You go to check on your parakeet and see that there is an egg, or even multiple eggs, inside the cage. Immediately, you’re probably scrambling, unsure of what to do next.
Maybe you had intended on getting a male, or had no idea, since your bird is the only one in the enclosure, that this was even possible.
When your parakeet lays an egg, you should prepare in the best way possible a comfortable, safe environment for your bird, even if the eggs are not fertile.
What to do if a parakeet lays eggs? If housed with other birds, isolate the nesting parakeet as soon as possible and provide a nesting box. Regardless of whether or not the eggs are fertile, leave them in place for approximately three weeks until the nesting cycle is complete, at which point the eggs should be disposed.
Knowing exactly how to handle the sudden appearance of eggs in your parakeet’s cage will boost your confidence and make you a better bird owner.
Egg laying is a completely natural process and is no need for concern in most cases.
Occasionally, things can go wrong, but if you’re armed with knowledge, you’ll know just what to look for and what steps to take.
Steps To Follow If Your Parakeet Starts Laying Eggs
1. Separate Your Parakeet From Other Birds
If your parakeet is in a cage with other birds, you will want to separate them.
This time is crucial and can be dangerous not only for your birds but also for you.
During egg laying, parakeets are not only hormonal but are very protective of their eggs.
So if they feel threatened, they will do anything to protect their eggs from what they perceive as danger.
2. Check the Eggs
Carefully clean your hands, grab a pair of gloves, and check the eggs for any cracks. If any eggs are damaged, replace them with fake eggs as soon as possible.
If your female was in contact with a male, check the eggs for fertilization with a flashlight (scroll down for more details).
If your hands are unclean when handling the eggs, it is likely that your bird will abandon the eggs right away since they no longer have her scent.
3. Prepare a Nest Box
Whether the eggs are fertile or not, set up a nesting box. This can either be homemade or purchased from your local pet store.
Some birds may be finicky and may even prefer a food dish over a special, designated space.
In addition, you may want to get some soft nesting material. This will help cushion the eggs and can help keep them safe.
Knowing that you are likely dealing with this issue right now, I thought it would be helpful to have an avian expert weigh in on nest boxes and materials.
I spoke with Jack from Fancy Feathers Bird Farm, and here’s his advice:
Unless there was a male with her recently and you would like babies, there’s really no need to provide a nest box.
You can add some shredded newspaper to the bottom of cage to make her comfortable when laying, but that’s all you really need to do.
4. Boost Nutrition
Be sure to give your bird adequate supplements as recommended by your vet.
Calcium is an important nutrient during egg laying. It does not stimulate the process but will help make it safer for your bird.
5. Leave the Eggs for 3 Weeks
Even if the eggs are not fertilized, allow your bird to sit on the eggs for up to three weeks.
This may seem strange, but once your parakeet sees that the eggs are not hatching, she will become bored and abandon them.
This occurrence also can lead to a diminished chance of her laying eggs in the future.
Removing eggs before the nesting cycle is complete is not usually recommended, since this can cause the bird to lay more eggs.
However, you may replace the eggs with fake ones if you like. You may find dummy eggs in your local pet store or on Amazon here.
Parakeet Nesting Behavior
What Triggers Parakeets To Lay Eggs?
Even if your parakeet is the only bird in its cage, there is a strong possibility that she may still lay eggs.
What some pet owners don’t realize is that even without a mate, there are other environmental factors that can trigger your female bird to lay eggs.
One of the most common causes is the photoperiod (time that the animal is exposed to light).
In the wild, springtime is the most common time for parakeets to lay eggs since the days become longer and the food supply is abundant.
In captivity, due to the lights in our home, a bird’s cycle can become out of sync with the seasons, causing egg laying to happen at any time.
Stimulation From Objects
There are also instances where other forms of stimulation can be involved.
Toys or other household objects, for example, can be seen as an “object of desire” to the bird.
Occasionally, birds can even be seen masturbating with their favorite play things.
In other instances, toys such as mirrors can stimulate the bird into thinking that there are other birds in her environment, which can lead to mating behaviors.
