5 in a clutch (a clutch is the name we call several eggs being laid). My Ollie would lay four eggs every time, and never any more. But each hen tiel is different.

    So, let's address the calcium issue. Boil some hen eggs, until hard boiled. Take the shells from the boiled eggs, and wash them thoroughly with some hot water, and put them in a food processor, or a food chopper, and crush them into very fine pieces. Put about a tablespoon of them in her food cup each day. I always clean my food cups every day, and start in the morning with fresh seed. Also, take some of the boiled egg white and egg yolk, and mash some of it, and see if you can get her to eat some of it. Put some of it in a separate food cup with her seed, or even put some on the cage floor on a paper towel. Any foods and or fresh veggies you feed can only be left for about 2 hours, and then you need to make fresh ones, because the food could go rancid and make her sick. Other ideas for calcium are some whole wheat bread pieces. My birds (a tiel and budgie) love whole wheat bread. And as to fresh veggies, try taking some fresh kale (it is full of calcium and you can get it in a food market in the veggie dept. . . it has leaves that are kind of crinkle) and shred some of those pieces and spread some on the cage floor, also put some in the separate food cup with the egg mix, and see if you can have success with that as well. You could also put a piece of the kale in between the cage bars and see if she would try it. I also feed red and green leaf lettuce, and cilantro. You might consider taking all of the fresh veggies I have mentioned and chop them up rather fine in a food processor, add some of the boiled egg, also add some of the egg shells (excellent calcium), and see if you could get her to eat some of that mash.

    If you are only feeding seeds, and no pellets at all, then I would suggest you go to a pet shop and get a bottle of birdy vitamins. She will need the vitamins because they have Vitamin D in them which is necessary for her bones, and also will help to increase her calcium levels. I get mine at a Wal-Mart Store. They are not expensive. I don't put them in the water, but rather I drop a couple of tiny drops in the seed cup about once a week.

    There are other folks who come to the site and visit that I am hopeful will also post some suggestions for you. Clive (who has answered you above) has a flock of birds and is very knowledgeable about great foods to feed tiels. I am hopeful he will stop by soon and read my post, and add some other good information to you as far as calcium intake for your Pumkin. And also, you could still call a regular Vet and ask them what they would suggest to uptake her calcium, and explain to them what happened to her with that first egg and it being soft shelled. They should be able to give you some advice as to what you need to do now, especially since most probably she will be laying another egg soon!

    You will need to watch her very carefully now that she has started to lay this clutch of eggs. Hopefully today, you can go out and get the foods I have mentioned above, and the vitamins, and also start the egg shells for her immediately. And one other thing to know is that tiels don't necessary lay their eggs at the same time each day. I've had them lay in the middle of the night when I am asleep. The goal for you, in my mind, is to get her calcium levels up so that the egg will be hard shelled when she lays it. My little Ollie always laid hard shelled eggs, and never was egg bound. And I gave her all of the foods I have mentioned that helped to keep her calcium levels high.

    You also can go to any website that has information on "cockatiel egg binding". One website that is excellent is Cockatiel Cottage. You also can google search" What diet to feed for hen tiels that lay eggs"!

    Also, I would consider calling a regular Vet, since there are no Avians in your area, and explain to them what happened. They may have some sort of calcium supplement to give to her and also might want you to bring her in for an evaluation. Even though it may not be an Avian Vet, you still can get info from a regular Vet. That will give you more peace of mind, for sure.

    I know how you feel about your little baby, because I've been there and understand it. Don't blame yourself. You didn't know this would happen. I'm hopeful that other folks will stop by and share some information with you as well. The main thing for you to do is to watch her carefully in the next several days, and be prepared to call your Vet if she can't pass the next egg. I'm hopeful with the uptake of calcium, the next egg will be hard shelled. I'm sending you a big hug, Debbie! And will be praying that Pumkin will be able to lay the next eggs and they will be hard shelled.
    Last edited by maxollie; 08-22-2013 at 10:43 AM.

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    Re: Egg binding

    Thankyou so much for your really great reply Ellen. Here are some answers to your questions.
    There was no blood on her vent or on the egg. The egg broke because she laid it on her perch. She has already laid eggs. When I got her from the pet shop I was told she was a boy, but within a week she laid an egg. She then went on to lay 2 more. They all had hard shells. I think she is about 1 year old. She only eats seeds, i have tried her with pellets by trying to introduce then slowly but she will not touch them. I have done the same with veg, but she turns up her nose to all of it. I even mixed it with her favourite crackers, and have mixed it with her seeds but she shouts all day until I give her just seeds.
    Pumkin loves brown bread and she gets it every morning when I have my breakfast.
    I will try her with egg right now and keep trying her on veg.
    Thankyou again x
    Last edited by pumkin; 08-22-2013 at 12:05 PM.

