at what age do female parrots lay eggs?

What Age Do Parrots Start Laying Eggs?

In the wild, parrots lay eggs about once a year in a clutch of 2-4 individual eggs. For smaller species, they may lay eggs 1-3 times a year, depending on the weather and their health. However, parrots don’t lay eggs in a constant stream every day. If there is no mate present, or it isn’t the breeding season, most parrots won’t lay eggs at all.

Parrots begin laying eggs at about 2 years of age. This may be sooner for small parrot species, or later for large parrot species. No matter the case, all females are capable of reproducing once they reach sexual maturity. They will even lay unfertilized eggs if their hormones are activated by signs of mating season. This can be due to a greater exposure to sunlight, other birds, or nesting materials.

Parrots usually stop laying eggs at about 10-12 years of age. Depending on the species and health of the parrot, it may reproduce for several years after this point. However, it’s a rare case, since the hormones necessary for egg-laying are far more limited in older parrots.

What Age Do Female Parrots Lay Eggs?

All female parrots are capable of laying eggs. However, they will begin this process at different ages, depending on their:

  • Health
  • Species
  • Food sources

A healthy female parrot will start laying eggs once she reaches sexual maturity. This usually happens at 2 years of age. Based on the species, here are the prime egg-laying years for a parrot:

  • African Grey parrot: 3-5 years
  • Blue and Yellow Macaw: 3-4 years
  • Scarlet Macaw: 3-4 years
  • Hyacinth Macaw: 5-6 years
  • Blue-Naped parrot: 5-7 years

Can Male Parrots Lay Eggs?

While female parrots can lay eggs, no matter the species, male parrots cannot lay eggs. If you thought you had a male parrot and it has started laying eggs, you actually have a female. This is a surprise for many owners, since parrots are difficult to sex at a glance.

parrot egg laying symptoms

Symptoms of Egg Laying in Parrots

Unless you intend to breed the parrots, there’s no need for your pets to lay eggs. Of course, you can’t stop the eggs from being laid. If you recognize when your parrot is about to lay eggs, you can take action.

This may involve providing more food or removing materials that could be used for nesting. That’ll help stop your parrot from getting too defensive of its eggs, allowing you to remove them. Look out for changes in the parrot’s behavior and stance. Signs of egg-laying in a parrot include:

Becoming Hormonal

The most noticeable change you’ll see is in your parrot’s mood. Before it lays an egg, its hormones will skyrocket, causing the parrot to be:

  • More protective of its cage
  • Highly defensive of its toys and space
  • Prone to screaming
  • More willing to bite
  • Temperamental in general

Walking Differently

With an egg forming inside the parrot, your bird may also walk with an awkward gait or stiffness. Obviously, this will go away after the parrot lays its eggs.

Tail Twitching

A parrot that’s about to lay an egg will twitch or move its tail more than usual. It is one method that parrots use to help the eggs move through their system.

Gaining Weight

As with any pregnancy, your parrot will gain a little weight when it’s carrying an egg. It doesn’t matter if the egg is fertilized or not; your parrot will look larger than it used to. Its abdomen will also be firmer.

Drinking More Water

Because a parrot’s body is working overtime to produce an egg, your pet will need more water. Otherwise, it will get lethargic and dehydrated.

Your parrot will be using a great deal of moisture to create the egg, its shell, and its membrane. Make sure the female has access to water at all times, as she cannot survive more than a day without it.

Making Larger Droppings

Parrots will produce larger droppings when laying their eggs. While this can be a sign of other issues, larger droppings can be a harmless indication that your female is trying to make a new generation.

How Often Do Parrots Lay Eggs?

On average, a female parrot will lay about 2-4 eggs once a year. When female parrots in captivity are allowed to naturally lay eggs, they usually lay from 3-6 at a time.

According to Physiological And Biochemical Zoology, parrots are derived from an order that lays multiple small clutches over time. As such, you won’t find a packed nest every few weeks. Instead, most species breed and reproduce at the onset of spring each year. Other species lay eggs 1-3 times a year, depending on the weather and their food supply.

