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why do parrots destroy their eggs?

Why Do Parrots Break, Throw, Drop, or Eat Their Eggs?

(Last Updated On: April 27, 2023)

If a parrot lays eggs and starts incubating them, you may feel confident that chicks will soon follow. However, genuine risks remain because some parrots destroy their eggs.

Parrots sometimes break their eggs due to fear or stress, inadequate nesting boxes, a lack of enrichment, nutritional deficiencies, being unprepared to brood (inexperience), or crushing their eggs accidentally.

If a parrot is destroying its clutch, provide a more spacious cage, safely-positioned nest, and minimize disturbances. If all else fails, turn to artificial incubation to remove the parents’ judgment.

Why Do Parrots Destroy Their Eggs?

As naturally good parents, it can be confusing when parrots break their eggs. You may feel confident that egg breakage is accidental, but that’s just one of the potential explanations.

All species of parrots, including budgies (American parakeets), lovebirds, Amazon parrots, and cockatoos, may destroy their eggs in captivity and the wild.

Egg destruction is more likely in captivity than in the wild, but it’s common among wild-caught birds.

Whether the eggs are newly laid or several days old, the mother or father may:

  • Throw the eggs out of the nest.
  • Eat the eggs.
  • Peck or stomp the eggs.
  • Break the eggs accidentally.

In captivity, parrots mainly destroy their eggs for reasons that affect them, such as:

  • Fear or stress.
  • Substandard nest.
  • Boredom.

Fear or Stress

Parrots will destroy their eggs if they feel stressed or in danger for these reasons:

  • Sudden noises, like roadworks or a loud argument.
  • New visitors, other pets, or rodent pests like mice and rats.
  • Other birds move too close to the nesting box.
  • Night frights due to real and perceived disturbances.
  • Changes to the environment, like changing the wall color from white to orange.

Parrots are neophobes and dislike change, so they’ll prioritize personal safety over their eggs because:

  • Eggs attract predators, so they’ll remove the eggs to avoid inviting danger.
  • Eggs are hard to defend. If a bird doesn’t think it can protect its eggs, destroying them is better.
  • Lay more eggs. If the parents survive, they can lay more eggs in the future.

If the parents are sure their eggs won’t hatch, throwing them out of the nest makes sense.

how do parrots break their eggs?

Inadequate Nests

For wild parrots, choosing the right nesting place can take many days.

Captive parrots are deprived of the autonomy to choose the nesting location and materials. If you fail to provide what they want, the parents may decide the nest is unsafe.

Parrots are cavity-nesters, selecting sheltered holes or chambers for their nests. According to the Journal of Ornithology, parrots select their nesting places based on the following criteria:

  • The size of the cliff side or tree.
  • Height of the nest from the ground.
  • Cavity size.
  • Nest entryway dimensions.

Researchers found that most parrots select nests on large surface areas above the ground. The cavities were 1.6 to 3.3 feet deep with body-size entryways.

If the nest is inadequate, it’ll stress out parrots, who see the area as vulnerable. Rather than contend with the challenges, the parents will break their eggs and try again in the future.

Lack of Enrichment

Parrots destroy their eggs when bored. If a parrot feels isolated, lacks enrichment, or doesn’t have proper socialization, it may destroy its eggs for fun.

Parrots are highly active birds who enjoy foraging, climbing, and exploring the world with their beaks. If they lack things to do, they’ll seek alternative ways to keep themselves busy, so they may:

  • Knock the eggs around the cage.
  • Peck at the eggs.
  • Pick up and drop the eggs on the cage floor.

So, ensure that parrots have ample food, toys, and activities to stay occupied.


Egg-breaking may not always be intentional. It can be accidental, which happens when a parrot:

  • Jumps down onto its eggs to protect or hide them.
  • The eggs were ‘addled’ (pushed too hard when rotating them, leading to trauma).
  • Cleans the eggs overly vigorously.
  • Bumps the eggs out of the nest when shifting around on top of them.
  • Embryo misorientation, where the large end of the egg (where there’s a bubble) is below the small end. Unfortunately, this causes the chick to drown while pipping.

Some eggs are stronger and more resilient to well-meaning attention than others.