A comfortable environment is another factor in the egg laying process.
If the bird encounters any stress, such as poor housing, big changes, etc., this will slow down or even stop the biological process.
Parakeets can even be stimulated by the vocalization of other birds in the home.
Lastly, human interaction, such as gently petting the bird, can also cause egg laying behavior.
So if you don’t want your bird to lay eggs anytime soon, you will need to use caution with the bird’s physiology.
Parakeet Egg Laying Signs
1. Courtship Behavior
One way to tell if your parakeet will be laying eggs soon is an act called courtship behavior.
During this period, your bird may be more vocal than usual. They may even strut with their feathers fluffed out (learn additional causes of this behavior in this article).
Other bodily behaviors include putting up their neck feathers and wildly flashing their eyes.
In the wild, this ritual would draw a mate’s attention. When in captivity, the bird is simply following their biological instinct to mate.
2. Constructing a Nest
Your bird will likely prepare a nest before laying any eggs. This is a guarantee that eggs will soon appear.
Parakeets do tend to keep their eggs in dark areas, so they may begin to dig up the newspaper at the bottom of their cage, burrow into fabrics, etc., to create the ideal place to lay their eggs.
In addition, they are very particular about their nests and their surroundings.
You may notice that your bird may start to chew on things. This is a way of defending their nest. Though this may be obnoxious, keep in mind that this is only temporary.
Regurgitation of food can occur when a bird is ready to mate, and will become more frequent if reproductively stimulated.
This behavior mimics what the parakeet and other birds do with their young. By doing this, it not only signals the readiness to lay their eggs but the ability to take care of their offspring.
Can Parakeets Lay Eggs Without Mating?
The answer to this is yes! Though this may seem impossible, when it comes to most birds, egg laying is not something they consciously choose to do.
The act of egg laying is simply a biological choice.
For example, in the wild, birds face the choice between self-maintenance and reproduction.
This is because of the energy that is required in the act of mating, reproducing, and caring for the young.
In captivity, this trade is still relatively present, but even in the best care, their resources are limited.
Because of this, the parakeet will have to make the decision of either self-maintenance or to reproduce.
The act of laying eggs can also be seen as similar to a human woman ovulating, except instead of the eggs remaining inside, birds expel their eggs from their bodies.
How Often Will a Parakeet Lay Eggs?
There is no set number of times your parakeet can lay eggs, but there are ways that you can help control it.
Just be sure that your bird is not laying too often since this can be dangerous to their health.
In nature, especially when there is an abundance of food, it is most common for a bird to lay eggs during the spring seasons.
Limiting your bird’s exposure to light, excessive stimulation, and other birds and toys that can cause the bird to begin nesting can reduce the likelihood of egg laying.
How Many Eggs Will a Parakeet Lay?
When parakeets lay eggs the completed group of eggs is called a clutch. Each clutch has a total of four to six eggs.
Normally, parakeets will not lay all of their eggs at once. The entire process from start to finish can take up to two weeks.
They will typically lay one egg every few days until the clutch is complete.
This can be a taxing process for your bird, which is why proper nutrition and supplements are very important.
Where Eggs Are Usually Found
Egg laying in pet parakeets is often unexpected as these birds are commonly incorrectly sexed.
Wooden nest boxes are the best home for your bird’s eggs, and should you suspect that laying is imminent, one should be provided right away.
If a nest box is not provided, the eggs usually can be found in the bottom of the cage, in quiet and dark areas around your home, or even in your parakeet’s food dish.
This is why it is crucial for the eggs to be found and moved as soon as possible.
Parakeet Incubation Time
Depending on the bird and when the eggs are laid, the incubation period can be anywhere from 17 to 20 days.
If this time frame is slightly different for your bird, there is no need to be concerned.
Will a Parakeet Sit on Unfertilized Eggs?
This really depends on your bird.
Some are extremely invested and will sit on the eggs until they become bored or realize the eggs are not going to hatch and choose to abort the mission.
