One day in Polly’s cage, there is a tiny egg. Polly is very proud! How did this happen, immaculate conception? Well, Nature expects her to raise babies, not become your pet!
Environment triggers mating at the best time for chick survival. Cues include longer daylight hours, warm weather, and abundant nourishing food allowing egg production. Her mate preens and feeds her during courtship and woos her with a nest. She’s fed while incubating eggs, or eats when he takes a turn! Kept busy by the chicks, there is no time for a second clutch allowing her body to recover. They raise one clutch annually, and rarely another which can preclude weight gain and winter survival.
How’s egg-laying cued? Staying awake, uncovered, with bright lights on until 10pm or later or by eating abundant rich foods (seeds), all year long. Mirrors become suitors. We stimulate preening by petting and cuddling. We feed her with our mouths and provide food dishes (nests), for her (unfertilized) eggs. This is courtship!
Isn’t this normal? No! She cannot survive a continuous mating season. Birds found dead after egg-laying are emaciated because there was no mate feeding them. Some survive, but without chicks, there’s no recovery time. Egg-laying continues until she dies of hypocalcemia, uterine prolapse or yolk peritonitis.
What to do? Eliminate triggers, provide calcium, improve diets, and call you veterinarian at any sign of nesting. Support, antibiotics, and hormones enhance survival. Sometimes “spaying” is necessary in extreme cases. Sadly, delaying veterinarian care loses lives. Compliments of Dr. Hollifield Best Friends Veterinary Hospital 301-977-1881 email: firstname.lastname@example.org