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Thread: Egg Laying

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    Egg Laying

    Hi, I am new here and hoping for some expertise! I adopted two lovebirds about three months ago, when the prior owner needed to rehome them. She had them about a year and estimated that they were about 2 years old. I took them to the vet and he said it is hard to sex them, which didn't really matter to me so I didn't pursue it. Well, about 2 weeks ago I caught them in the act, and there is no doubt that they are male and female. After that the female began chewing their toys and paper (they love to chew cardboard and any kind of paper) to make a nest. I put a small plastic bowl in the corner and she worked in there making a nest. My vet advised that even if you don't want babies, it is best to let her lay the eggs.

    They get a happy hut only at night to sleep, and she laid an egg in there a week ago, which I moved to the plastic bowl and then replaced with a fake egg purchased at a craft store. She has now laid 5 eggs in various places in the cage, sometimes in the nest sometimes not. I have replaced all with fake. She will sometimes go over and sit in the bowl but she doesn't stay there. She laid the fifth egg last night and I can see that her belly is swollen still today so I think there may be more. I just hope I am doing the right thing. I had read that after she is done laying she will sit on them, then eventually abandon them and I will remove the nest. How long should this take? Do I wait until she seems to be done laying, and if she isn't brooding just take the nest out?

    She is soooo mean that I can barely get their food in there without being bitten and she won't come out of the cage. I miss my sweet girl! I can't separate the two as they are extremely bonded and just squawk relentlessly if they are apart.

    Any advice is appreciated, thanks.

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    Re: Egg Laying

    Hi, and welcome to the community. Here is my view and opinion. Having a happy hut in the cage, and any item such as the bowl for use as a nest, will encourage egg laying, so, if it were me, I would immediately remove them. I would place the fake eggs in a cage corner, on a piece of folded paper towel only. Nothing that resermbles a nest whatsoever. Otherwise, you will end up with a chronic egg layer, which means she will be laying eggs constantly, which will compromise her health. I also would separate the two immediately, and put them in separate cages permanently. If you allow them to be together, the mating will be going on all of the time, and the hen will never take a break from laying.

    I do support fake eggs. That was a positive decision in my view. Anytime you find an egg, replace it with a dummy egg, and place the dummy on the cage corner.

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    Re: Egg Laying

    Thank you for the advice. It is hard for me to think of separating them as they are so close. If I put the eggs in the cage corner, do I remove them all if she stops laying?

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    Re: Egg Laying

    You will need to allow her to nest with her dummy eggs in the corner of the cage bottom, as I had suggested, for about 21-25 days or until she abandons them, meaning no longer paying attention to them.

    With her being in the cage with the male, it is going to be difficult to stop her laying eggs, because theire is a natural hormonal attraction happening between them and that will encourage her to keep laying eggs, even without a nest. So, until you separate them, I am concerned she will be laying eggs with no stopping. If she has her own cage, she will not have the male in there. That is not to say she will stop laying eggs, but at least she will not be mating with the male. And you have a better chance for her to stop, if only for awhile. Hens should lay eggs every few months, not all the time.

    You are caught in a double bind of sorts, because during that 21-25 days I mentioned, she would have to not lay anymore eggs, and with him in the cage,I do not think that will happern. Then you have to keep counting 21 more days for eggs she is laying each time she starts another clutch/batch of eggs. Eggs are laid every other day. When a hen stops laying for more than two days, and then starts laying again, it is then a new clutch of eggs and you have to start counting tbe 21 days all over again. So, she has a better chance to get the rest from laying all the time, if she has her own cage.

    Yes,I know it is complicated behavior, and it is something many of us do not learn until egg laying begins. From observing the posts here, especially over the last couple of years, it seems to me that there are more and more owners having problems with egg laying in caged hens. It could be due to environment. I also feel it may be due to the ingredients in seed mixes and/or pellets.
    Last edited by maxollie; 08-08-2018 at 10:11 AM.

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    Re: Egg Laying

    Quote Originally Posted by maxollie View Post
    You will need to allow her to nest with her dummy eggs in the corner of the cage bottom, as I had suggested, for about 21-25 days or until she abandons them, meaning no longer paying attention to them.

    With her being in the cage with the male, it is going to be difficult to stop her laying eggs, because theire is a natural hormonal attraction happening between them and that will encourage her to keep laying eggs, even without a nest. So, until you separate them, I am concerned she will be laying eggs with no stopping. If she has her own cage, she will not have the male in there. That is not to say she will stop laying eggs, but at least she will not be mating with the male. And you have a better chance for her to stop, if only for awhile. Hens should lay eggs every few months, not all the time.

    You are caught in a double bind of sorts, because during that 21-25 days I mentioned, she would have to not lay anymore eggs, and with him in the cage,I do not think that will happern. Then you have to keep counting 21 more days for eggs she is laying each time she starts another clutch/batch of eggs. Eggs are laid every other day. When a hen stops laying for more than two days, and then starts laying again, it is then a new clutch of eggs and you have to start counting tbe 21 days all over again. So, she has a better chance to get the rest from laying all the time, if she has her own cage.

    Yes,I know it is complicated behavior, and it is something many of us do not learn until egg laying begins. From observing the posts here, especially over the last couple of years, it seems to me that there are more and more owners having problems with egg laying in caged hens. It could be due to environment. I also feel it may be due to the ingredients in seed mixes and/or pellets.
    She seems to be paying no attention to the fake eggs at all. They roll around the cage and if I lay them on the paper towel both birds just chew it and the eggs fall off. What upsets me the most is how vicious she has become. Will she ever go back to being a nice bird??

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    Re: Egg Laying

    Hens usually are very protective of their eggs, and can be very aggressive. There is no doubt that egg laying does change them. With your situation now, most likely, until the egg laying stops, she will be as she is now. You do have the choice of removing the dummies and boiling the real eggs snd giving them back to her on the paper towel instead.

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    Re: Egg Laying

    Follow up.... my female has laid two clutches of eggs this summer and I have tried everything I could find to deter the breeding with no luck. I have to separate them for her health. I was thinking two side by side cages with open tops so they can play together and they can be together out of cages, but then back into their own. I don’t want to traumatize them though. Is this a bad idea???? Thanks!

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    Re: Egg Laying

    That is an excellent idea. You will need to supervise them though, because they may decide to mate out of cage, on the open top perch, or, go into one cage to do so.

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    Re: Egg Laying

    Thanks for the advice. Do you think they will be ok in separate cages? I dont want them to become hysterical or depressed. I want them to be happy just canít have them mating all the time!

  10. #10
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    Re: Egg Laying

    Well, at first they may hang on or perch on the side of the cage where they are close together, and may get quite verbal, but I think that will be short lived. And really, you are wise to keep them apart, because laying eggs is very stressful for hens, and birds do have a very strong drive to mate, and lay eggs, over and over, so I do believe you made the best decision for them.

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