Dear Phoebe, We have actually a 17-year-old woman dusky top conure, Pickle, whom us love an extremely much. She has constantly been a very “interactive” bird, desire the firm of me (female) and also my companion (male). She likewise has enjoyed spending some time within her “precious.” i m sorry is a chest of drawers. However, she behavior adjusted radically around a month ago. She has started spending almost all she time within the chest of drawers, exhibiting nesting actions by producing “nests” the end of shredded clothes. She come out only to eat, drink and go potty. Also weirder, she freshly switched her preferred drawer. Once I take she out, she leans toward the bedroom and also tries to make a dash for her drawer. Mine avian vet checked and said Pickle is not transferring an egg. And also my companion (her “mate”?) has actually been the end of city for a week, but Pickle’s actions hasn’t changed. Ns don’t desire to anxiety or traumatize her. She does sleep in her cage in ~ night. I am really concerned the Pickle will certainly be “stuck” in her nesting behavior and not come out of it.

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Your expert advice would be substantially appreciated. I have actually been a WPT member for rather a couple of years, but I never ever knew about this asking an professional feature.Thank you. Arlene


Hi Arlene, many thanks for writing WPT and welcome to our "Ask the Expert" feature. I'm delighted to read around your loving concern for Pickle, a mature very interactive woman dusky-headed conure, Aratinga weddellii, and glad that she saw the vet. Ns presume the she is healthy in every regard. Also, some eggs room palpable just right prior to they space laid, so Pickle might still have one or more eggs in process.

All of Pickle’s time within “precious” is, indeed, precious to her due to the fact that it offers her the opportunity to behave choose a biologically real parrot. Now that the work are gaining longer, her efforts will without doubt increase. It's not also weird that she adjusted her choice from one drawer to another. Based on observations that the wild Amazon of Santa Barbara (, we see religiously job-related a certain nest site only to abandon it for another. Maybe a disturbance encouraged Pickle to relocate -- probably you “cleaned out” the an initial drawer --- or maybe Pickle was ready for other new.

Either way, it's not inexplicable for a fixed-up site to be abandoned and sometimes the ends the laying right then. Various other times, a new site is selected and also a brand-new remodel begins. We usage this abandon-one-site and select-another-site propensity to divert companions from laying or to slow-moving down extreme laying.

At 17, Pickle is definitely biologically mature, yet like countless mature psittacines, she has not yet laid eggs. However, v time and accessibility to a viable nest, it's not surprising the she's exhibiting what we humans contact "nesting behaviors." might contact these “shredding fun stuff in a cozy places” behaviors because not every who develop nests finish up laying eggs. They just like making places.

For instance, ours flock comprises two proven pair of afri Grey (Psittacus erithacus). They are retired, therefore they no longer develop or incubate eggs or raise chicks, processes that formerly took up most of their time. In retirement, they've discovered brand-new hobbies and also because they have actually ground in which come dig, and neighbors who perform the same, the two pairs dig and dig and dig every day. They likewise shred pine, deforest millet, destroy banana bark and pulverize noodle rope toys. Every day, they make sophisticated soups, and also every night they practice solos, duets and quartets. They make large messes, talk about everything a lot, have sex whenever castle feel prefer it, feed each other and, after a complete day, snuggle on perches the afford them ease and privacy. The removed of their swarm boxes disallowed eggs and parenting behaviors, but alternative behaviors are significantly increased.

A great way to focus Pickle's attention towards non-reproductive place-making would certainly be to offer her a selection of locations to explore and various substrates to pulverize. If you don't desire her to go all the way through laying, you might be able to non-stressfully change the atmosphere in ways that she worths so that egg-laying i do not care ho-hum contrasted with what's new. However, it might likewise be as well late in her cycle this time roughly for this level that diversion, for this reason we'll talk about what to execute if she lays, below. In the meantime, think about making some future places for Pickle that are conducive come shredding and privacy, however not have to laying.

