Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 73 guests, and 8 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Search

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
#256614 - 09/02/14 10:30 PM Diet and Egg Laying  
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 22
blackcapmom Offline
New Member
blackcapmom  Offline
New Member

Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 22
New York, NY USA
Hello out there,

So I did some searching but haven't found a thread that addresses this (or more likely I just didn't find the key words to bring it up front and center but I think this will be OK to ask here).

As it is September, in my household it appears my two black capped conures are starting to go into their cycle. (Last year Maya and Shayne figured out the mating game, much to my dismay. I kept trying to tell them they are brother and sister and we really don't want a Greek tragedy in our home - there is some truth to that as their bands show they came from the same breeder - but they are a year apart and I received the female from some remote part of New Jersey from a woman named Donna while the boy came from a store in NYC but I didn't realize that at the time - who really remembered band numbers!!)

Anyway, back to the mating game. The first time I tried addling the eggs (which is much harder to do than I expected). I was successful with all but one - so Maya experienced hatching much to all of our surprise - but sadly (also fortunately if you know what I mean) she wasn't able to figure out feeding and the poor chick passed away a little less than 30 hours later. Now I have fake eggs and swap at first lay. She knows these are not her eggs when I place them in the "nest" but it is the best I can do unless....

I have read that these bird mills give lots of seed mix and food to their birds "to encourage them to breed". The thought is, in the wild, there are times when food isn't plentiful and the bird's bodies know to shut down and not lay eggs. When the seasons change and food is readily available, they know it's time to build a nest.

So I am thinking about my birds. My birds get a lot of food all day long. Maybe I am making conditions too good? Maybe I am unwittingly my own birdie mill so to speak? In the AM, they each get (they are in separate cages and are only together when they are out) 1 teaspoon of Harrisons, 1 tablespoon of ABBA 1300 nut/seed/dried fruit mix), fresh lettuce or wheat grass and a little fresh banana with oatmeal from my breakfast when I make it at home.

In the afternoon, the Harriosns and seed mix from the AM is dumped and replaced with 1 teaspoon of Harrison's each and some times a little TOPS (which my female greatly prefers btw). They also get an assortment of fresh vegetables - carrots, broccoli, sweet peas, string beans, sweet potato and sometimes a few other.

Evening, we dump the fresh veggies and give them a little fresh fruit - one raspberry each OR one blackberry each OR sliced strawberry or 1 grape each OR a little apple OR a little pear OR... you get the idea. We may add a little Harrisons if there is only powder left in the cups.

Very occassionally, we might give them a strand or two of pasta from our dinner which they love OR fresh cooked corn on the cob.

So now, I wonder - if I take away the ABBA 1300 seed / nut mix for the few weeks I think she is going into egg laying mode - do you think there will be an impact? Anybody ever have success thwarting the dreaded egg laying by modifying diet? Would be much easier on my heart (and I suspect theirs) if I didn't have to throw out eggs - especially those I know to be fertile.

Interested in hearing your thoughts and/or experiences on the subject.


Shayne and Maya's mom - Julie
#256622 - 09/03/14 01:44 AM Re: Diet and Egg Laying [Re: blackcapmom]  
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 79
Rescue M2 Mom Offline
Member
Rescue M2 Mom  Offline
Member

Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 79
Colorado
Is it causing other problems?
I know laying is a risk, but each suggestion below has risks as well. Note that all of this comes from my having kept laying hens (chickens) in the past, and from researching hormone issues in parrots Some others have had a bird with a chronic laying problem and they may jump in with some more helpful suggestions.

There are just so many factors that go into egg laying that I doubt removing the seeds and nuts just for a few weeks will prevent it. It's more the protein content of the diet combined with total calories than the fat content that influences laying in most cases.

If the behavior comes at a fairly predictable time, you can talk with your vet about some medications that affect hormones in the hen. Lupron is usually recommended.

The biggest contributor to hormones is lighting... but if you restrict lighting to "stop" egg laying, I think you will only delay it. I would not recommend restricting lighting all year round. You could try swapping night and day for a few weeks when you start to suspect a hormone increase is hitting the birds. In some (but not all) cases this can throw things off track. The birds need to be in a very dark room during the day. You can turn on the full spectrum lighting during the evening when interacting with them for a duration of at least 6 but less than 8 hours.

Food plays a big role, but to prevent laying in a bonded pair I think you would may have to restrict all calories for an extended duration. This is dangerous, I wouldn't do it. You can significantly reduce protein and it may reduce laying behaviors, but please talk with a vet and monitor their weights if you want to try it.

