Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chronic Egg Laying

I thought I would share a bit more about chronic egg laying for those of you that don’t have birds. It is a serious problem with cockatiels and any bird that develops the habit (smaller parrots are more prone to it). I am sincerely hoping that by intervening now I can stop this cycle with DJ.

“The shell of an egg is made primarily of calcium. The calcium comes from calcium stores within the bird's body. The bones and muscles provide nearly all of the calcium required to shell an egg. The calcium that is lost in forming the shell needs to be replaced so the body can continue to function properly. Calcium is primarily needed for muscle contractions and building strong bones. In the case of chronic egg laying, calcium stores are depleted and the body is unable to function properly. The condition is known as hypocalcemia. The most common problem in egg laying females associated with hypocalcemia is egg binding. With calcium at a low level the uterine muscles are unable to contract and push the egg out. Hypocalcemia can also cause seizure-like activity and brittle bones, which can be easily fractured.”
Source: The Birdie Boutique

Egg binding is when ... “Lack of calcium and other nutrients, cause an egg with a soft shell that is larger than normal or abnormally shaped to be produced, The soft shell causes the egg top get trapped inside of the female’s body because the muscles in the ovary and cloaca cannot get a grip on it to push it out. Lack of calcium and other minerals also causes weaker muscles that are unable to contract properly to expel the egg. Chronic egg laying, which is usually correctable, depletes a bird’s body of calcium, leading to low blood calcium levels and the formation of soft shelled eggs.”
Source: Cockatiel Cottage

Egg binding is something that can often be treated successfully by your vet if caught early enough.

In my attempt to disrupt DJ’s life as much as possible I clipped her wings quite short (both my birds are/were fully flighted and Deej was a very aggressive flyer). I am moving the cage into the kitchen during the day (this is a room they RARELY go into). This morning I used some of the guinea pigs’ eco bedding as foraging material to cover their nutri-berries and Zupreem pellets. I also add a little dish of squash with seed sprinkled on top of it.

Today I will pick up some plain Tums and a second cage. Kathy and Dawn, I wish you were closer so I could take you up on the offer of a cage. I can’t believe I donated all my extra cages and didn’t keep a sick bird cage. Argh! Foolish.

To date I have been very lucky with my girls. Hopefully that luck will continue and I will be able to reverse this trend with the Deej.

Oh yeah….Ike had to skip agility class last night in order for DJ to make it to her vet appointment. He's not sure that was fair.


Kathy said...

I knew about eggs being stuck, but I just did not know birds developed chronic egg laying and it makes perfect sense how dangerous that could be, but gosh, I imagine that would really be hard to stop. I hope all the disruption will help her to break the cycle. Is that something that she will always be prone to?

Jules said...

I am not sure if it is something she will always be prone to or not. I hope not, but I will ask my vet at our follow-up visit. I think it might also depend on how vigilant I am in the future?

I know in really bad cases of chronic egg laying they sometimes do hormone injetions of Lupron (Lupron Depot belongs to a class of drugs called gonadotropin-releasing hormone [GnRH] agonists. It is used to decrease the human body’s production of specific hormones) to interrupt the cycle. And I have even read of hysterectomies being performed!