Cockatiel Hens Lay Eggs Even Without Fertilization

I have a friend that said birds do not ever lay eggs unless they have been fertilized by a male. But I told her that birds often lay eggs without a male bird on the premises. She said that was not true. So, I decided to write about how cockatiel hens lay eggs, even without fertilization.

To understand egg laying, we need to understand the hormonal cycle of a cockatiel hen.

There are countless single pet cockatiel hens that begin laying eggs without a nest box or even a suitable mate. A bird that is very bonded to it’s owner might consider her human friend as a suitable mate.

Cockatiels are indeterminate layers, meaning they will often continue laying eggs until their clutch is completed. This means that if you remove the hen’s eggs right after she has laid them, her hormones tell her to keep laying eggs until she has a clutch underneath her.

The hen will begin to experience a surge in her female hormones based on a number of conditions. These conditions range from abundance of food and water, the availability of a nesting site, the presence of other breeding pairs in the vicinity and a suitable mate (who can be you). Increased daylight, dark corners of the cage, dark corners under the bed or in the room may also begin the hormonal cycle.

It is instinctive behavior for the hen to hold back her droppings for longer periods of time while sitting on her nest. When she gets off of her nest, she will have a larger than normal amount of droppings which are a mixture of feces, urine and urates mixed together. This will give the appearance of diarrhea, but is normal for the hen after she has been holding her droppings in her cloaca while sitting on her nest.

Once the hormones begin their cycle, a number of events will occur. The pelvic floor muscles of the hen starts loosening up to facilitate the passage of an egg. The pelvic bones also become somewhat looser. The pelvic bones of a reproductively active hen can feel a bit farther apart with a little “give” to them. When the hen is not actively cycling, everything tightens up.

During the hormonal cycle of the cockatiel hen, she begins to drink more water because the process of developing an egg requires allot of water that forms the albumen or egg white.

She will then seek for a nesting site which could include a deep food dish or a sleeping hut where she will stay most of the time preparing for the eggs she will lay.

She may become obsessively territorial about her nest. Instead of being her normal friendly self, she might hiss and lash out at anyone that comes close to her nest. This behaviour is caused by your precious friend’s hormonal cycle to protect her nest.

Egg laying in cockatiel hens uses a large amount of calcium which is drawn from the bones to help strengthen the egg shell during formation.

To stop this hormonal cycle from occurring, try decreasing the amount of daylight for your friend. Move the bird cage to a different setting, rearrange the toys or add toys to distract your hen. Try some new foods and dietary changes, for this can help her hormonal cycle decrease as well.

A trip to the avian veterinarian is highly recommended to reassure the safety of your beloved cockatiel hen.

But, not every hen that is cycling lays eggs. In some cases the egg yolk is harmlessly reabsorbed prior to ovulation. The yolk can end up loose in the coelom (body cavity). It is called internal laying when the yolk is released into the coelom instead of the oviduct.

Rarely, the yolk is absorbed into the bloodstream which can result in yolk stroke, a dangerous and life threatening situation.

It is very important that you get your hen checked regularly at your local avian specialist. Hormonal treatments can be used to stop the cycling of your precious cockatiel hen.

The Echidna is an Egg Laying Mammal

The two species of Echidna are two of only three egg laying mammals known. The egg laying mammals are members of the Monotremes, an order of mammals different from either the placentals or the marsupials.

The Echidna is Australia’s most successful mammal.

Echidna fossils indicate that this animal was around 120 million years ago. This is a long time. Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils indicate that this animal originated about 68 million years ago. That is, the Echidna developed about 52 million years before the Tyrannosaurus. The Echidna then survived whatever killed the dinosaurs and has lived another 65 million years since.

This does not imply that the Echidna has not evolved in this time, but suggests that it has been a successful basic shape through vastly changing conditions. Echidnas live up to 45 years. They can breed at about 6 years old. Studies on Kangaroo Island suggest that they only breed every three to seven years, so the Echidna is not a prolific breeder.

Breeding

The shape of the Echidna makes the usual mammal mating position impossible. The female lays down a scent trail and each male that finds it follows the female. There can be as many as ten males following the female. When she is finally ready to mate, she digs the front part of her body into the ground. All the males try to dig under her. If there is more than one male this results in a doe nut shaped hole. The males try to push each other out of the hole, pushing nose to nose. When only one is left, he will have dug slightly under the female and he turns on his side and puts his cloaca into contact with the female’s cloaca. The male can then extend his four headed penis and complete the mating. The mating is not completely face to face, but is more like this position than the usual mammal mating position.

If only one male is present, the hole for mating will be a straight trench.

