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Thread: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

  1. #1
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    Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    Hi everyone,

    To put it simply, I'm not entirely sure what is going on with my female Cockatiel. To give a run down, my female is 14 years old and her mate is between 5-9 years old. Orlando (yep, the female...we found out after we got her a male friend) and Gremlin have always gotten along and showed signs of possibly turning into a mated pair over the last 2 years. They've mated but have never really showed signs of actively looking for a nest...until this spring. As of about 2 weeks ago both birds have become less tolerant of the humans, defensive and very territorial. Which is fine, I do understand what spring means to the birds. However, we noticed that Orlando was very active this afternoon, flying, running around, trying to find a nest etc then when she went to go snack on some seed (their treat when outside the cage) she suddenly became very tired, couldn't keep her eyes open, breathing a little heavier than normal...even once scooping her out of the seed bowl she had a hard time waking up. Gremlin; instead of going on the defense was 'hovering' but let us examine her. This video is how she seemed while 'passed out'.

    Meanwhile I've been on the phone to an emergency vet describing what I'm seeing with no real answers besides the concern for being egg bound. 15 minutes later she's her normal self again, bopping around and eating. We've separated Orlando and Gremlin so we can keep an eye on her food / water intake as well as her poop. This poop she did about 30 mins ago. Because they've been so active in the search for a nest and hormonal I've taken a look at her abdomen and I'm feeling a lump above her port/vent which seems to be tender for her. I'm not sure if this is the beginning of a normal egg laying event or if she's having trouble. I've never had a bird that has tried to lay so I'm not sure what to expect really and I don't want to stress her out...or her mate for that matter.

    I don't know if I'm being paranoid or if it is actually something to worry about but my concern is because of her age she may not be able to lay an egg and that she will become egg bound. I'm currently waiting for a competent emergency vet who actually knows about birds to arrive at the vets but in the meantime, should I be completely worried, is there a way to help her if she is laying an egg or egg bound or am I fretting over nothing and she's just getting older?

  2. #2
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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    Hi , Laurel. Welcome to the community. I'm sorry I did not get to this post earlier. I highly suggest you get her to an Avian vet just as soon as possible. I'm concerned she nay have an egg inside she cannot pass. That poop sure is not normal, even for a hormonal bird. Please stop back when you can and let us know what is happening. She. Is soooo beautiful. I hope, the vet will help her. I'll be praying she will be OK!

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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    I am sorry this is happening to her and I really do hope you were able to find a good vet to take her too. I know nothing about birds laying eggs but to me seeing her laying in her seed bowl like that sure would be scaring me as much as I am sure it did you. Poor girl, my thoughts are with her and I hope you found her some help.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    So Orlando's doing well. She's seen an avian vet and has had a full physical. She has no egg so isn't egg bound or in any pain. The vet has put it down to hormones, her age and deficiencies. She's perked right up and is her normal self again. Her calcium levels are lower than what they should be so she's on supplements for that and should be ok if she decides to produce an egg. As for her suddenly laying in her seed bowl the way she did will remain a mystery as the vet can't explain it and has concluded she was just 'roosting'. Though the vet has given the all clear and can't find anything majorly wrong, I've had Orlando for 14 years now and I know her personality and when she's not 100%, I still feel like there was something wrong that night and will be keeping a very close eye on her.

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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    I really am relieved she was not egg bound. I did think of her age, but did not post about it, because I did not want to worry you more. Like you, from the video I saw, it seemed to be something that suddenly occured. Thank you for letting us know, and do keep us posted. Did the Vet say anything about the poop she did that was so odd looking? I know you will watch over her.

