How To Outfox Chronic Egg Layers

What Birds on the Brink Sanctuary tries to do is not provide even the slightest environment that encourages a bird’s body to go into egg-laying mode.

Birds tend to lay their eggs in one season, but in captivity they can lay them all year round. Their eggs are not fertile, of course, but laying egg after egg causes a problem with a need for calcium in their bodies.  What we’re doing is experimenting with the environment to reduce the hormone engagement and discourage that maternal instinct.

We have 2 chronic egg layers, Mango and Fiona.

Mango will sit on John’s foot under his desk and put her head up his pants leg. Cockatoos are cavity dwellers and this reminds her of being in a cavity. John will hear a click, look down, and there’s an egg in his shoe! He takes Mango out to the mailbox and one time when he came back in, there was an egg in his shirt pocket.

Injections that will change the cycle are a standard veterinary process for dealing with this issue, but we didn’t want to go that route.

Fiona was always looking around for a little dark place to call her nest. She loved to lay her eggs under a desk, as that is her cavity. We now don’t let her go anyplace that looks like cavity and it’s working nicely.

Fiona in her cavity

Chronic egg laying is quite uncomfortable and gets the hormones all out of whack and Mango’s way of dealing with that is to chew on her feathers. She was having an egg every six weeks and looking shabbier and shabbier, as there was never any time to recover.

Some people grind up a Tum’s and put it on their food to see whether that replaces the calcium loss. Our current solution is to add some new minerals to Mango’s water and for John to wear shorts instead of long pants! We’re attempting to outfox nature!