Additionally, not all that lay egg incubate them. Pickle might lay a nice small clutch only to be done v it. In every cases, her companionship through her need not readjust except come deepen. favor Cella, (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri) look for a nest, make it nice, place eggs and incubate them but give increase the eggs when don't hatch. Pickle could do the same. Therefore, an aspect of “wait and see” accompanies this brand-new phase of Pickle's behaviors and also your reaction to them.

Generally, psittacine hen lay eggs at 24 hour intervals till their clutch is complete. Conures lay between 2 -- 5 eggs per clutch, periodically more. Incubation starts when the last egg is laid and for conures occurs over 21-23 days. (Clinical Avian Medicine and also Surgery, Harrison and Harrison, postposition 5 through K. Flammer, pg 663.)

Another consideration is Pickle's in its entirety athleticism. Please be sure Pickle on regular basis exercises since we understand that who room in great shape are far better equipped to lay eggs 보다 over-weight, under-nourished or sedentary birds. Therefore, when she's not nesting, encourage Pickle to fly if she's flighted. Or come flap, climb, run and walk if she's no flighted. I bet she's happy to operation to precious, for instance.

Regardless of whether or no Pickle lays, your connection with she can and also should proceed to grow and also deepen. In fact, currently that she's presented you her brand-new talent for place-making, you can acquire creative. That's what Cella and also I have actually discovered.

Cella, discussed above, is 24 and incubates 2-3 clutches a year. As soon as she's incubating she eggs, ns ask her to fly or run back to her nest due to the fact that other than digging and shredding, she doesn't get much exercise during egg time. When she's no nesting, she exercises much more which us both enjoy. Her privacy box is a cardboard crate fashioned to her liking and also suspended in her big macaw-sized cage; she incubates every clutch, during which she completely attends the eggs, cooing and also clucking v absorptive attention. After around 32 days, she leaves the box and ignores the eggs, so I eliminate all in order to offer Cella a break from nesting, which lasts a couple of months, and all is well.

During the break, Cella exercises, takes too many showers, chews up stalks and also stalks the millet and is in every means a delight. Till it's time to perform the place-making again. When the break is over and she wants another box, Cella beginning pacing within her cage. External it, she intently seeks out any kind of dark ar in which come scratch and also hide. She's been known to scurry and freeze deep inside the pantry, operation out of reach behind cabinets and also hide silently under the dishwasher.

As quickly as Cella gets a brand-new parrot-appropriate crate -- even if she cannot immediately get within it -- she stop pacing and hiding and becomes will on place-making. As soon as I say the box is fashioned come Cella's liking, that's partly true because some of the box is fashioned come ensure her health and safety. Since Pickle and also Cella perform not obtain to endure feeding and also caring for chicks, i m sorry takes 10 - 12 weeks, they might cycle prior to their calcium and also other provides adequately replenish. Too plenty of eggs can diminish them. So, if Cella starts signaling the she wants a crate too shortly after finishing the last clutch, or by the year's 3rd clutch, ns make a box that obstacles her. It can have a yes, really teensy entry hole (1/2") v which she'll peer prior to she chews it large enough because that entry. Plus when she provides the hole, she finds the box stuffed with products that should be shredded and excavated. Then again, just as in the wild, part disturbance could occur through that site (think huge storm, high winds) that necessitates Cella beginning again with one more -- imagine this -- even much better site.

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If you want Pickle to continue in the dresser, you deserve to make that website more challenging for her to accessibility and more an innovative once she gets there. For instance, will she rise a ladder to gain to precious or go through a parrot-friendly agility course? The an ext action-packed, the much more Pickle-appropriate materials that surround this collection of events, the more an innovative your common flock atmosphere becomes. That course, if she lays and also incubates, the flock will ensure she has actually a serene and stable environment with lot of of i m crying attention. Until, that is, she's all set for other new.