Behaviour of an elderly African lovebird

by Helen
(Vancouver, Canada)

My female lovebird is now 11 years old. She has entered a continuous cycle of trying (unsuccessfully) to lay eggs... followed by a period of plucking her chest feathers. When her chest is bare she stops, the feathers grow in and she is calm for a short while. Then the egg-laying behaviour begins again. By this, I mean she sits on the bottom of her cage and if I take her out, all she wants to do is shred paper and rush back to the cage.

When she is in this mode, her droppings are large and loose. But I believe she has lost the ability to lay eggs due to her age. She seems psychologically messed up, but she has had a good life with lots of love and attention.

Is there anything I can do to help her get over this futile cycle? It can't be good for her health. Can you estimate how long she is likely to live if she keeps this up?

Thanks in advance.

Comments for Behaviour of an elderly African lovebird

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Dec 10, 2009
Older lovebird
by: The Vet

She may not be producing eggs because she is not eating a good diet. If she is not on pellets, then this could cause problems. Also, this can be from excessive hormone production from a cyst or tumor on the ovary. There are other reproductive health problems that can contribute to this too. I recommend having her seen by an avian veterinarian. The Dr. should first get a blood sample and x-rays. Then I would treat with Lupron to turn off those hormones.

Dr B

Dec 09, 2009
Behaviour of an elderly African lovebird
by: Linda

I strongly suggest you take your bird into see an Avian Vet in your driving area. Tracie has a vet locater on this site, and you probably already know of one or two in your area.

What is going on here is guaranteed to kill this bird and rather quickly if not seen to. She has something physical going on, and you'll need to have the vet do some tests to see what the problem may be. This behavior is far from normal, and at her age, this has a physical base and is an illness.

Let us know what your Avian vet has to say as your information will help others with similar problems. When our birds get older, there are new physical problems that will start showing just like in humans, dogs and cats. Keep us posted,

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