If a female macaw is sterile will she still lay eggs?

by Sabrina
(FL)

I run a rescue and do not usually receive "breeders" but I could not walk away from these two macaws. He is a Scarlet and she is a Hybrid. They have both been seen by my avain vet as usually he did blood work and a fecal and everything came back fine.

The people I rescued them from said they have been breeding a year but never had fertile eggs. I can never trust the people I find these poor birds with and I know of several possibilities why they may not be producing fertile eggs but one thing that could be a factor is she may be sterile. If she is sterile, would she be able to lay eggs at all? I did see three eggs in her nest but the owners pulled them when I picked up the birds.

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Jul 20, 2012
Thank you so much for your responses
by: Sabrina

They are on the pellets and also we give all of our birds here fresh fruits and veggies daily. I usually rotate out toys weekly and refresh chew toys as needed but with the Female (Tiki and Torch by the way)is non-aggressive toward me but she is to herself when stressed so I will only be doing this for them twice a month. I have seen this before but try to aviod invading her space unless I must. I have put them together in a double Macaw cage and have not given them a breeding box back nor will I. I agree about not breeding when there are so many birds waiting for homes and always encourage families to look at rescues first, even if it is not mine.
I called several breeders around the state and they and you agree they should be kept together because they are bonded but said if they want to breeed let them, it's natural. I see you disagree and I hadn't given much thought to the hybrid's until now, so thank you for your valuble opinion.

Question: One breeder said that if do not want them to breed I can always repair them with other Macaws. Rebond the female with a female and the male with male that they can get along with. He said this could help reduce her urge for her to want to lay eggs. Do you think it is safe to do this? They have only been together a year. If not, I can always put the divider in if they still insist.

Next Question: My goal is always to rehome these birds with the right families (I wish I could keep them all but I can't) and as I said I don't normally get in breeders so I am trying to figure out what my new goal for them is. If they can't breed or shouldn't then I can't find a breeder to except them. So, they will need to go to someone as pets. Do you think they can be at least somewhat tamed? They already take food from our hands and do not flee when we come around the cage. They just get nervous when we come in to clean the cage and move them to a crate to go to the vet.

Jul 20, 2012
Female macaw laying eggs
by: Tracie

I think you likely agree with Linda's comments, since you run a rescue and see the results of poor breeding practices.

I believe she is fertile because she is laying eggs, the male would be the one not fertile, because it is the male that fertilizes the eggs.

The main concern for birds laying eggs is that they are on a high quality pellet diet, like Harrison's, so that they don't become egg bound. As the bird ages, this is even more important. Cheap pellets are full of chemicals, fillers and sugar and only deplete their body of the things they need to stay healthy.

Jul 20, 2012
If a female macaw is sterile will she still lay eggs?
by: Linda

Thank you for taking these two in, and your question is a bit complicated.

First off, you do not want to breed the hybrid with any other birds. The hybrids bring with them their own problems with genetic anomolies because of all the recessive genes they can and do carry. Nature never, ever meant for them to exist, and they are something man dreamed up when the whole idea should have been discarded as against nature's plan for a pure, strong gene pool.Just because we are capable of thinking these things up does not make them right.

With that said, many things can interfere with breeding, and diet is one of the main ones. Birds eating poor diets like all seeds will not be able to breed well if at all because their bodies are not in breeding condition. We recommend Harrison's organic pellets though they are expensive for multiple birds.

My advice in this situation is to keep the pair together as they are already bonded, but not to try and breed them. Breeding Macaws requites huge breeding flights, and they become very, very dangerous when in breeding mode. She may or may not lay eggs. If she does, just remove them before they break them as contents go rancid quickly when infertile.

Keep us posted on these birds and we'd love for you to share some of your stories. People get birds without giving much thought to it, and many of them end up in shelters not nearly as good as yours. They trade a life of hell for a life of hell, so your stories will be welcome here for everyone to read. I try and discourage breeding because there are too many birds available, and most end up in less than optimal homes with people who have NO idea how to feed, raise and train them. Such a tragedy for the birds.

Linda

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