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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    I am happy you got her to a vet and they say she is in good health. I am like you and would worry about her as well and would definitely be keeping a very close eye on her to make sure she does not do this again. Perhaps it was hormones but it would still worry me.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

  7. #7
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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    So little bit of bad news on the Orlando front. She's crashed / passed out...what ever it is that she does, again and for a lot longer this time. Went to a different emergency vet across the other side of the city and finally might have gotten some answers. He believes that due to the fact she is otherwise healthy and has these bouts of fatigue there might actually be something neurologically happening, not just hormonal. He's given us a referral to see a specialist up at the University of Sydney Camden campus Exotic Vet Clinic that has had more dealings with neurological disorders in birds. I can only assume, but I believe an MRI or PET scan will show us what we're dealing with. But either way, by the sounds of it, if it is neurological, we make her comfortable till it gets too much for her.

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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    Actually, to explain that a little more, we discussed with the vet that her behavior has changed when she's playing with out fingers. We've noticed over the last couple of months that when she's playing with our fingers she loses balance a lot, she begins to involuntary curl into herself and can take a few moments to sort herself out. Coupled with the fatigue over the last couple of days, this is what is making the vet think it could be neurological. These scans will tell us if that is what we're dealing with.

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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    This is not good news at all I am I am really hoping they will figure it out and somehow be able to help her not have these continue to happen to her so much. When Boomer was alive I had to go to his vet often and one of the vet techs told me she had a African Grey that had seizures. She said someone could not afford the testing and the meds to help this poor bird and they were going to have it put to sleep but they then told the vet if she could find someone to adopt it they would be happy to do that. They wanted the bird to get better but could not afford the treatments and tests. The vet tech couldn't let this bird be put to sleep so she adopted it and had the tests ran which did not really show anything but it for sure was having seizures. They gave it a pill everyday and this grey responded great to the meds and the vet tech told me it had very few seizures anymore and it actually only had two of them in the just over a year and when Boomer died and I quit going to the vets this bird was going on almost a year being seizure free after two years of almost being put to sleep. This bird had them every week before the meds. To me it is worth the costs sometimes to see if you can help them. I pray your girl will have something that is treatable and she can be OK with a little help from your vet. My Boomer was sick for three years with systemic Avian Gastric Yeast and I do know very well that gut wrenching feeling seeing your bird do something like what your bird is doing right now. It breaks your heart and plays head games with you. I do hope she will be OK with the help from the specialist.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

  10. #10
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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    Would you be interested in sharing what she eats. Does she eat seeds only, or pellets only, or a mix of both. Has her diet changed in those last couple of months such as adding new foods, or a different brand of seeds or pellets? Does anyone inside or outside of your home use pesticides or herbicides. Does anyone use teflon pans to cook, smoke tobacco products, use essential oils or air freshners, or other air freshning items?

    I am super happy to read she will be seeing a specialist. I will pray that evaluation will provide an answer, that will provide treatment, and complete healing for Orlando.
    Last edited by maxollie; 10-23-2016 at 10:24 AM.

  11. #11
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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    Sure, she's on a mix of seeds and Vetafarm pellets. The pellets they eat throughout the day and night and the seed is for treats when they are out of the cage. All three Cockatiels will eat the pellets willingly (Orlando 14yrs, Gremlin 5-9yrs, Kiki 1.5-2yrs). The pellets and seeds brand haven't changed for a couple of years so I can't see it having an effect on her. As for veggies, I've tried but none of the birds will accept veggies in their cage, they'll only eat it from the guinea pig bowl. They'll sit on the side of his cage and eat the tips of the untouched cos lettuce but nothing else.

    We don't use pesticides or herbicides so unless it's floated over the fence from a neighbour I don't think she'd be reacting from that. I'd assume though that the other two birds would be effected if that was a possibility. We don't use teflon pans and the birds are only allowed in the kitchen when we're not cooking and have the room sealed off. My partner smokes rollies, but he smokes well away from the birds and stands down wind if he's outside and doesn't smoke in the house. We don't generally use incense unless the birds are outside and we don't use air fresheners.

    I kind of wish we used one of the above so I could immediately eliminate something and see a result or know where to go from here. But we haven't changed anything and we don't use things that could be considered poisonous.