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    Re: Egg binding

    That is so good she passed the egg.
    Seed junkies abound. But you do need to boost her calcium levels.
    This cannot be done if she was on pellets, so forget them at least for now.
    I say this as it is dangerous to feed added calcium when feeding pellets. I.E. at the moment you could have her injected with shots as a quick fix. This is not advised if they are on pellets.
    And whatever you do feed her she needs good direct sunlight to metabalise Vitamin D3 into calcium. She also needs D6 and as she has been on just seeds Vitamin A.

    You could try soak seed, to start with, and then move on to sprouting.
    Grate Cuttle Bone into a fine powder over her seed mix.
    Be stubborn, but watch her weight all the time you are pushing, just to make sure she is not losing weight due to refusing foods.

    With the bread. Please keep this to a very small amount, the risk of yeast infection is high with breads.

    If the next egg, and more than likely there will be others at some point. And the shell is soft consider Lupron injection to give her body a rest while you work on upping her diet needs.
    R.I.P my little ones.

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    Re: Egg binding

    Thanks for the update, Debbie! It sounds like your little Pumkin and my Ollie are alot alike!! Personally, I'm happy that you haven't fed her pellets. I am not a fan of pellets. (but we shall leave that subject at rest for now, because here on the forum we have had several different threads created with different opinions . . . some folks like them . . . some folks don't). I believe you have a great chance to get some calcium into her now. It is not uncommon for tiels to lay eggs off their perch. I had a budgie years ago that scared me as well, when one day she was on her swing and out popped the egg and broke on the cage floor. With Buttercup, I also did not know she was a female.

    There are many of us bird lovers and owners that get the big surprise one day when our hens lay eggs, and we were either told, or thought we had a male cockatiel!!

    Personally, I've never had any yeast problems with my birds for many years giving them whole wheat bread. In fact, any whole grains are very high in calcium. Here is another suggestion: Do you have grapenuts cereal in Scotland? My birds love grapenuts. They are very low in sugar and salt, and have great nutrients in them. They are made of whole wheat and rye. Also, you could try Cherrios. Crumble a few cherrios up and put them in the seed cup. My tiel, Sunny, likes to eat them right off the cage floor along with the grapenuts. I always put white paper towel in the bottom of my cage. I also feed whole wheat flour tacos. I take one and put it in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Then I sprinkle a little cinnamon on top, and my birds love to eat the pieces. I just stick the pieces through the cage bars, but you also could use a clothes pin to put them in the cage, or see if she would eat it out of your hand. Again, they have good calcium content. You can also hang the fresh veggies in the cage with clothes pins. Tiels are not too fond of fruit, but you could try some raw pieces of apple and see if she would like them. When you go to Cockatiel Cottage, check out all of the foods that you can feed a tiel. And also check the list that has the foods you should never feed them. Tiels do like variety, and sometimes it does take awhile before they will try foods. I've read here on the forum of folks giving their tiels sweet corn on the cob (I would cook it, because I always worry about raw corn, due to it having been in the cornfield, where there are pesticides, etc.) and garbanzo beans (out of a can) are also a hit with birds. Once you get her started on some of these good foods (and don't give up, because it might take quite awhile . . . just keep putting the foods in her cage, a little at a time, and for every day) she will expect to eat them, because my budgie and tiel always wait in the morning to get their lettuce, cilantro, and whole wheat bread. And if they don't get it, then they will just keep chirping and cheeping until I feed it to them.

    As to the Lupron, I will explain to you, that it is a medication from a Vet that acts much like a "birth control pill", on a cockatiel. It is used to slow down chronic egg layers. Personally, I do NOT support Lupron. I've done extensive research on it, and I have found some articles that said once the Lupron wears off (and I believe that is every 3 months), (and the shots are very expensive as well), the hen can lay huge eggs, or deformed eggs. Now that information is only strictly from my research. However, I just don't believe that any little bird should have to take medication unless it is absolutely necessary.

    Are you very bonded to Pumkin? Hen tiels will consider you their mate. And if you have a great bond with her, more than likely, she is laying these eggs because of that bond with you. There are many things that you can do to try to discourage the egg laying. Here are a few suggestions. If she has toys in her cage with bells, remove the bells, because they "stimulate her", and cause her to be hormonal. When you touch her and play with her, never touch her shoulders, or body area. Just give her scritches on top of her head, because any "touching" of a hen may also cause her to be hormonal (lay eggs). Extend her nighttime hours to about 12 hours. I know that sounds like alot of night time sleep, but too much day time light can also cause the egg laying.

