at what age do female parrots lay eggs?

What Age Do Parrots Start Laying Eggs?

Parrots usually lay clutches of 2-4 eggs once per year. Smaller species may lay eggs 1-3 times a year, depending on the weather and their health. Most parrots won’t lay eggs if there’s no mate or it isn’t the breeding season.

Parrots begin laying eggs at 2 years of age, or sooner for small species. All female parrots are capable of reproducing once they reach sexual maturity. They’ll even lay unfertilized eggs if their hormones are activated by signs of the mating season, such as over-exposure to sunlight, other parrots, or nesting materials.

Parrots usually stop laying eggs once they reach 10-12 years of age. However, depending on the species and health of the individual parrot, it may continue to reproduce for several years after this point. This is rare since the hormones necessary for egg-laying are more limited in older parrots.

What Age Do Female Parrots Lay Eggs?

Female parrots will start laying eggs once they reach sexual maturity, usually at 2 years of age. Based on the species, here are the prime egg-laying years for parrots:

Parrot SpeciesPrime Egg-Laying YearsStops Laying EggsEggs Per Clutch
African Grey parrots: 3-5 years12 years3-5 eggs
Blue and Yellow Macaws:3-4 years10-12 years2-3 eggs
Scarlet Macaws:3-4 years10-12 years1-4 eggs
Hyacinth Macaws:5-6 years10 years1-2 eggs
Blue-Naped parrots: 5-7 years10-12 years3-4 eggs

Can Male Parrots Lay Eggs?

Male parrots cannot lay eggs. If you thought you had a male parrot and it’s laying eggs, you actually had 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 parrots, there’s no need for your pets to lay eggs. Of course, you can’t stop eggs from being laid. If you recognize when your parrot is about to lay eggs, you can take action, though.

This could involve providing additional food or removing materials that could be used for nesting. That’ll prevent your parrot from getting too defensive of its eggs, allowing you to remove them.

Signs of egg-laying in a parrot include:

Becoming Hormonal

The most noticeable change that you’ll observe in a parrot is its mood. Before she lays an egg, her hormones will increase, leading to her becoming:

  • More protective of her cage
  • Highly defensive of her toys and space
  • Prone to screaming
  • More likely to bite
  • Temperamental

Walking Differently

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

Tail Twitching

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

Gaining Weight

As with any pregnancy, your parrot will gain weight when she’s carrying eggs. 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 works harder to produce eggs, your parrot will need more water. Your parrot will be using water to create the egg, shell, and membrane. Ensure that she has access to water at all times.

Larger Droppings

While this can signify other issues, parrots will produce larger droppings when laying their eggs.

How Often Do Parrots Lay Eggs?

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

According to Physiological And Biochemical Zoology, parrots are derived from an order that lays multiple small clutches over time. Most species breed and reproduce at the onset of spring each year. Other species lay eggs 1-3 times per year, depending on the weather and food supply.

If she doesn’t have enough calcium, vitamin E, and selenium, it can lead to uterine exhaustion and other health issues. It can also affect how often she lays eggs.

How Long Does It Take Parrots to Lay Eggs?

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

While the egg is being developed, ensure that she’s 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 in her environment, the more likely she is to lay eggs. The egg-laying process will be easier if she’s:

  • Placed in a large cage
  • Fed soft, fatty food
  • Can hear other birds
  • Kept active

When the eggs are ready, they should come out pointy-end first. If the eggs are fertilized, the mother will lay and then sit on them until they hatch. If the eggs are unfertilized, the mother will ignore them. If she doesn’t, the female will only sit on them for 1-2 days before abandoning them. 

can male parrots lay eggs?

Why Do Parrots Lay Unfertilized Eggs?

Female parrots lay unfertilized eggs when responding to their biological drive.

It doesn’t matter that there’s no mate about to fertilize the eggs. It will still form if given the chance. Once it has, it cannot remain inside of the mother forever. She will lay the eggs and ignore them.

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, 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 the ideal time to breed.

While egg-laying is a natural occurrence, it shouldn’t become a regular habit as it can result in:

  • Malnutrition
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Dehydration
  • Increased hormone levels
  • Aggression

If your parrot lays unfertilized eggs, don’t remove them immediately. The mother will still be very defensive of them. Leave the eggs in 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.

The longer that first clutch sits there, the less likely your parrot is to create another clutch. This can discourage your parrot from egg-laying until her hormonal period is over.

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.

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

As long as your parrot is well-fed and has a calm environment, this will not harm her. If you want to stop your parrot from laying eggs at all, then you’ll need to manage her hormones. Limiting her direct exposure to sunlight to a few hours and taking away nesting materials will be beneficial.