  12. #12
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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    Thank you for your prompt reply. Here in the USA, there is always a discussion on the subject of feeding pellets to caged birds on most forums. Pellets here are man made foods, and mostly composed of corn and soybeans. They require any bird or parrot to consume lots of water each and everyday, because they are very dry foods. Most of us, if we feed pellets, feed seeds and pellets mixed together. If I were to feed them, I would feed a mix of 20% pellet to 80% seed. And I would also feed fresh veggies. I chop them up finely, and sprinkle some seeds over them, put a plate on the cage floor, and let the birds try various ones, until they have favorites, and then feed them every day. It takes time for birds to learn to eat them, but they are of great help to any bird to keep them hydrated, and the poops looser, due to the dry pellets. I have read several different articles about pellets and birds who consume only pellets developing neurological problems. In my view, even if your birds have eaten a pellet diet for two years, perhaps they could be affecting Orlando in a neurological way. Especially since she is 14 years old, they may not agree with her.

    With this information provided to you, only as my opinion, I would suggest when you take her to this exotic vet specialist, have a discussion with him or her about Orlando's diet, as well as your other birds, and ask this person about feeding pellets, only, other than the seed treats they have, and if he or she would have any reservations of feeding them as you do, and/or if there could be concern the pellets could cause neurological or any other medical problems in parrots like Orlando, and the other birds.

    I share my thoughts always stating that it is always the caregivers' decision of what to feed, and especially if a vet recommrnded you feed them. I will look for updates, and keep my prayers going for her health.
    Last edited by maxollie; 10-23-2016 at 03:06 PM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    sorry for not getting back to you all sooner, it's been an odd couple of weeks with what ever is happening with Orlando. We've gone to see an Avian specialist at the University of Sydney and have completed a blood test to check her general levels as well as checking for anything viral or a disease. Her blood test came back with good news. She's a perfectly healthy 14yr old bird, elevated calcium because of the supplements but otherwise no diseases or immediately noticeable signs of illness.

    Next we completed an xray and that's where the vet has found something, xray image here. At this point we're not 100% sure of what it is but he was saying because of her bone structure, hormonal moodiness and general temperament at the moment the mass could be pre-egg shell or tumor. He's recommended we actually let Orlando and her mate nest for 3-4 weeks in hope all this is just hormones. If nothing happens then they'll perform a more invasive procedure and take a biopsy to confirm what the mass is. He was saying that what ever the mass is, it's not going to harm her in three weeks so we're better off waiting to see if this is all natural and save her the stress unless necessary.

    However, we now have a third-wheel cockatiel that is very interested in the nest box and sometimes blocks Orlando and Gremlin from entering or gets too curious when they're in there. This gets them flying into a rage and going on the attack. I'm not sure if Kiki is just curious or want's a nest box of her own or what ever is going on with her. My concern is she's going to go too far and get harmed in the process, possibly while I'm not around. Would I be better letting this play out, see what they all do or separate her from the big cage into the smaller one and just distract her?

  14. #14
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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    Hi, and welcome back. It sounds like you found a great doctor to evaluate Orlando. That is good news. Personally, I would keep Orlando and her mate in their own cage with the nest box. Usually, a third tiel in the mix does not work out. It will be much less stressful for Orlando not having to deal with Kiki being in her cage. I would say it is much more likely the nesting will succeed with Orlando and her mate by themselves. Its much like the old adage...two is company, and three is a crowd. Do stop by often and keep us updated. It is awesome Orlando is in great health for being 14 years old.

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    Re: Ready to lay and egg or becoming egg bound?

    I am happy that Orlandos blood work came back good and they are back together again. She definitely has something inside of her and I hope it is not a tumor and the beginnings of a egg instead. I hope whatever it is she will be OK and not be passing out on you anymore, this has to be scary to you when she does it.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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