Others may abandon or reject the infertile eggs right from the start and want nothing to do with them.
Do Male Parakeets Sit on Eggs?
If there is a male companion in the cage, he will rarely sits on the eggs. Usually, he will be by the female’s side, feeding her, watching over her, or taking care of her.
The female commonly sits on her eggs at all times until they hatch. If infertile, she will either reject them or sit on them until she gets bored.
Egg binding happens when egg-laying animals are unable to fully expel an egg from their bodies.
There are various reasons that this can occur, but it is important to catch the early signs of this before things turn fatal.
Initially, the symptoms are nonspecific. The bird may seem lethargic, or won’t eat if offered food.
Occasionally, the bird may seem winded and may have a disheveled appearance.
Eventually, if untreated, the bird will become so exhausted that she is unable to stand. At this point, this is usually a life-threatening condition.
Egg binding is commonly caused by nutritional deficiencies.
It is extremely important that your bird gets a well-balanced diet that contains many vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, vitamins D and E, and selenium.
Any bird can become egg-bound, but it is most common in small birds, such as parakeets, budgies, and cockatiels (we have a ton of cockatiel info here).
Chronic Egg Laying
If your bird lays too many eggs, this can also be dangerous.
The more eggs your parakeet lays, the more the likelihood of egg binding, calcium depletion, and weakness increases.
Over time, this can lead to brittle bones and even seizures. When not properly treated or prevented, this can also be extremely detrimental to your bird’s overall health.
How To Discourage Egg Laying in Parakeets
1. Move the bird’s cage to a different area of your home. Taking your bird out of its element can signal to your bird that it may not be the best time to lay eggs.
2. Try rearranging your bird’s cage. Move around some of the toys, perches, and dishes. Even the slightest changes can send the message that it’s not time to lay eggs.
3. Remove any objects associated with “nesting.” Cardboard, newspaper, and other objects being taken out of the cage can help limit the likelihood of egg laying. If a food bowl was used as a nest, try changing up the size of the dish.
4. Limit anything that your bird sees as a mate or “desired object.”
5. Be cautious with human interaction, such as kissing, petting, or sharing food. If there is no perceived mate, this can help prevent chronic egg laying.
6. If your bird spends a lot of time outside the cage, be sure to limit any places of potential nesting, such as closets, cabinets, and drawers.
7. Alter your bird’s light/dark schedule. By keeping them quiet and covered for 12 hours a night, you will create the sense that it is not springtime, and thus, it is not time to make babies.
8. Limit your bird’s exposure to direct sunlight. Obviously, don’t constantly keep your bird in a dark room, but try to limit their time by the windows. Instead, try keeping them near artificially lit areas during the day.
Can a Parakeet Die From Laying Eggs?
A parakeet usually will not die simply from just laying eggs.
Over time, if your bird is laying eggs too often, they can become weak from nutritional deficits, which can lead to the increased chance of egg binding.
If the parakeet is suffering from this, they will get weaker and weaker until eventually this illness becomes life threatening.
If your bird is egg bound and not properly treated, it can pass away.
How Do You Know If a Parakeet’s Eggs Are Fertilized?
Take the eggs and a flashlight into a dark room. Working one at a time, hold the light either under or behind the egg, close enough so that you can see through it.
If the egg is fertile, you should be able to see red veins inside. If far enough into development, you may be able to see the outline of the baby bird.
What To Do With Unwanted Budgie Eggs?
When removing parakeet eggs, carefully place them into a zip-top bag before placing them in the trash. Doing this helps avoid any noticeable smells.
Alternatively, you could drop the eggs into your sink’s garbage disposal, and thoroughly flush with plenty of water after running the unit.
There is no need to panic when your parakeet lays an egg. The best thing to do is to keep your bird comfortable, safe, and healthy during this exhausting time.
Be sure to be aware of all signs of health complications, and get your bird to a vet if any of these occur.
Lastly, just remember that egg laying is purely biological.
Your bird is not doing this because they made the decision to; their bodies are simply going through hormonal cycles, and the process is only temporary.