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Egg Binding

Egg laying is a common and uncomplicated event for many birds. And, as some bird owners find out, the presence of a male bird is not required for the production and delivery of an egg.

Despite most normal egg deliveries, some problems can occur. Egg binding, or the inability to pass an egg, is one of the most serious complications. Without treatment, egg binding can result in death of the bird.

Egg binding is most commonly found in budgies, finches, canaries, cockatiels and lovebirds but can occur in any bird. Though the exact cause of egg binding is not known, several conditions are assumed to contribute to this situation:

Birds with egg binding can become rapidly ill. Some birds show signs of depression, poor appetite, stand with legs far apart, straining, wagging of the tail, paralysis of the legs and even drooping wings. Veterinary care should be sought immediately. The smaller the bird, the more quickly egg binding can become life-threatening.

Diagnosing Egg Binding

To diagnose egg binding, the history and physical examination of the bird are very important. Frequently, your veterinarian can feel the egg in the abdomen. If palpation does not reveal an egg, x-rays may be needed. Once egg binding is diagnosed, treatment must be started immediately.


Most egg bound birds are quite ill and require some stabilization before the egg is removed. Initially, the bird is placed in a warm, moist environment. Injectable fluids may be needed as well as injectable sugar solution. Since most egg bound birds are deficient in vitamins and minerals, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D are administered. Infections can occur so antibiotics are necessary.

Home Care and Prevention

If you suspect that your bird is egg bound, you can try to place the bird in warm water or lubricate the cloaca with vasoline or lubricating jelly. If not effective quickly, veterinary care is crucial. By supplying proper nutrition, keeping a stress free environment and breeding your bird responsibly, the risk of egg binding can be diminished.