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Old 05-30-2002, 06:24 PM
Chris Luongo Chris Luongo is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Malden, Massachusetts
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My sister's lovebirds lay eggs that never hatch; what is wrong?

My sister and my four-year-old niece have two birds in a cage, which they call lovebirds; I'm not sure if that's what they really are or not. At any rate, they're bright yellow and about four inches tall.

One of them lays eggs all the time. My sister put newspaper and other nest-making material in the cage, but the birds don't make use of it.

One of the birds will sit on the eggs for brief periods, but not all the time.

Maybe both birds are female? How would we tell?

If this makes any difference: The cage sits atop a table, and sometimes the cats sit beside the cage, which maybe gets the birds nervous. Also, my niece recently moved all the eggs into a small bown in the cage.
Old 05-30-2002, 06:59 PM
Ruffian Ruffian is offline
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Location: Southern CA
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bright yellow and about four inches tall
The size sounds about right. They could be lutino coloration. Not that that matters much or answers your OP.

Anywho, a little of Achem's (dammit, I can't find the correct spelling of that) razor seems appropos: the most logical answer is likely the correct one. The eggs are sterile, and thus don't hatch. If you are unsure the sex of the birds, it is completely possible that they're both females and, like many egg-laying species (bird and otherwise), still lay eggs on a regular basis--with or without fertilization.

I had a fish, a solitary red fin borlei female, that would lay sterile eggs and hold them in her mouth as if they were her own brood (she was of the mouth brooding type--keeping eggs and young in their mouth until free swimming). After a while, she'd give up and spit them out--just as these lovebirds would incubate the eggs for a little while before giving it up.

Do the birds ever engage in courtship behaviors? Have you ever seen one of them try to mount the other?
Old 05-30-2002, 07:43 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is online now
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Location: NW Indiana
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FYI - it's "Occam's Razor"

I've had lovebirds (they even reproduced!). The size, indeed, sounds right. Now, there are several possibilities:

1) You got two girls. Lovebird hens normally lay 2-4 eggs in a clutch. If you're getting more than that you likely have two girls.

2) The cats, and openness of the cage area, is making the birds too nervous to brood successfully.

3) Lovebirds needs nestboxes. I found shoeboxes and empty kleenex boxes handy for this - about the right size, and disposable after a lovebird family is done using it (trust me, you'll want to throw it out.)

4) You got a male and a female, but they are sterile. Infertility occurs in all species. Sad, but true.
Old 05-30-2002, 08:14 PM
Ruffian Ruffian is offline
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Location: Southern CA
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FYI - it's "Occam's Razor"
Well, of course it is. Feeling dumb, but at least less ignorant, now.
Old 06-03-2002, 10:48 PM
Scarlett67 Scarlett67 is offline
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Location: The Middle of Nowhere, WI
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We once had a lovebird that laid eggs constantly. She even had what we called "egg song" -- an intermittent chirp that she seemed to be directing at her eggs. We simply removed tham after a while, and then she'd lay more. She became eggbound once -- $25 at the vet to remove it. We're not sure, but we think that another stuck egg was what killed her -- Mr. S found broken bits of eggshell in her cage.

So yeah, probably either two females or sterile.
Old 06-04-2002, 12:05 AM
Lyllyan Lyllyan is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,530
I am afraid I will have to concur. It sounds like you have two females. Other than DNA testing, which is quite costly, there is not a definite way to safely sex the birds.

See this article...

There is also a lovely picture, so you can see if you have "Lovebirds" or something else. (not that it really matters.)

Other than that, the cage may be too small, proper nesting material and boxes have not been provided, female(s) may be too young and doesn't quite know what to do as yet and lastly, the cats are stressing them out.
Old 06-04-2002, 01:38 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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I've heard a cat will likely attack, or at least play-stalk, a pet bird if the cage is in reach, and especially if you're not there. What's more, my indoor cats frequently engage in prowling/hunting behavior when they see birds outside, even though they can't reach them. They'll sneak up to the window and crouch for a spring, move their heads from side to side, so as to judge the distance better, and make little mewping noises. Anything like that would definitely put your birds on edge.


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