    The mistake I made with my Ollie, was to allow her to be in the bedroom in the afternoon with her age covered. That started her "egg laying rituals", as I called them. She had different little rituals she would do, getting ready for the egg laying. Covering hens in the daytime is a complete "no no". Ollie was spoiled, so if she didn't get her way, then she made so much noise, I just would give in, and take her to the bedroom and cover her. After 15 months of Ollie laying eggs, I decided, even though it was heart breaking for me, to rehome Ollie to a lady who had an Aviary with many cockatiels both female and male, so that Ollie could find a mate, if she chose to, and go through the mating, egg laying and hatching process. She is very happy in her new environment. I haven't talked to her new owner for quite some time, so I cannot tell you if she has hatched any chicks, but I do know she is in a great place, and I felt it was best for her to be among other cockatiels every day.
    Last edited by maxollie; 08-22-2013 at 02:33 PM.

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    Re: Egg binding

    In major cities there are emergency vet hospitals that are open when regular vet places are closed. I have had excellent help with birds at one place. It was better care, and at a lower price than my regular vet. I would think your vet should know about something as common as egg binding. If not treated quickly, you bird can die.

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    Re: Egg binding

    Hi Ellen,
    I think we do have grape-nuts here. I an sure I have spotted then some where. Pumkin loves Cheerios, I stopped giving them to her as often because I thought they might not be very good for her. I will give her some right now.
    Pumkin and I are not very bonded. When we got her she was scared of hands. We quickly trained her to hop onto a stick and she will go onto our hands if she wants back into her cage, but she will not let us stroke her at all. Strangely she has become alot more friendly over the last few days and she will land on our heads. She is also exploring the house, which is something she has never done in the 8 months we have had her. I think she is looking for some where to build a nest. What do you think?

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    Re: Egg binding

    It is good that you and Pumkin are not super bonded. In my mind, hens do have more "hormonal" issues with a very bonded caregiver (like I was with Ollie). And she has not been stroked on her body, so that also is good. She probably is welcoming the stroking now because she is in the hormonal mode of laying the eggs. Don't encourage that now. Just handle her like you always have and refrain from the touching. I am thinking, and praying, that Pumkin will be a hen that will lay eggs now and then, but not become a chronic egg layer. (all the time). Yes, she could be looking to lay an egg somewhere, since she most probably will be laying more in this clutch. Do not encourage her to nest, and do not provide her any nesting materials, or any nest box in her cage or elsewhere. That will only encourage her to lay eggs more often. Another point I needed to make is that when a hen lays a clutch of eggs, they go through a process just as though the eggs were fertilized, and they were going to hatch. You need to leave any of the eggs she laid in her cage, with her. Because if you throw any of them out, then, her natural instinct is going to tell her to lay another clutch of eggs right away to replace the eggs that were thrown away. I always put a folded piece of paper towel in the cage corner for Ollie's eggs. It is funny that she would pick one corner of the (4) in her cage each time she laid her clutch. And each time it would be a different corner. It is best if you don't have to move the eggs, but I had to move them in order to clean the cage, and I would place them in the right hand corner each time. Pumkin hasn't shown any interest in setting on the eggs as yet, right? If she has only laid 2 eggs at the most, to me that signals she is a young bird, and has yet to reach full maturity. And her natural instinct may be to not lay very many in a clutch. She may just decide to set on the eggs she is laying now, and that is o.k. Let her set on them as long as she wants. She could set as long as 21-28 days. The eggs will not spoil. What will happen is that at some point in time she will realize the eggs are not going to hatch and will abandon them. In other words, she will just stop setting on them and go back to being as she was before, playing with her toys, etc. Once she abandons them and pays no attention to them anymore, then you can throw them away. And we will hope and pray that she won't lay another clutch until Spring. Fall and Spring are the times when hens lay eggs. They can lay other times of the year, but basically it is a fall and spring thing because of the mating patterns of cockatiels.

    Some folks use cherrios and foods like grapenuts as treats. I use them all of the time, because both are low in salt and sugar, and are good foods for my birds. Have you tried feeding millet to Pumkin? You can get the sprays (sprigs) of millet in a pet store. Personally, I don't like the "flavored" millets, I like the natural millet springs. You can hang one in the cage for her as a "treat". Millet has lots of moisture in it and some nutrients, but I personally don't feed it all the time because my tiel and budgie love it so much, they would gravitate to it first before eating their other foods. And I think they need their other foods first and foremost.

    As to the nest building, I have read here on the forum of a member who had a tiel who would find a place to lay her eggs in the home somewhere out of sight, so I would say Pumkin might try that behavior! It will be a good idea for you to watch her carefully now that she had that soft egg. Feeding the calcium rich foods, the egg shells, the vitamins, and the other calcium rich foods will build her up pretty fast. Being such small animals, birds can eat good nutrition and increase their calcium level. I'll be watching for your post concerning the next egg that will be due soon!
    Last edited by maxollie; 08-23-2013 at 09:37 AM.

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