Originally Posted by ArizonaBear
My G/F has about a 6 YO Quaker Parrot (never around a male that I am aware of); this female has laid about eight (8) eggs in the space of 3 months. Being that the eggs are sterile; they are removed whereupon the bird drops another.
What concerns me is this bird has never laid more than three (3) eggs in one year previously.
My first suggestion is not to remove the eggs. This stimulates her to continue laying to replace the lost eggs. Let her lay her clutch and sit on them. After several weeks she will tire of this activity, especially when no babies begin hatching, and you can safely remove and dispose of the infertile eggs then.
My second suggestion is to reduce the amount of light she gets in her cage. Is there a full-spectrum type of lighting in the room such as a fluorescent fixture? Or large windows that let in sunlight during the longest and hottest part of the day? If so, this could be a major contributor to the egg laying. Try keeping a shade over the windows or keeping the shade only partially open, to cut back on full light exposure. By limiting light exposure to less than 10 hours a day you will replicate the shortening of days which comes with autumn. If you are able, move her around to other lit spots during the day, away from her cage (nest), so she finds other things to do and is not so focused all day long on her hormonal urges.
In many cases these are enough to break the egg laying cycle.
In the meanwhile, avoid stroking her beak, feet, back and behind, since these are mating signals. Also, do not allow her to "nest" in dark spots like behind pillows, in shirts, in drawers, bookcases, in closets etc. Lastly, change the inside of the cage around; change toys, perches, swap food and water bowls, etc. These things are subliminal messages that it is not a "safe" nest.
An average clutch size for Quakers is four to eight eggs and a second clutch is usually started when the first is about 4 weeks old. There are health issues which can arise from egg laying , even when that laying is not considered excessive.
Loss of calcium and other much needed nutrients can lead to osteoporosis, or brittle bones. Another problem is starvation. Even though she is eating, if the food is not high enough in protein and fat and other needed nutrients, she can effectively starve to death. Her metabolism is on high when she is producing eggs. This is a very intricate body function that takes a lot of energy and nutrients to manufacture eggs.
Another potentially dangerous aspect of egg laying, in addition to the depletion of nutrition, is the increased chance of egg-binding. The hen may not be able to pass an egg for various reasons. Low humidity, being too young or having laid too many eggs causing scar tissue to form in the egg tract, or being too weak from laying too many eggs in too short a time are just a few. This is a life- threatening problem and if you do not know what to look for, or what to do to help, your hen could die before you even realize there is a problem. Egg binding is an extreme example of what could happen, but the dangers are very real and need to be considered seriously.
Please do consider supplementing your hen's diet with calcium at the very least.