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Thread: Can I keep a tiel from laying eggs?

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    Proud Birdie Momma Brand New Egg bbraven's Avatar
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    Question Can I keep a tiel from laying eggs?

    I got a new tiel about a month ago. We named her Izzy. Well, we think she's probably a she anyway. She's only a few months old, so I suppose it's too early to really worry, but recently she started pulling the paper up out of the bottom of her cage and shredding it. I know it's normal for birds to chew on things (My last bird chewed through his perches!) but I lost my last female to egg binding, so I'm concerned. Is there any way to guarantee that she won't want to lay eggs?

    I know that limiting light helps, so we have a blanket that we wrap around her cage after she's had 10 hours of light. She doesn't always go to sleep, but she is in the dark. There are sounds in the room though. We have a small place, so unless we carry her cage to the bedroom every night (which would be a pain, because it's quite large), we can't put her someplace with no noise. Our male never started breeding behaviors when he was in the same space, so I'm hoping it's okay for her too.
    We know not to pet "below the belt" but one site I saw said that even head petting can make them think you're a mate. I certainly hope that's not true, since she loves getting attention, and we love giving it to her. We know not to give her any bird-shaped toys or mirrors, and she has no nest-like areas in the cage. Another site said that more fruit and vegetables with less protein helps too. We fed our other bird Roudybrush pellet all day, with vegetables, grains and such 1-2 times a day, so that's what she gets. If we need to adjust her diet, we can do that. I also read that changing things around in the cage regularly can make it seem unsuitable for nesting. Is that true?

    I feel kind of stupid for worrying about this with a bird that's only four months old, but after losing my sweet Cherie to egg binding, I guess I'm just a worried birdy momma who'd rather be safe than sorry. We kept a male happy and healthy for 13 years, so if she turns out to be a he, we'll be all set. If she really is a female though, I want to be prepared.
    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Briana Blair
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    Tailfeather
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    Re: Can I keep a tiel from laying eggs?

    I fully understand your concern. I've been through chronic egg laying myself. You do have a few more months, hopefully, before egg laying would begin, but sometimes, if we do not get our birds from a breeder, in retail shops they could be older, because we really have no history on them.

    Everything you wrote, in my view, is correct in taking care of her. It is nearly 100% certain she will consider you and or another family member to be her mate, and there is no way to stop egg laying, but, we can use methods as you wrote to discourage it. Never provide a nest box, nor happy ternts, that you see in pet shops, or cloth of any kind, such as a toy made of cloth. The paper chewing is normal, and I do not think it is as much of a concern as the huts. Also, feed no soft foods, or any eggs, including egg food, or boiled eggs, cooked veggies, breads, etc. Soft foods encourage egg laying as well. For now, head scritches are OK. Just not any other part of the body.

    I love hens, even though there is always the possibility of egg laying. They are very loving and sweet birds. We will welcome your updates anytime!

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    Proud Birdie Momma Brand New Egg bbraven's Avatar
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    Re: Can I keep a tiel from laying eggs?

    The place I got Izzy from did their own breeding and came recommended, but I think they might have been off about her age. She's starting to get neck pricklies and drop feathers, which means she's headed for a molt. As far as I knew, that wasn't supposed to happen until the 6-month mark.

    When you say no soft food, how soft is too soft? She doesn't like most crisp foods we've given her, she prefers them cooked. She loves broccoli and she'll eat corn, so that's good. She won't eat raw carrot or celery. The only fruit we eat is apples and she won't eat that. She likes spinach, cooked carrot, thawed peas, pasta, soaked barley, rice... she wouldn't eat beets but those are soft anyway... Asparagus and cabbage aren't safe... We haven't had Brussels since we got her, but we could try that. I'm trying to think of what we eat that would be okay for her, while looking at a list of bird-safe foods. Nearly all the safe foods are soft. I'm very used to sharing mealtime with my birds, I'd hate to have to give that up with her.

    Between this post and another one of mine you commented on, it almost sounds like you think I shouldn't even touch her. I can't do that. I think it's awful when people put a bird in a cage and just leave it there. I've always loved on all my birds, 'tiles, 'keets and lovebirds. I only ever lost the one. (Oddly, now that I think of it, of the 9 or 10 birds I've owned, I've only had one male 'keet and one female 'tiel ever get into a mating state. It makes me wonder what I was doing right that I didn't know about!) If it comes down to it, I'd rather learn how to keep her healthy through egg laying than not be able to feed or touch her anymore. What do most people who have females do? If it's possible for her to have a long, happy life that includes petting, playing, foods she likes and laying eggs... Well, I'll gladly educate myself on how to make that happen for her! My fears aside, I want her to have the happiest life possible.
    Briana Blair
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    Tailfeather
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    Re: Can I keep a tiel from laying eggs?

    I am sorry for causing you to be sad about not being able to touch her. I truly did not intend to cause those feelings. The first hard molt comes at about a year old, when they lose all baby feathers and then replace them with adult feathers.

    My thoughts are just opinions. There is no reason why you must change anything in your interaction with her, or what you feed her. From reading posts of female tiel owners, over the years, the thoughts I shared are pretty standard answers I have read for folks who have females and are concerned about egg laying.

    Forums are for opinions. The posts are never set in stone, and it is always up to the caregiver to decide how to care for their beautiful birds.

    Izzy has an excellent diet, with great variety. You can proceed just as always. I know your feelings, because females really do tug at our heartstrings. Now that is not to say males don't, but males are more macho, and manly, and having had both, I totally agree with your thoughts. I suggest just taking a day at a time, as you are now, and see what might transpire in the months and days ahead. We will always welcome your updates and thoughts.

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    Proud Birdie Momma Brand New Egg bbraven's Avatar
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    Re: Can I keep a tiel from laying eggs?

    I appreciate all your thoughts, truly. I've loved all my feather babies, just as much as my fur babies, so I suppose I just worry like any mom would.

    I'm still not even positive that she's female. The shop said they were "reasonably certain", but Izzy seems awfully chatty. She makes lots of sounds when we uncover her in the morning, and has been making a wide variety of sounds whenever we leave the room. Heck, she's making all sorts of sounds right now while she's watching me type. That would be sort of atypical for a female, right? Of course, owning an oddball pet would be pretty average in this house!

    I'm going to love him/her no matter what he/she turns out to be, I just want to be prepared. Losing a little one too soon is hard on the heart.

    By the way, if I could get a variety of photos, do you think anyone here could speculate on gender, or do we just have to wait for that molt and guess based on behavior until then?
    Briana Blair
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    Tailfeather
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    Re: Can I keep a tiel from laying eggs?

    You could have an avian vet do a DNA test. Or, go on line and search for cockatiel bird DNA sexing kits. They send you a kit, and instructions. I do not know the cost of either.

    Males are definitely more verbal. However, since she is just a baby, I think she is making all those sounds because she is very happy in her new home and environment, and with you and your family.

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    Proud Birdie Momma Brand New Egg bbraven's Avatar
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    Re: Can I keep a tiel from laying eggs?

    Her training is going really well. She is getting to understand "up" and does it about 80% of the time. We've also been teaching her to go "ba-deep" when she wants love instead of that scree noise I talked about in the other thread. It's so adorable that most of the time now she puts her head down and goes "ba-deep. ba-deep." She keeps doing it while we pet her. It's a big improvement over the squealing! I do think she's pretty happy.
    Briana Blair
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