Friday, December 23, 2011

Egg Laying Female Pacific, Talking Male

Hi Sandee,

I rescued a five-year-old, female, parrotlet, from Vancouver last September. Since then she has laid two clutches of eggs. The first clutch was five eggs. At the present time (second clutch), she is sitting on six eggs. One fell out of the birdie hut, where she sleeps and keeps her eggs. The last egg was laid November 28th. I have decided to leave the eggs, until December 23rd, as this is the incubation period of the parrotlet. I am also taking away her lovely hut since she likes to lay eggs in it. I read your site, where you suggested reducing the hours of sunlight/natural light she receives (cover off at 8:00 am; cover on at 8:00 pm). I hope she doesn’t produce anymore eggs. Do you have any other suggestions? I also have three male parrotlets (she doesn’t like them), who talk. I put her in my bedroom after she laid her first clutch so she wouldn’t hear the other birds. I don’t like doing this, as I like them all together.

I thought you would be interested to know that I rescued a tiny green, male Pacific parrotlet from Vancouver, who is five-years-old. I don’t know his history, but he is very frightened. No one wanted him because he wasn’t tame. Since I adopted him, he has calmed down quite a bit. He is a very quiet little boy. Last night I was watching my other two blue males sitting on the counter in my kitchen, while they were eating a kiwi and birdie bread that I make. They both talk. To my amazement, I could hear talking and at first thought it was one of the birds on the counter. But it wasn’t because they were eating. It was the little green male, Riley, who was talking up a storm in his cage! This confirms that these little parrotlets (males) can learn to talk even if they are older. I absolutely love this species of bird. They continue to amaze me.

Kind regards,

Dear Sylvia:

Thank you for you email. As I have posted on my website, blog and in my 3 books, the two most important ways to prevent pet female parrotlets from laying eggs is a) to reduce the number of daylight hours to less than 12 and b) to remove any ‘nest-like’ structures in the cage. These two factors will stop 99.9% of most female parrotlets from laying eggs. Of course, there are no guarantees and should she continue, I would definitely have her vet checked. Certain medical conditions can be a factor but generally speaking it is a husbandry problem that can be rectified by changing the environmental factors that stimulate hormones and cause egg laying in pet hens.

I will say should also be supplementing her with additional calcium – both in the form of supplements such as sprinkling a powdered calcium supplement on her fresh foods, providing her with cuttlebone (as much as she will eat) and mineral block plus in her food sources such as green leafy vegetables and broccoli. Cup for cup, broccoli has more calcium than milk and green leafy vegetables such as bok choy, mustard and turnip greens and even the tops of carrots and beets are excellent sources of calcium. I would avoid spinach because spinach is thought to bind calcium and make it harder for the body to absorb. Boiled, chopped eggs with the shell are also excellent and will provide protein and vitamin e as well.

I would not remove the eggs. Mother Nature has hard-wired these birds to sit for a certain period of time and while incubation of eggs generally is 21 days to hatching, she may longer for a variety of reasons. Removing the eggs before she has completed her cycle, regardless of what the calendar says, may cause her to lay again. This is probably why she ‘double-clutched’ in the first place so just leave those eggs alone and let her do what she has been designed to. Not only can she become egg-bound with another clutch, she can also suffer from a prolapsed uterus, extreme blood calcium deficiency and brittle bones…all of those are extremely serious and can result in death.

Also, I would put all the birds back into the same room. There is no reason to believe that the males being in the same room had anything to do with causing her to lay. She doesn’t like males, has obviously imprinted on humans (which is why she is a good pet in the first place) and in the wild, parrotlets leave the company of the flock to go off and raise their offspring on their own. I would say that it has been my 30 year experience that a female would want to fight off these other birds not be so entranced with them that it has caused her to lay eggs. Unfortunately, there are no “Elvis Presley’s” or “Frank Sinatra’s” in the bird world. If there were, it would be a lot easier for people who are trying to breed parrotlets.

I do love the story about your male but I would have to say that he did not suddenly, spontaneously learn to imitate human speech. While you certainly can ‘teach an old parrotlet new tricks’ what you are describing is perfectly normal behavior for an adult male parrotlet that is going through the stress of a move and a learning to adapt in a new environment. I am certain he knew how to mimic human speech but was quiet since speaking in human words is extremely unnatural for a parrotlet and probably would have done it in a few months anyway but when he heard your birds, he joined the conversation. Probably just to say “hey, I’m here! Can I join your flock?” Besides, when parrotlets are learning to speak they take several weeks or months making very garbled sounds that don’t sound like human speech at all. They generally will say words or phrases to themselves for a while before they attempt it to their human owners. It is a well-known in the bird community that teaching any bird to talk is MUCH easier and faster when another bird teaches them – in fact there are videos and CDC’s of parrots talking available to teach birds to speak human language. But if your bird suddenly started “talking up a storm’ it was because he already knew how, he just didn’t feel comfortable until your other birds started talking.

I hope this helps and best of luck with your flock. As I’ve said, I’ve kept parrotlets for more than 3 decades and they are amazing little parrots, for sure! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday and I wish you a very happy New Year!

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.