Most parrots won’t lay eggs if it’s not the breeding season and there’s no nest or mate. However, there are times when all other factors are right for egg-laying, aside from the absence of a male parrot.
If a female parrot has had no contact with a male before laying eggs, the eggs will be unfertilized. No chicks will ever hatch, and the eggs will need to be disposed of. It’s rare for wild female parrots to lay eggs without a mate. However, domesticated parrots may develop a habit of laying clutches without a male companion.
If your parrot regularly lays eggs without reproducing, this can be damaging to her body. If she’s too old, doesn’t consume enough calcium, or is sick, this can be potentially life-threatening. By making adjustments to her living environment and daily routine, you can control this behavior.
Can Parrots Lay Eggs Without Mating?
Female parrots do lay eggs with no mate. That’s because egg-production is triggered by:
- Warmer temperatures
- Light exposure that exceeds the 10-hour cycle
- Access to nests and nesting materials
- Hormones naturally activated at certain times of the year
The most important element is hormones. These activate mating instincts in parrots and cause females to begin developing eggs. These hormones can be initiated by:
- Getting touched along their tail and back
- Dancing or interacting with sexually mature parrots
- Being exposed to longer daylight hours
- Tearing apart paper or fabric into nest-appropriate pieces
- Being exposed to more bird calls
Individually, these factors won’t cause a parrot to lay eggs. Cumulatively, if most of these factors are in place, a parrot can misinterpret these signals.
Consequently, a female parrot will start making eggs. The fact that there’s no mate present may not be enough to discourage the female’s biology. Instead, she will produce eggs that aren’t fertilized.
Parrots Laying Eggs Without a Male
Female parrots only create eggs to reproduce. According to Hormones and Behavior, they can even tailor how they care for the eggs based on their weight and the composition of the yolks.
However, as discussed above, sometimes the parrot’s body gets confused. When this happens, a female will lay eggs whether or not they’re fertilized.
For a parrot to form a fertilized egg, sperm must travel to the ova through the oviduct tube. From there, the fertilized ovum travels back through the oviduct tube to an area where the outer shell is formed around it.
According to Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, once the shell has been formed, the eggs will be more solid than other altricial or semialtricial species. At this point, the parrot will be ready to lay.
If the sperm isn’t introduced, the eggs will still be laid. However, the eggs won’t be viable and won’t hatch.
Do Female Parrots Lay Unfertilized Eggs?
Egg production is a multi-step process. The albumin (egg white) is formed around the ovum to protect it from drying out. Then, in another part of the oviduct tube, the shell membranes start to form.
When the ovum nears the end of the oviduct tube, the shell forms further. Just before the vent (where the egg is released), the bloom is created around the egg. The bloom is a protective layer that:
- Prevents bacteria from entering the shell
- Closes the shell pores
- Aids moisture retention
A parrot’s shell gland prepares itself for the arrival of a fertilized ovum. If this doesn’t happen, the parrot lays a non-viable egg. The shell is a case formed around the ovum, just in case said ovum is fertilized.
However, while most humans with a uterus expel these non-viable eggs every month, female parrots don’t. They don’t even create the egg unless their body tells them it has a high chance of:
- Being fertilized
- Hatching into a chick
- Surviving once it’s hatched
If the female gets her wires crossed, then the egg will be laid anyhow. The presence of a mate isn’t necessary.
Is It Dangerous For Parrots To Lay Unfertilized Eggs?
Many complications can arise from egg-laying, such as:
Eggs are made from calcium. When a parrot forms an egg, it takes this calcium from its body to make it. Egg forming and laying is an arduous process. When a parrot’s calcium levels are low, it can cause health issues, such as bone fractures.
Egg binding occurs when a parrot is unable to lay an egg that has already been formed internally.
If the egg remains inside for long periods of time, it can lead to infection and organ damage. The egg can also break while inside the parrot. The shell shards can scratch the oviduct tube, leading to infection.
Parrots that lay eggs can become hostile and protective. The caring, lovable bird that would never hurt you won’t hesitate to lunge for your fingers if you dare get close to its eggs.
Parrots become hostile after egg-laying because they don’t want anything to happen to their clutch.
The stress of having to care for eggs may cause behavioral problems aside from hostility. Lethargy, unwillingness to eat, and feather plucking are all things that result from a parrot getting stressed.
Egg Yolk Peritonitis
Egg yolk peritonitis occurs when the ovum passes through the body cavity instead of the oviduct tube.
This happens due to illness or excessive egg-laying. Egg yolk peritonitis may cause the parrot’s abdomen to fill with liquid, as well as causing inflammation.
Excessive egg laying may lead to a stroke. Nutrients that circulate through the bloodstream to assist with the development of the egg can thicken the blood. Eventually, circulation issues can arise.
How To Prevent a Parrot from Laying Eggs
Bringing egg-laying to a stop depends on how many parrots you have and their species. It’s also important to understand how often, how many eggs, and when your parrot can lay. Here’s some information:
|Parrot Species||Breeding Periods Per Year||Clutch Size||Gestation Period||Breeding Season|
|African Grey parrots||1-2||5 eggs||30 days||July-January|
|Parakeets (budgies)||1||4-8 eggs||17-20 days||October-March|
|Cockatiels||2||6 eggs||20 days||March-September|
|Cockatoos||1-2||2-3 eggs||29 days||August-January|
|Hyacinth macaws||Every 1 to 2 years||1-4 eggs||24-28 days||November-April|
|Sun conures||2||3-5 eggs||22-28 days||February-June|
|Ringnecks||1||2-4 eggs||23 days||December-February|
If the parrot is single, you can discourage egg-laying by:
The breeding season is usually during the spring and summer. The days are longer at that time of year. Trick your parrot’s body into thinking it’s still winter by getting it to go to bed early in a dark room.
Parrots form strong attachments to humans, sometimes believing that their owners are their mates. Avoid mating behavior, such as touching your parrot anywhere other than the top of the head.
If your parrot displays mating behavior, such as regurgitating food in front of you, discourage it. Give your parrot a time-out in its cage until you can train the habit out of it.
For most species, it’s the female’s job to find a suitable nest to lay eggs during the breeding season. Most parrots like to lay eggs in enclosed spaces. If your parrot finds a nice, cozy spot, that could encourage her to lay eggs.
Toys Its Bonded With
Parrots get attached to toys and use them as a substitute mate. They often do this when sexually frustrated. If you notice your parrot behaving inappropriately with its toys, remove them until breeding season is over.
Move The Cage
Parrots dislike having their cage being placed in a different spot in the house. The discomfort they feel from this change will discourage egg-laying.
If you have more than one parrot, you can discourage egg-laying by keeping them separated, at least during the breeding season. Keep them in separate cages. Even parrots of the same gender can trigger egg-laying.
Females only require a male to fertilize the eggs, not to create them. This isn’t behavior to encourage, though. By arranging its home and routine in a way that discourages egg-laying, it will stop laying unfertilized eggs.