This greatly depends on the female’s species and her nutrient levels. Your parrot will need a high amount of:

  • Calcium
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium

If she doesn’t have enough, it can lead to uterine exhaustion and other health issues. It can also affect how often she lays the eggs, even if she does create them. Here’s a quick look at when specific breeds tend to lay eggs, and how many they lay at a time:

  • African Grey Parrot: 1-2 times a year (3-5 eggs at a time)
  • Blue And Yellow Macaw: Every 1-2 years (2-3 eggs at a time)
  • Scarlet Macaw: Once a year (1-4 eggs at a time)
  • Hyacinth Macaw: Once a year (1-2 eggs at a time)
  • Blue-Naped Parrot: Every 1-2 years (3-4 eggs at a time)

How Long Does It Take Parrots to Lay Eggs?

Most parrots take between 1-3 days to lay eggs. They usually lay clutches (or bundles) of 3-6 eggs at a time.

While the egg is being developed, make sure the parrot is getting enough calcium. You may even need to provide supplements and vitamins to make sure it has enough stored up.

According to Zoo Biology, the more “enriched” or comfortable a parrot is made in its environment, the more likely it is to lay eggs. As such, your parrot will speed along its egg-laying process if it’s:

  • Placed in a large cage
  • Fed soft, fatty food
  • Can hear other birds in its area
  • Is allowed to exercise and stay busy

When the egg is ready, it should come out pointy-end first. If it’s not, then it’s time to go to the veterinarian for assistance.

If the eggs are fertilized, the mother will lay and then sit on them until they hatch. If they are unfertilized, the mother will generally ignore the eggs. If she doesn’t, the female will only sit on them for 1-2 days before abandoning them. 

Why Do Parrots Lay Unfertilized Eggs?

Female parrots lay unfertilized eggs because they are responding to their biological drive. It doesn’t matter that there is no mate around to fertilize the egg. It will still form if given the chance. Once it has, it cannot remain inside of the mother forever. She will lay the ‘dead’ egg and then ignore it.

This is especially true if your parrot is exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. If the day cycle lasts for 12 hours or more hours, this indicates that spring has arrived. Parrots use this time as breeding season, and their hormone production responds accordingly. With plenty of food and water available, it’s a perfect time to breed.

While egg-laying is a natural occurrence, it shouldn’t become a regular habit for your pet parrot. It can result in:

  • Malnutrition
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Dehydration
  • Increased hormone levels and, therefore, aggression

If your parrot lays unfertilized eggs, do not remove them immediately. The mother will still be very defensive of them. Leave the eggs within the cage for about 1 week. After that, only remove one egg every other day. Taking them all at once may cause the parrot to become angry, temperamental, or even depressed.

As a bonus, the longer that first clutch sits there, the less likely your parrot is to create a new batch. This can help discourage your parrot from egg-laying until its hormonal period is over.

can male parrots lay eggs?

What Age Do Parrots Stop Laying Eggs?

Parrots stop laying eggs at about 10-12 years. There is a point where female parrots stop producing the hormones necessary to reproduce. Depending on the species, here is the average timeline:

  • African Grey: 12 years old
  • Blue and Yellow Macaw: 10-12 years old
  • Scarlet Macaw: 10-12 years old
  • Hyacinth Macaw: 10 years old
  • Blue-Naped Parrot: 10-12 years old

Of course, every parrot is different. Yours may start laying eggs earlier and continue laying them after 10-12 years old. In some cases, parrots have been known to stop reproducing at 12 years, and then begin again 10 years later. Even parrots in their 30s and 40s may lay the occasional egg. It’s less common, but it does happen.

As long as the parrot is well-fed and has a calm environment, this will not harm it. If you want to stop your parrot from laying eggs at all, then you will need to try and manage its hormones. Limiting its direct exposure to sunlight by a few hours, and taking away nesting materials, is a great start.