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It's that time of the year again!

Well, in Bambi they called it "Twitterpated" but those of us in the bird world know that it's breeding season again and our birds are horny little creatures. As sweet as they can be the rest of the year, when those hormones kick in they are worse then any human I have ever encountered. Here are a few pointers about personality, nesting, egg laying, what to look for and what to do.

We know the only thing worse then a horny female bird is a horny male bird. Talk about PMS, WHEW. You need to watch their body language and their eyes so if they are displaying symptoms of aggression you get out of the way. Don't get mad, get safe!

Telltale Body Language
The males often dilate their eye, flair their tail feathers, Spread their wings and THEY WANT WHAT THEY WANT NOW! You will get bitten if you don't cooperate, and you're not going to cooperate!!!!

Amazons are the worst with people. Cockatoos are the worst with their mates and the males have been known to kill a female that was not ready to dance the "Vertical Tango," ("horizontal" for people).

Our birds will tear up paper, towels, corn husks, palm fronds, pull out their feathers to "Feather their Nest" so to speak. (Now you know where that expression came from and why.) The females do not need a mate to lay eggs, just like chickens, we do not usually buy fertile eggs at the store. Just encourage them with a rooster, Wham, eggs.

We do not put mirrors in the cages as it makes the female think there is a male there and she will lay eggs, with a male he just gets nastier because this wicked bird in the mirror won't cooperate at all.

Calcium for Females
Now the thing to remember is that a female laying a bunch of eggs can deplete her calcium level so its a good idea to feed her food that will support that problem. Egg shells, mixed in scrambled eggs, mashed hard boiled eggs with the shell or whole. Oyster shell, not grit, birds do not need grit, chickens do! Or if you have a bird having problems laying the egg a few weeks of Neocalglucon or Calcionate in the water is very helpful. You should get the doses from your Avian veterinarian. Dr. Rosskopf has spoken to us about this problem.

Should your bird show signs of effort in laying an egg, fluffed up, sitting on the cage bottom, straining, here are a few pointers to hold you over till you can get to your veterinarian, and that you need to do quickly as possible.

Keep the bird warm, a heating pad on one side of the cage bottom is good. Holding the birds vent over steam often helps release the egg. As a last resort put 1-2 drops of vegetable or mineral oil in the vent, if it gets this far, call someone you trust, who handles birds, that can help.

A bird can become egg bound, or an egg can break inside the bird because the shell was not formed properly or was soft, this can cause yolk Peritonitis. This can be deadly and you must see your avian veterinarian right away so they can extract the egg and put your bird on antibiotics.

Don't Encourage Breeding Behavior!
Now that I have scared you sufficiently, I hope, BEWARE, watch for the signs and don't encourage breeding behavior. Tickle the birds head and not his/her butt. Be careful and continue your TLC because as we ALL know, horniness is not any of us with our best foot (or beak) forward.

Karen, The Parrot Lady™








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