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Cockatiel Breeding Do you want to learn about breeding cockatiels? Ask questions and share advice here.

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  #1  
Old 04-15-2017, 09:51 AM
cherilyn.love cherilyn.love is offline
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Default Pitted Eggs second year in a row

My girl Ellie who is 2 this year has had malformed eggs every time she's laid. The eggs are pitted on the air sack end of the egg. It kind of looks like someone took a needle and chiseled out small chunks. Last year these eggs failed with DIS.
This year i checked their box and there was 2 eggs. Again, both pitted. The next day she laid another and there is no pitting but there are swirl marks. The only thing I can think of is a calcium deficiency. My other girl Baby laid her first egg this week and then another. Her first was oversized but a solid good egg, the next was of regular size and also solid.
My aviary has chickweed and fallen bird seed growing on the floor which they happily graze, there is sunlight and shaded areas, I have a misting system which I turn on every other day, cuttle bone placed in various spots, plenty of food and water, and a vitamin supplement in their water. So why is Ellie having problems producing proper eggs??
My next question is can I fix her pitted eggs or should I remove them?
Also, Ellie and Baby's eggs are being fathered by the same father, Ash. He comes off one next when the female comes back, eats and then takes over the other nest. I don't think he's the father of Baby's eggs (she's quite promiscuous). Will this cause problems for him when all the eggs hatch?
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  #2  
Old 04-15-2017, 10:29 AM
Amatiq Amatiq is offline
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You don't say what their regular diet is. Chickweed does not really have high calcium value, so they are getting calcium from the diet and the cuttlebone alone, and cuttlebone isn't the best source either.
the other factor you have to consider, nutrition-wise, is vitamin D, so that they can utilize the calcium.
The swirling is almost certainly a sign of calcium problems.
There are some really good lists available that show plants with lots of calcium, as well as show the ratio of minerals that affect the availability of the calcium in the green.
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Old 04-15-2017, 12:29 PM
cherilyn.love cherilyn.love is offline
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Okay I see. I never had an issue with my current set up so I never doubted my practice. I will try adding different greens into the mix and see if there is any change next breeding season. I still don't understand why one female lays perfectly sound eggs while another doesn't. I don't want to pull the eggs if she does have a calcium deficiency because she'll lay more but if the eggs hatch then there is a high possibility of the chicks having issues
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Old 04-15-2017, 01:34 PM
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These birds are in an outdoor aviary so they should be getting enough sunlight to make their own vitamin D.

Greens in general are not a great source of calcium. They contain calcium of course, but they also contain a lot of antinutrients that interfere with the absorption of this calcium. That's just the nature of plant foods.

Cuttlebone is a good source of calcium, as long as the bird actually eats it. It's mostly calcium carbonate, which is digested and absorbed pretty easily. You might want to consider making some mineral grit available too. I know the internet says grit is evil but I think this is wrong. It's part of the wild diet of cockatiels, so nature has obviously equipped them to deal with it.

Hens are supposed to crave calcium when they need it (it's called a specific appetite) but I'm not convinced that all of them have gotten the memo. Maybe this hen isn't eating enough calcium, or maybe she just needs more than most hens do. Every bird is an individual and some of them don't follow the rules.

There are calcium supplements for birds that you can buy and mix with the water or food, like this one: http://www.morningbirdproducts.com/p...lciumplus.html You have to be cautious with calcium supplements however, because it's possible to overdose. Too much calcium is as bad as too little.
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Old 04-15-2017, 02:52 PM
cherilyn.love cherilyn.love is offline
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She carves at the cuttle bone quite often and even when she isn't in season. Is it possible that this is a genetic problem? She is the smallest of all my females. Her sister from the same clutch is almost twice her size. I haven't tried grit. I know from previous research that it's to aid in grinding food in their crop but didn't know that it contained any minerals.
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Old 04-15-2017, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cherilyn.love View Post
She carves at the cuttle bone quite often and even when she isn't in season. Is it possible that this is a genetic problem? She is the smallest of all my females. Her sister from the same clutch is almost twice her size. I haven't tried grit. I know from previous research that it's to aid in grinding food in their crop but didn't know that it contained any minerals.
Try oyster shell grit, it is ground up oyster shells, 100% digestible and a good source of calcium.
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Old 04-15-2017, 05:48 PM
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There are two types of grit: soluble and insoluble. As the name suggests, soluble grit will dissolve in the digestive tract and insoluble grit won't. Soluble grit is a good source of minerals, and insoluble grit helps with grinding up food. Materials like oyster shell and limestone are soluble. Materials like granite and quartz are not.

If she's very small compared to her siblings, it's possible that something is not quite right with her physically, and it's affecting the quality of her eggs. You might want to try and prevent her from laying eggs, to protect her health and also the health of her babies.
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Old 04-15-2017, 07:39 PM
cherilyn.love cherilyn.love is offline
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Just candles the eggs and all 3 are growing. She laid the first egg on the 7th and then 2 more after. I do hope they make it. It's hard to prevent her from laying. Last year I was late putting in nest boxes for spring and she laid in the food dish. Of course that egg didn't make it. I found it on the ground the next day when I went in to put in their boxes. I will however get some oyster grit and feed a better variety of veggies to see if this will help.
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