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Parrotlet Egg Laying - What to Expect

parrotlets eggsA Parrotlet hen will appear swollen in the vent area before eggs are laid. Another indication of impending egg laying is extremely large droppings. The average clutch will usually be four to seven eggs, although I've heard of up to 10 eggs being laid. The eggs will be laid every other day until the clutch is completed. The hen will not always sit tight until the second or third egg is laid. It's not unusual to see several clutches of clear eggs before fertile eggs are produced. A pair may go through several cycles before actually producing chicks.

Broken/Missing Eggs
Some inexperienced young pairs may destroy their eggs or chicks. If a squabble has taken place in the nestbox and an egg has broken, the hen may eat the broken egg in an attempt to keep the nestbox clean. If the eggs are being deliberately destroyed, replace the newly laid egg with a plastic egg. Once the birds realize the eggs can't be destroyed, the problem is usually solved. It is not uncommon for this to occur to young, inexperienced pairs. Often the problem will resolve itself and the next clutch will go smoothly.

Incubation
Some hens will sit tight after laying the first egg. In a large clutch this can cause a vast age difference between the oldest and youngest chicks. The incubation period for most Parrotlets is 18 to 19 days. The hen will spend all of her time in the nestbox coming out only to defecate. The male will feed her either in the nest box or at the entrance hole. Sometimes a male will even help incubate the eggs, although it is uncommon. If several eggs have been laid before the hen begins incubating, it is possible for several chicks to be hatched on the same day.

Multiple Clutches
Although most pairs will rest between clutches, a very determined pair will continue to lay clutch after clutch. It is these pairs that must have their nestboxes removed for a forced "vacation." A very determined pair will even attempt to nest in a food dish or on the wire grate of the cage. When this happens, the pair is moved to a different cage with new neighbors and an entirely different view. This generally results in breaking the breeding cycle.

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