Mate behavior plays a role... separating the two for the spring might prevent laying, but no guarantees here. Hens will lay without a mate. The separation will be hard on both birds and may contribute to other behavior problems. An option might be to keep them near each other but separate so the eggs will not be fertile. This will lead to sexually frustrated birds if done in absence of other hormone limiting changes.

Try removing all nesting materials. This is tied to behavior and resource availability. Unfortunately, you may find an egg on the metal grate if there is nothing else to lay on.


Other alternatives:
I prefer avoiding fertile eggs, but anyone who eats meat or eggs shouldn't really have a moral dilemma I guess.

If you were addling the eggs, did you know how to candle them? That is how you can confirm if it worked.
"Addling" shaking the egg violently about a 4-10 days after laying will generally prevent embryo development. If done carefully you can usually avoid micro cracks which hasten spoilage. You can check if it worked by candling the egg before and after addling. You will see the "web work" of developing tissue literally start to come apart and rupture in places if it worked. Before you see the development (it looks like tiny veins extending through the egg) it may be too early to be effective. I strongly recommend candling on a regular basis. Watch very carefully, you will want to remove the egg at any sign of spoilage (usually it will be seen as dark growths spreading unevenly).

Have you ever "blown" an egg? you tap a small hole in each end with a sharp nail and blow the insides out. Cap one hole with a drop of white candle wax. Then you can fill the egg with extra firm clear gelatin and allow the gel to cool. It won't go bad as quickly as the egg will, it also has a fluid movement when the hen moves the egg. The hen may eat the "defective" egg. It
is harmless.

Although a gross sin in laying hens, creating an egg eater may solve the problem. The story says that feeding chickens eggs cooked with the shell can encourage the behavior. You could try feeding her half an egg in the shell on occasion. If you can find anyone with quail eggs, they are closer in size.

You can boil the egg and return it to the nest for a while. Boiling may create micro-cracks, so pay attention. The egg can go bad quickly.

If the hen is particularly observant, you don't have to "boil" it. Temperatures as low as 105 degrees F can kill a developing embryo within a few minutes. Preheat the oven to it's lowest setting turn it off and place the egg inside for a few minutes. This will mostly keep the fluid movement of the egg and is less likely to cause cracks, but pay attention as the egg will go bad at some point. Google egg candling for images.


Nothing is so strong as gentleness,
Nothing so gentle as real strength.

Saint Francis de Sales
#256623 - 09/03/14 02:13 AM Re: Diet and Egg Laying [Re: blackcapmom]  
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 228
Specialist Elbru Offline
Member
Specialist Elbru  Offline
Member
***

Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 228
Texas, USA
Rescue M2 Mom Hit the high points. You may also look at the sticky that leads to a pdf file. http://www.mytoos.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=184334

#256635 - 09/03/14 04:54 AM Re: Diet and Egg Laying [Re: blackcapmom]  
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 22
blackcapmom Offline
New Member
blackcapmom  Offline
New Member

Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 22
New York, NY USA
Rescue M2,
wow. This is amazing info. I did know how to candle. I thought Bishert wasn't developing and then suddenly I saw a beating heart and, at that point I could not kill it. I couldn't do it. It was alive. I hoped it would pass away in the shell as I had shaken it violently for a few days after being laid and placed it in the freezer for some time - though not long enough to freeze It was enough to stop the other 3 fertile eggs. 2 were not fertile. Bershert (Yiddish for meant to be) hatched and I watched amazed as Maya tucked him way under her wing and then devoured the empty egg shell. HOW DID SHE KNOW TO DO THAT!!!!

Anyway, she laid again in e Spring. Just two eggs this time. I removed them when she wasn't in the room and replaced with the fake eggs. She never went near them again.

I don't have a problem with her. All her eggs have been very well formed. She has good calcium levels and drinks the water with calcium supplement I dissolve in the water. She also devours the mineral bars I place in the cages during these periods.

No, my worry is this egg laying business is so hard on the hen. I don't want her to go through it every season. Her clutches are usually 6 eggs and, compared to her own body - they are huge. I don't know how she bears it. When sitting on them, she never leaves except for a few minutes when I give the fruit in our bedroom. Then she quickly eats and is very agitated to get back to the nest. My normally squeeky clean conure becomes a smelly, dirty hen during the sitting period. She works so hard.

Anyway, I was intrigued to hear about blown eggs. I can do that. I will try it. I will also look thru the link Elbrus sent. Thank you both very much.

