Feathering Your Nest...

Image Parrot Eggs

It’s that time of year, yet again, when our poor light-confused parrot is egg-laying. Even though she’s without a mate, she is as protective and attentive to the egg, as if it were fertile. Her reactions are hormone, rather than reality-driven. It doesn’t, however, make it any less amazing that she would make a wonderful mother. Not all parrots make good parents. Some prefer to destroy the eggs, eating them rather than nurturing. Others, like a friend’s extremely rare Illiger macaws, rolled every single fertile egg, out of the nest, watching it smash onto the cement floor. Many breeders use African Grey’s as surrogate mothers, and it is easy to see why, when ours has even “adopted” unshelled pecans, placing her beak against their surface and tenderly “cooing” sweet nothings.

While my daughter and I are taken with seeing the “mothering” side of our parrot, my youngest son rolls his eyes in frustration, chastising us in typical Asperger style, “Don’t get silly over the eggs. There can’t be a baby because there isn’t any male!”

He’s also frustrated because I’m not taking the eggs away, because I want her to complete a normal cycle, while I focus on making sure her calcium and Vitamin D levels are maintained. I’m of the mind that artificially breaking her cycle, “aborting” her eggs, is unhealthy.

My son, in Aspie-style, is hyper-focusing on wanting the cause of the change – the eggs which he finds disruptive in his very narrow-range of “normal” – to be removed, assuaging his anxiety. They’re staying, a good tool in helping him learn to accept changes.

It was the nutritional need of my parrots that first awakened my interest in orthomolecular nutrition. The Creator of the universe was economical in his design. Talons and fingernails have the same requirements, as do feathers and hair. Whether eating Hibiscus leaves (for parrots) or grapefruit juice (for humans), the crucial vitamins, amino acids and nutrients are, in many cases, identical.

Once that concept is understood, that we are a chemica,l (nutrient) microbially-dependent creatures, the concept of nutrition becomes real, less myth. There’s fewer ways to insert our desires, or perceptions, when we are grounded in God’s science.

Image Parrot Closeup To illustrate, the following excerpts were taken from one single page of a parrot “Help! My parrot is laying eggs!”-forum, all attempting to answer the question, “What do you do if your unpaired Grey is laying eggs…”….

Cuttlebone, crushed oyster or egg shells are good supplements…

Do not use oyster shell powder or cuttlebone as a calcium supplement…

Do not remove her eggs as long as she is setting! That will make her lay more eggs…

Remove the eggs as she lays them! Removing a Grey’s eggs will not cause her to lay more and more and more…

Take away anything that might allow the bird to create a nest…

Create a nest type area for your grey in her cage and let her sit on the eggs for at least a month…

Nesting boxes create a number of problems like egg-binding…

Eggbinding is not caused by not giving them a nesting box. It is caused by lack of calcium.

Few treat this natural event as a normal cycle, triggered by the change in the amount of daylight, as well as the logical result of a parrot that is well-fed. Nutritionally-deprived parrots don’t reproduce.

So, while my son fidgets and kvetches about the “unnecessary and empty parrot egg”, my daughter and I bring our almost-mother-bird bits of hard-cooked egg, laced with Vitamin D. She, unlike most broody parrots, rolls her warm eggs to us, presenting them as gifts.

We reward her by telling her how beautiful she is – that she makes such lovely eggs; comments she appreciates, thanking us with clucking and clicking. Asking for and receiving a few scratches of her lovely head, she tells me, in English, “It’s okay”, meaning it is time for us to leave. Before settling back on her eggs (and the adopted unshelled pecans) she takes one final stretch, her wings spread wide while she stands on tippy-toe, revealing her plucked keel-bone, freed of its down-feathers she used to “feather her nest”.

Later, as my daughter and I were saying evening prayers, she took my hand and said, “That was a lovely time today, looking at Pookie’s eggs. I’m amazed she trusted us enough, allowing us to be near. But something hit me – the way she stripped off her keel-feathers to protect her eggs. It reminded me of you. You are that way…”……

Good thing the youngest wasn’t in the room. He hates it when I cry.

Proverbs 31:28 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed.

  1. aaaawww! now I’m crying too! :)
    mr o loved the pecan adoption parts.

    — wren    Mar 12, 10:44 PM    #
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