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Thread: HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

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    HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

    I'm posting this in a separate thread because I need responses asap...

    My tiel laid an egg last night. This is only the second time clutch she has ever laid, and her last clutch (around March this year) only consisted of two eggs. The egg is unfertilised, as she is my only bird. She had been displaying breeding behaviour, so I was kind of expecting the egg to appear at some point.

    In March both eggs were laid overnight, so this was the first time I'd seen a tiel lay. I had seen a video online (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQBBGlEvipg), but what Romy did was different to what I had seen in the video. She seemed to 'bob' up and down, breathing very heavily (I could actually hear her breathing) and almost straining upwards. Then the egg came out and she relaxed, looking very tired. The whole process probably took less than thirty seconds, but it seemed much more intense than the video I had watched. Since then, she's displayed normal behaviour (hissing at me if I open the cage, sitting on her egg, etc).

    When I removed the egg to boil it, I noticed that the colour was not uniform. There seemed to be patches which were not completely opaque. The egg was a normal shape, and felt firm, even when I pressed on the patches that didn't look opaque. Once I'd boiled the egg, the patches disappeared.

    She's been nibbling at her cuttlebone and I've tried to feed her spinach and broccoli, but she hasn't eaten as much as she did last time. Should I be concerned? Could this indicate a calcium deficiency? And is her egg-laying event normal?

    I've moved things around in her cage to try and minimise the possibility of another egg being laid, and will cover the cage much earlier than usual tonight. I've only seen her leave the egg once to eat from her seed bowl (which I've sprinkled with ground cuttlebone).

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    Re: HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

    You are doing right. So I would not be toooo worried. You have done your research, and that is very positive for her.
    Sprinkling the ground cuttlebone over her seeds will help for sure.
    And cutting back the light hours is also a good thing.

    Single females are a bit sporadic, so the normal pattern of a egg every second day, may not be what you see.
    R.I.P my little ones.

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    Re: HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

    My female laid her eggs every other day. On occasion she would lay one in the nighttime, instead of the daytime, but she was not sporadic in her egg laying. Since she has laid one egg, I would expect there will be more eggs. You cannot stop the process. I had posted some thoughts about that on one of the other threads you had created. You do not have to boil eggs that are not fertile. So, in my view, you can just let her have her eggs and let her set on them until she abandons them. I would suggest to not put a nest box in the cage because that will only encourage her to lay more eggs in the future.

    In my view, you do not need to worry about her being deficient in calcium. You only need to have that concern if you have a hen who has laid eggs chronically (every month to 6 weeks) over and over again. I feel that Romy is just doing the regular "seasonal" egg laying. It is fine to give her the fresh veggies as well as sprinkling the cuttle bone. The more of those items she eats the better for her calcium levels.

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    Re: HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

    Thank you for the reassuring responses - I must sound like a paranoid mother!

    One last question: Romy has continued with her mating display even though she's now laid two eggs. She sits on them for most of the day, but during her 'breaks' (when she goes to eat or just wander around her cage a little) I've seen her displaying and making her little chirpy mating noises. Is this normal behaviour for a hen, even after she's started laying?

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    Re: HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

    Yes, that sure is normal behavior. My hen used to continue on with that behavior as well. There is no way to stop it. The only result might be her laying additional eggs, because generally the mating results in stimulation of the female organs, and of course, that will signal making more eggs. Hopefully that will not happen to Romy. I just hope that this will be seasonal for her and not something that develops into chronic.

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    Re: HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

    "One last question: Romy has continued with her mating display even though she's now laid two eggs. She sits on them for most of the day, but during her 'breaks' (when she goes to eat or just wander around her cage a little) I've seen her displaying and making her little chirpy mating noises. Is this normal behaviour for a hen, even after she's started laying? "

    Oh Yes! I think so. She is in that mood and wants to mate. Eggs, babies, and mating are very much on her mind right now.

    It can be very hard to knock them out of this. Make sure those night hours are down under 12hrs of total darkness. You have already changed around the inside of the cage, so next is to consider moving it to a different location. Or even think about another cage.
    I know people do not say this, but you are trying to knock her out of her comfort zone.

    Lupron injections are a option, I would not advise you to go there, as she is a single bird and the sporadic nature of her laying cycles. And they only help them over the more normal egg laying season.

    "She's been nibbling at her cuttlebone and I've tried to feed her spinach and broccoli, but she hasn't eaten as much as she did last time. Should I be concerned? Could this indicate a calcium deficiency? And is her egg-laying event normal?"

    This is a good sign as far as I feel. It means she knows she needs to replace the calcium egg laying is costing her body. Adding a bit more to her diet will not hurt and also try to see if you can get her out into good sunlight a few hours a day.
    R.I.P my little ones.

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    Re: HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

    Thank you for your help, Ellen and Clive don't know what I'd do without Tailfeathers and Cockatiel Cottage :P

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    Re: HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

    Nature really is marvelous when it comes to bird species. I always knew when my Ollie was about to become hormonal and get into her egg laying frenzy. Her droppings would increase in size and also be full of more liquid. She would increase her water intake, and her calcium intake by nibbling much more often on her cuttlebone. And she had little rituals that were part of the process as well. She liked to be covered up (now that is a no. no., which I did not realize early on, which I feel helped to advance her to a chronic egg layer), and would take little pieces of her cherrios and her cuttle bone and line them up in a straight line along the bottom of the cage floor. When she laid her eggs, each time she chose a different corner of the cage. (I did not allow her to have a nestbox). And like Romy, she was the happiest little bird when she had those eggs to nest.

    It is well documented, that when a little single hen like Romy lays eggs, it is a sign that they are very attached to and bonded to their caregivers, and that is a sign of their love for us. I know that was the case of my little Ollie.

    My little Ollie became a chronic egg layer. After about a year of laying eggs every 4-5 weeks, I made the decision to rehome her to a lady who had an aviary of several tiels. It was a heartbreaking decision to make, but I am not a supporter of lupron (hormone shots) for birds, nor am I a supporter of spaying birds. I tried the dummy eggs but to no avail.

    Ollie has a wonderful home now. She still lives in her own cage, but is allowed to fly free. She interacts with the other tiels, and so far, my decision has worked for Ollie. She no longer lays eggs every 4-5 weeks. She is a seasonal egg layer now. However, please know that may not happen for every hen. But for me, I had to make the decision to save her life, because she would have a much shorter life if she was laying eggs every month-5 weeks.

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    Re: HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

    Poor Ollie it must have been so difficult for you to rehome her!

    So far I'm pretty sure Romy is a normal seasonal layer. I did realise that the last time she laid was actually around June. But it still means that she has only laid twice this year (and in fact, only laid twice ever). She's not quite three years old yet, so I suppose time will tell if she's a normal seasonal layer or not I try not to encourage her laying, so hopefully that'll help.

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    Re: HELP possible calcium deficit in egg-laying hen

    Yes, I will always miss my Ollie. I purchased Ollie from a Pet Shop, and quite frankly, I do not think Ollie was a "baby", as they told me, but rather was a breeder hen. She began laying eggs only 3 months after I got her, and that would have made her less than 9 months old. That generally is very young for a hen to be laying eggs.

    It does sound to me like Romy is a normal seasonal layer. For your and Romy's sake, I will hope and pray that is the case.

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