Your thoughts about removing the seeds/ nuts makes sense. I would hate turning their days to nights though. I need to think all this thru a bit and really read what I find on the link. But you have really given me concrete info. I knew about Lupron but felt I would only subject her to that IF she had continuous egg laying episodes. Right now it seems to be cyclical. Normal.

My vet shakes his head. He says there are two things about birds that make them totally unique and amazing among living creatures - the ability to fly and their reproductive system. Humans say they love them and then proceed to take both these things away from them. Still he agrees we shouldn't start hatching eggs. Too many unwanted birds in need of good homes. Too many.

Thank you so much. I will be back here with questions.


Shayne and Maya's mom - Julie
#256641 - 09/03/14 01:10 PM Re: Diet and Egg Laying [Re: blackcapmom]  
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 22
blackcapmom Offline
New Member
blackcapmom  Offline
New Member

Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 22
New York, NY USA
OK Rescue M2,

Question - referring to your paragraphs concerning boiling eggs - are you suggesting i could boil the laid eggs? Or a quail egg?

Also boiling at 105 degrees. - I use a candy thermometer for this? How do you do it to ensure consistent temp? Think less than a minute would be OK for a conure egg?

I cannot tell you how valuable this info is. I googled all over the place and never found these choices. Only info on addling and that concerned goose eggs.

Thank you.


Shayne and Maya's mom - Julie
#256644 - 09/03/14 01:48 PM Re: Diet and Egg Laying [Re: blackcapmom]  
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 10,120
EchosMom Offline
Moderator
EchosMom  Offline

Moderator
Chained to the Computer
*****

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 10,120
Florida, USA
There is always the risk of egg binding so laying should be discouraged. I have had success with Lupron but had to step up the frequency. It's an expensive drug so my vet taught me how to give the injections to save the frequent trips and expense of an office visit.

Here is a link to a site that sells fake eggs. You can swap out the real eggs very easily and my girls have accepted them, no problem. http://www.dummyeggs.com


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

Noelle, A Rehabilitation in Progress
#256649 - 09/03/14 04:57 PM Re: Diet and Egg Laying [Re: blackcapmom]  
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 228
Specialist Elbru Offline
Member
Specialist Elbru  Offline
Member
***

Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 228
Texas, USA
I think heat is more effective at destroying the fertile egg then cold. Remember, many eggs can go into a dormant state from being cold, then start development when the mother warm the egg. That is a strategy many species of birds use to get an all-in-the-same-day hatch even if eggs are laid over many days.


Originally Posted By: blackcapmom
I thought Bishert wasn't developing and then suddenly I saw a beating heart and, at that point I could not kill it. I couldn't do it. It was alive.


That is why it is best to destroy a fertile the day it is laid, when it is just a collection of a few dozen cells. I suppose you have to balance the destruction of a few cells against the suffering that a fully formed parrot shifting from home to home. If not for your new bird to be hatched, think of another fully formed bird looking for those all too few homes that the new bird will take up. The way I see it, all feeling including pain and the sense of being is in the brain. So if the development is stopped before a brain develops, suffering would be prevented. The veins and heart develop before the brain. As much as I have seen on mytoos, I feel that I would do whatever was necessary.


Originally Posted By: blackcapmom
Anyway, she laid again in e Spring. Just two eggs this time. I removed them when she wasn't in the room and replaced with the fake eggs. She never went near them again.


I'm not sure I would call the fake eggs a failure. Sometimes captive parrots are fickle with there own real eggs. If Maya were to toss aside the plastic eggs and lay new eggs, the fake eggs would have surly been a failure. It's up to you if you want to use real addled eggs or plastic eggs. You might want to try ceramic eggs (unfortunately dummyeggs dosn't have them). Just as long as you can prevent unwanted hatching. It is up to you.

It is best to avoid the stress of egg laying, but once the eggs are laid, it is best to let her sit on dud eggs. According to all I've read, the hen will eventually become bored of sitting the eggs and return to her regular routine. It usually takes about the same time for a normal incubation period. The birds do not seem to have an adverse emotional reaction when the eggs do not hatch.


Originally Posted By: blackcapmom
I would hate turning their days to nights


You would just be making the day shorter. Sometimes that is the most effective way to control breading.


Originally Posted By: blackcapmom
My vet shakes his head. He says there are two things about birds that make them totally unique and amazing among living creatures - the ability to fly and their reproductive system. Humans say they love them and then proceed to take both these things away from them.