Unhealthy Eggs

Birds can often determine that the egg contains a diseased or dead chick. For example, the hen may realize the embryo is malformed, and the eggs will never hatch.

To avoid affecting the entire clutch and to focus her attention on the healthy, she may destroy her weakest, most vulnerable eggs to maximize the chances of survival of the others.

Unfertile Eggs

Females may lay eggs without a male. If the hen realizes that her eggs are infertile, she may choose to break them because she realizes they’ll never hatch.

How Do Parrots Break Their Eggs?

Regardless of the explanation, a parrot may break its eggs in these ways:

  • Pushing eggs out of the nest.
  • Eating the eggs.
  • Crushing the eggs.

Before this behavior can be stopped, you need to understand the underlying motivation.

Why Do Parrots Push Eggs Out of the Nest?

Female parrots remove eggs from the nest to increase the likelihood of the collective survival of their offspring. The female may fear that her clutch will die. Examples include:

  • A predatory animal is nearby and could easily reach the nest.
  • Extreme temperatures (hot and cold).
  • A food or water shortage means not everyone will survive.

Domesticated parrots may still experience these stressors. For example, there may be a cold draft from an open window in the home or a pet cat staring at the cage.

Egg-breaking also happens if the parrot isn’t ready to brood. In avian species, brooding refers to a mother incubating eggs by sitting on them. So, she’ll push eggs out of the nest until she’s ready.

Why Do Parrots Eat Their Eggs?

Parrots may crack open their eggs and eat them. All parts of the egg are edible, including the yolks, whites, and shells. This behavior is usually due to the following:

  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Nutritional deficiencies.

Similar to pushing eggs out of the nest, parrots eat their eggs due to external stressors. If birds feel insecure or fearful, they’ll eat the eggs rather than subject them to an alternative demise.

Captive parrots may eat their eggs if they have nutritional deficiencies. Specifically, the parrot needs calcium, which eggshells have in abundance.

If the parrot isn’t fed a balanced diet, it’ll seek alternative sources of vitamins and minerals. When eggs are available, the adult’s survival takes priority over the offspring.

This is common among female parrots. Calcium is responsible for strong bones, healthy nerve function, and egg formation. A lack of calcium (hypocalcemia) can cause the following problems:

  • Severe eggshell deformities.
  • Skeletal deformities.
  • Improper heart and cognitive functions.
  • Inefficient intake of other nutrients.

There’s a high requirement for dietary calcium, so give the parrot a cuttlebone during the breeding season. Females that don’t get enough calcium are vulnerable to egg binding (dystocia).

Why Do Parrots Crush Their Eggs?

Parrots may crush their eggs accidentally or purposefully for the following reasons:

  • High temperatures or humidity levels.
  • Internal and external parasites.
  • Toxins.
  • Malnutrition.

Nutritional deficiencies (vitamin D3 and calcium) cause weak eggshells. Also, high temperatures of 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity cause soft-shelled eggs due to mold and bacteria.

why do parrots break their own eggs?

How To Stop Parrots From Breaking Their Eggs

There are methods used to discourage parrots from breaking their eggs:

  • Minimize disturbances.
  • Protective nest with sufficient depth.
  • Artificial incubation.
  • Spacious environment.
  • Fake eggs.

Secure Environment

Provide a secure environment to ensure the parents don’t damage their eggs out of stress or fear. Also, minimize disturbances and give the parrots covered nesting boxes.

Incubate The Eggs

Incubation provides a more controlled environment, reducing or removing the risk of the eggs being:

  • Eaten.
  • Pushed out of the nest.
  • Crushed.
  • Infected by parasites;
  • Harmed by mold.

Consequently, a parrot’s eggs are significantly more likely to hatch.

More Space And Fake Eggs

Providing a spacious cage and fake eggs reduces the likelihood of egg destruction due to boredom. Parrots sometimes crush their eggs for enjoyment, but fake eggs can prevent this scenario.

Parrots break their eggs because they fear something is wrong and don’t feel it’s the right place to incubate them. Keeping a parrot well-fed, entertained, and happy means it’s less likely to destroy its eggs.