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My budgie is struggling to lay an egg. Can I help her?

Light blue budgie (type of parakeet) perched on two black piano keys.

This budgie likes minor chords. (Photo: Flickr/amyramoon)

My budgie is struggling to lay an egg. Can I help her?

February 05, 2013

Q: My budgie appears to be having great difficulty in trying to lay an egg, but has never had a mate. What should I do?

A: Female birds lay eggs without mating. The eggs are, of course, infertile but still can cause a lot of trouble. This is an emergency. A bird can die in just a few hours from this condition. You need to take her to a vet right away.

If you absolutely can't get to a vet now, there are a few things you can try, but success is iffy. If the egg is just inside the vent, you can put a little cooking oil or mineral oil in the vent. This won't do any good if the egg is further up. Do not try to break the egg or pull it out -- this can do even more harm.

Give her some water with a little sugar or maple syrup in it.

You can run a hot shower in your bathroom until the room is warm and humid (29 to 32C). Gently (so as not to accidentally break the egg) put her in a small box or cage and take her to the warm room. Watch her closely to make sure she doesn't overheat. Sometimes the warmth and humidity may help her pass the egg. Here is a site with detailed information on egg binding. It applies to all species, not just cockatiels.

Remember that these home remedies seldom work. They are just a last attempt to help if you absolutely cannot get to a vet. I urge you to see a vet immediately.

-- Answer from Anna N., a bird expert and biologist on JustAnswer

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