When it comes to the part of that quote concerning reproduction, I'm not that dismayed. I recently came from a forum where people would host birdhouses for native birds to raise there young. It was cool to see the parents take up residence and raise a bunch of babies. The nice part would be seeing each parent raise and fledge up to five. The not-so-nice part was watching hawks snatching the youngsters from the nest house and take them to feed there own young. The hawks being native birds we were only allowed passive measures to deter the hawks. The bottom line is, when a spices reproduces more, it means that there is a grater need to replace birds lost to predators and other causes. I really don't see a problem with limiting reproduction to match the number of available homes. Which for now, is zero reproduction.

#256653 - 09/03/14 06:20 PM Re: Diet and Egg Laying [Re: blackcapmom]  
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 22
blackcapmom Offline
New Member
blackcapmom  Offline
New Member

Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 22
New York, NY USA
I agree on all fronts - that is why I am asking these questions, but - as a person who loves these birds with my whole heart - it is hard to steel myself to do what I know must be done. I get it and I will continue to do it, but it doesn't mean it does not weigh heavily on my heart when I do it. I just keep a picture in my head of the 20 or more baby black capped conures I saw at one of those horrible bird mills in NJ - none of whom get enough handling, some that will become impulse buys to people that really don't have a clue - and the ones that don't sell? I shudder to think what will happen to the ones that don't sell. Though I have no proof, I'm certain birds get euthanized there. They can't possibly keep the amount of chicks they constantly get and the juniors that don't sell. I just keep that image in my head and steel my heart to do the right thing. I think of all those birds stuck in nursing homes/assisted care homes around NYC - birds that are stuffed into plastic enclosures with one or two perches, perhaps one little toy and that is it - on constant display - never being taken out, never given bathing ops - no way to really exercise - or the ones in large display cages - pigeons, parakeets, love birds all stuffed in. I watched a parakeet dying on the floor of the cage - none of the staff knew what was happening - they didn't go in to help it, take it out.... NO I WILL NOT ADD TO THE "PET" BIRD POPULATION. So I ask my questions and I am very grateful for your replies and I will continue to do what I need to do. I will look for ways to get some legislation passed to force better conditions for pet birds, to end bird mills, to get education to owners. To make owners care about their "pet" birds. From finch to Hyacinth McCaw. The issues are complicated. But, this is a discussion for another thread.... Bottom line, thank you.


Shayne and Maya's mom - Julie
#256669 - 09/04/14 04:19 AM Re: Diet and Egg Laying [Re: blackcapmom]  
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 79
Rescue M2 Mom Offline
Member
Rescue M2 Mom  Offline
Member

Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 79
Colorado
Originally Posted By: blackcapmom
OK Rescue M2,

Question - referring to your paragraphs concerning boiling eggs - are you suggesting i could boil the laid eggs? Or a quail egg?

Also boiling at 105 degrees. - I use a candy thermometer for this? How do you do it to ensure consistent temp? Think less than a minute would be OK for a conure egg?


I wish the plastic eggs always worked, but they don't have the right weight, feel, movement, or smell... my chickens never liked them. Properly weighted ceramic eggs worked for chickens. It's worth a try.

You don't have to boil the egg at all, in fact a typical oven's lowest setting is usually 200 degrees Fahrenheit (below boiling). If you turn the oven off and open the door to insert an egg, it will drop further. An embryo develops properly between 98.5 and 99.7F anything above 102 can kill the embryo if the temperature is maintained long enough to alter the core temperature of the egg. (It is fluid, so it takes time to heat an egg to the core.) The higher the temperature, the quicker it will stop development. That is why it would only take a 5-10 minutes in a 150-180 with the small back cap eggs.

You can boil the laid eggs, but be very careful. I would remove them with gloves on and prevent them from rolling around in some way while boiling. If you lower the egg into lukewarm water wrapped in a handkerchief and suspended by a spoon or dowel, slowly bring to a boil and then allow the egg to slowly cool it may reduce the likelihood of cracking. There is a very thin membrane that is porous around the egg inside the shell. This membrane and the shell work together to help keep the egg sanitary. Once damaged the egg will go bad very quickly.


Nothing is so strong as gentleness,
Nothing so gentle as real strength.

Saint Francis de Sales
#256710 - 09/05/14 04:48 AM Re: Diet and Egg Laying [Re: blackcapmom]  
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 22
blackcapmom Offline
New Member
blackcapmom  Offline
New Member

Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 22
New York, NY USA
Many thanks. This info helps a lot.

Best


Shayne and Maya's mom - Julie

Moderated by  BE2Cassie, Beeps, EchosMom, Janny 

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.049s Queries: 14 (0.026s) Memory: 5.0585 MB (Peak: 5.4000 MB) Zlib enabled. Server Time: 2018-02-21 07:39:28 UTC