The female lays her egg about 22 weeks after mating. It is not known definitely how the female gets the egg into its pouch, but it seems most likely that the female bends enough to lay directly into its pouch. The pouch of the Echidna is just an arrangement of skin folds. The male has a “Pouch” as well, and it is difficult to determine the sex of an Echidna.

A baby Echidna is called a Puggle. The Puggle may only weigh about 3 grams (a tenth of an ounce) straight after hatching but can increase to 180 grams (6 ounces) after 60 days.

Bringing Up the Puggle

The baby Echidna lives in its mother’s pouch for about seven weeks, feeding on the milk from the two milk patches in the pouch and growing very fast. When the Puggle’s spines start to harden the mother Echidna transfers the Puggle to a nursery burrow. She returns every five to ten days to feed her Puggle. After about five months the mother stops going back and the young Echidna is by itself. The Echidna is unusual among the mammals in not appearing to instruct its young.

Food

The Echidna’s main food is termites. This insect is very common and widespread in Australia. Echidnas will also eat ants and other invertebrates including worms and grubs.

Predators

There were not many native predators of the echidna. Wedge-tailed Eagles will sometimes eat an Echidna, and Goannas can eat the Puggles while they are in the nursery burrow.

However there are several introduced predators of the Echidna. The first one was the Dingo. This was a domestic dog brought in by the aboriginal people of Australia many thousand years ago and went wild. More recently there have been other dogs, but worse than these are the cats and foxes. Some of these introduced predators have learned techniques for dealing with this prickly animal.

Echidnas are very fast diggers and on soft ground will escape their predators by digging. On hard ground the Echidna will roll up into a ball, wait and hope the predator will go away. The spines of the Echidna are not as fearsome as those of the porcupine, but still quite sharp. Humans should not handle an Echidna without suitable protection or knowledge. Puncture wounds from the spines can get infected. Also, Echidnas should not be relocated without good reason. The animal could be a female that is feeding a Puggle in a nursery burrow. Moving the adult to another area could result in the death by slow starvation of the baby.

As well as this, the mother may try to get back to its baby and be killed on the road.

Habitat

Echidnas live in a very wide variety of places such as the dry interior of Australia, the tropical rain forests and even the cities. The basic requirement of Echidnas is termites.

Fire

In Australia there are sometimes devastating bush fires that kill thousands of animals. The Echidna cannot run fast. When there is a fire they usually only succeed in getting about a metre (3 feet), but they do this in the right direction. They dig straight down and usually survive even a very bad fire.

Brain

The Echidna’s brain’s prefrontal lobe is larger in relation to the animal’s size than any other animal, including human beings.

Types of Echidna.

There are two species of Echidna: the Short Beaked Echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus which lives in Australia including Tasmania, and in the New Guinea lowlands, and the Long Beaked Echidna, Zaglossus bruijnithat lives in the New Guinea highlands.

There are five sub species of Short Beaked Echidna including the Tasmanian sub species which is bigger than the mainland ones and has fur longer than its spines.

Cockatiel – How Can I Stop My Bird From Laying Eggs?

One of the biggest problems that Cockatiel owners experience with their bird is having their female lay eggs. It is perfectly natural for females to lay eggs at least twice per year even without a male present. The biological need to lay very powerful and indeed, overpowering for some birds. So much so, that they will lay clutch after clutch without a break. Make sure that your bird receives plenty of fresh foods and calcium rich food during this time.

When considering the factors that set your birds biological egg laying clock in motion, you need to look at what their body chemistry tells them. From Mother Nature’s point of view, the best time to breed is in spring and fall when water and food are plentiful, weather is warm, and daylight hours are long. When all of these conditions are aligned and a place is found to nest, the mating and egg laying ritual begins.

Now consider the average home cage. There is a plentiful supply of food and water, the house is always a comfortable temperature, and the days are long thanks to light bulbs. With all that comfort it makes you wonder “Why Not?” instead of “Why?”

So what can you do short of starving your bird and running the air conditioner? Let’s make a list.

  • Remove any huts, or objects large enough to act as a nest or shelter.
  • Remove any mirrors as they can fall in love with their own reflection and bring on mating.
  • Shorten the number of hours of daylight to 10 or less. Cover or move the cage if needed.
  • Change items around inside the cage.
  • Put new toys in and take toys out if available..
  • Move the cage to a new location.
  • Keep the bird occupied during the day. The less time the bird is bored, the less likely it will lay eggs or exhibit mating behavior.

In general you want to make changes to your birds’ environment so that the comfort level that sets egg laying in motion is disrupted.