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What is egg binding?

We often discourage any hormonal triggers in our pet birds as well as educate people why it is important to do so. The “old” way of thinking with birds is that they love soft and cozy nests, after all wouldn’t you love a dark, fuzzy, cozy place to lay down? But birds do not see these places the way we do. To them, this is only a nest, a place that is safe to reproduce. In the wild the only time a bird would seek out an enclosed, dark space is when they are looking for an adequate place to lay their eggs. When they are not able to have babies with their human companion, it leads to sexual frustrations, often causing behavioral problems such as biting, aggression, amorous affections, etc.

This can also lead to extremely dangerous medical problems in female birds. Females do not need a male in their environment to develop eggs. It takes a lot of energy and nutrients for a bird to develop and lay eggs, so if they are not on a good diet or have enough calcium in their system a lot can go wrong very quickly. They can become egg bound, meaning as they lay an egg, the egg becoming stuck or broken in the oviduct or vent. The egg can become stuck for a variety of reasons but the most common is either the egg is too large to pas through or the egg is soft-shelled and breaks as it’s being laid. This often leads to infections, damaged internal organs, and causing septic peritonitis, which often leads to death. In the case of chronic egg laying, it is not uncommon for a bird to develop a prolapsed cloaca that can also become deadly if not treated immediately.

Encouraging hormonal behaviors is not only bad for their mental well being, it is extremely dangerous for them. The best thing we can do for our birds is discourage egg laying behaviors as much as possible. Some great ways to do this include removing any dark enclosed spaces. That means no nest boxes, cardboard boxes they can get into, tents, tee-pees, etc. and not allowing them to hide behind couches, inside cabinets or closets, etc when they are out of the cage. You should be avoiding petting them down the back which stimulates mating behavior. Also making sure they get at least 12 hours of sleep to keep them in an “off season” mind set will help and even limiting high energy foods like fruit and nuts. Check out more information on egg binding here:

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