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Parrots/Greencheek conure


I have a pair of GCC. The hen is 11 mo old and the male is 3 years old. I have bred GCC for 10 years but have never seen this visible display. The hen, which is now in breeding form, appears to be swollen with an egg about to pop out. i don't ever recall any other females looking so swollen. They are working the box but it has been 4-5 days Ive seen her in this condition. She is behaving normally. Is this a sign of being egg bound? Ive never dealt with that before.


-- "swollen" is not normal for a layer and you may, indeed, be seeing egg binding or worse.

If a female, egg binding is when an egg doesn’t exit the  bird. Dystocia is the obstruction of oviposition or cloacal function because of the egg in the distal oviduct.   Not all instances of egg binding will be obvious or able to be felt.  If an egg is further up, deformed or stunted, chances are that only an X-ray will confirm the presence.
If you even suspect that your hen (female bird) is egg-bound, getting her to a doctor who is experienced with birds, preferably an avian specialist, is necessary right now.  You cannot delay.  
In the meantime, making sure she gets some plain water with an eyedropper just inside the beak, a drop or two at a time (slowly, not forcefully) may be helpful in keeping the bird alive until medical intervention.
You can try swabbing her vent area with a bit of KY jelly or other lubricant (not Vaseline) – even regular cooking oil is ok in a pinch.
Set her in a shallow pan of warm water (not hot) – this might relax the muscles enough to pass the egg.
Bringing her into a hot, steamy bathroom while trying to keep her calm and going through the shallow, warm water bath and vent massage - while finding a vet to see her urgently is another option.
Put a heat source in her transport carrier or box lined with layers of newspapers, old tee shirts or smooth towels.  An easy and reliable heat source is a ‘rice sock’.  Fill a thick, clean sock about ¾ with raw rice and knot the end.  Heat in microwave for 1 ½ to 2 minutes and shake it out afterward to distribute the heat evenly.   Lay this on the bottom and cover with a few layers of newspaper or cloth - it’s a moist heat that may even help the egg move.

You don’t have much time -  find an urgent care facility and go now.   It’s far better to be driving two hours to the nearest caregiver rather than trying to wait this out.

She may not only face a life threatening situation here, but this is a common cause of paralyzation in birds.  Sometimes permanent.


Egg binding may have any one of a number of underlying causes, including hyperthermia or hypothermia (too hot; too cold). By improving the temperature and humidity in the environment, it could help with the passing of the egg; other causes are malformed egg, poor muscle tone or other health and condition problems in the hen.
Many times it occurs because the bird was disturbed, moved or stressed within the last 24 hours and the egg did not have the opportunity to turn before laying.   Eggs need to come out large, round end first, not pointy end first.  While they travel down the reproductive system pointy end first, approx. 24 hours before being laid they turn while inside the bird.  It’s during this time that the bird often becomes quiet and less active, staying close to their nest, if not staying right on it.
Egg peritonitis is another possible complication of egg laying birds.  In some birds the ova end up in the body cavity.  There is no chance of success of this egg and it cannot re-enter the oviduct.  There are many  reasons this happens to begin with, but the most important thing you have to do is get the bird to a vet.  
When you notice symptoms that may appear to be egg binding, any discharge from the vent that looks unusual or is happening without the bird making a dropping, any lethargy or depression in a bird that has been known to lay eggs, enlargement of the abdominal area – don’t waste any time with a ‘wait and see’ stance.  
The misplaced egg will generally cause peritonitis (inflammation in the body cavity) and as the yolk is absorbed by the peritoneum it will likely cause a reaction in the bloodstream that can be fatal rather quickly.  


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Rev. Dr. S.August Abbott


Certified Avian Specialist; Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council member; Own animal rescue org; National Wildlife habitat #66378; bird care, nutrition & behavior consultant; International Assoc. of Animal Behavior Consultants Associate; National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club member; published bird care, info and behavior articles and guides. Ongoing education in exotic bird behavior and nutrition I can answer behavioral, nutritional, environmental, characteristic/personality questions as well as general health and health care. No animal emergency can ever be addressed on the internet. We cannot see your animal, perform an examination, provide necessary care or medication. Please value your companion for the priceless, living creature they are; not for what you might have paid for them.


Certified Avian Specialist. For more than 30 years I've worked with veterinarians, protective facilities, nature centers, preserves and on my own in providing care and education with regard to multiple animal species, including raptors (hawks, kestrals, owls, etc) and marsupials. In recent years I've focused on parrots, usually rescued from abusive or less than ideal situations and helping educate owners as to proper care. Expert in behavior studies and modification of problem behavior.

4AnimalCare is the organization I run as an animal ministry; World Wildlife Association, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Wildlife Federation Leaders Club and more

Bird Talk Magazine articles about rescued and problem macaws.

Doctorate, Ordained Minister

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