How & Why Dummy Eggs Work:
Frequently Asked Questions
“Please read these directions carefully. There is a lot of information here that is very important. Everyday I get letters from customers in a panic, asking me to please explain what is already covered in here. I have included many details here, nuances that may not be apparent at first. Please keep this handy to reread if you have any questions.
Dummy Eggs cannot stop mother nature, just try to guide her a little. DummyEggs.com point of view, is to give her a nest simulation so she can behave normally. There are no health concerns with a healthy hen who is laying her normal natural eggs for reproduction. Dummy Eggs can- not stop your bird from ever laying another egg which would not be healthy. Don't deprive your bird of basic comforts that are often advised, as added stress is not what she needs. Give her the eggs to sit on as nature intended. Controlled egg laying helps to curtail the current crisis of over population and homeless pet birds. Thank you for your order!”
— Melanie & Kirk
BIRDS COUNT THEIR EGGS!
Hens start building their clutch (nest of eggs) by laying one egg every other day. Her DNA tells her exactly how many eggs she should lay. She will lay eggs until she has the proper number of eggs for her species. Any extra eggs will be pushed out of the nest. When we count a clutch, it is the eggs laid consecutively. Do not count eggs that are laid a week or more later.
DO NOT REPLACE LIVE EGGS ONE BY ONE.
USE ALL YOUR DUMMY EGGS AT ONCE!
Substituting a dummy egg for a live egg one at a time will not fool her into thinking she has laid a full clutch and it is time to start incubating. Seeing a Full Clutch turns her hormones off and she stops laying. (See Size Chart for clutch sizes.) It is better to put in too many eggs than too few. When your hen starts exhibiting nesting behavior, place all the dummy eggs in a bowl on the bottom of her cage or in her existing nest. A bowl just keeps the eggs together. If your bird has laid one or more eggs already, remove and replace them with a full clutch of dummies.
Take away any live eggs laid after placing dummies. If she lays eggs in spite of the proper number of dummies, you may not have been able to prevent the eggs already in production. It takes about a week for her hormones to shut down, so any more real eggs laid on top of dummies should be removed and disposed of. If she keeps laying an extra egg or two on top of the dummies everytime you use them, it may indicate more eggs are needed to match her “magic number.”
HOW DO I CREATE A NESTING BOWL?
Use a shallow flat bowl large enough for your bird to lay in comfortably. Line the bowl with shredded white paper towels or CritterCare Small Animal Natural paper bedding from Wal-Mart with no odor control. Place dummy eggs in nest bowl and put at bottom of cage or wherever your bird is comfortable. Leave the nest bowl in place for the same number of days that would be a normal incubation for your species and then remove. Change bedding when possible. The use of newspaper is not advised as the inks stain the plastic eggs and the inks have unhealthy fumes. Placing the nest bowl within site of your hen before introducing it may avoid frightening her.
WHEN DO I REMOVE THE DUMMY EGGS?
Ideally your bird will lose interest in her dummy eggs within 2-4 weeks. Leaving them in longer may render them ineffective for her next clutch. The number of days for each species is listed on our Egg Size Chart by Species. Days are counted from the time the hen starts sitting the eggs. The most popular birds’ Average Incubation Days are: Finch 12, Canary, Doves & Pigeons 14, Budgie Parakeet 18, Cockatiel & Quaker 18 - 21, Parrotlet & Lovebird 23, Conure 24, Caique 27, African Grey, Eclectus, Amazon 29, Cockatoo 25, Macaw 28.
You can try removing them at any time after 21 days. Watch to see if your hen starts acting upset by crying or running back and forth. If this behavior does not stop within 60 minutes, put her nest back in the cage, she is not ready to release her eggs yet.
WHAT IS BROODY BEHAVIOR?
When the female sits her nest, on either real or plastic dummy eggs, both male and female will be fiercely protective and their boundaries need to be respected. They will hiss, fluff their feathers, back up, and may attack any threat to their eggs. Do not use a nest box as these encourage nesting behavior.
“I know we all want a cute cuddly pet. It is best to touch a bird mostly around the back of the neck and head. Petting and stroking the wings and body can cause the bird to react to you as a mate and trigger broody behavior and egg laying. It is upsetting when your sweet little bird becomes aggressive protecting her space and doesn’t feel like being an interactive companion while incubating eggs. Giving your bird the space and peace she needs during the egg laying process is tough on us humans and we must accept patience as part of the bird owner lifestyle.” ― Kirk
HOW LONG BEFORE THE EGG LAYING
CYCLE STARTS OVER AGAIN?
The length of time between reproductive cycles varies by species. Brooding behavior will signal when it is time to reuse your dummy eggs. Put your fake eggs back in her nest before she starts laying, when you see brooding behavior, as soon as she lays her first egg or replace an entire clutch (single egg grouping).
Egg laying can depend on many internal and external factors. Sometimes juveniles start before they are ready to be good parents. Many large parrots such as large Macaws, Cockatoos and Hyacinths do not lay their first eggs until they are in there late teens or early 20’s.
ARE THEY SAFE FOR MY BIRD? HOW DO I CLEAN MY DUMMY EGGS?
Dummy eggs are safe, non-toxic, unbreakable, and reusable. Most dummy eggs are solid polyurethane, an inert plastic that does not breakdown or dissolve. Duck and goose eggs are made of strong ceramic for outdoor use. (Do not use on newsprint). All of our eggs can be vigorously cleaned with detergent and bleach. They are safe to be placed in the dishwasher. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly.
WHAT ARE SOME REASONS FOR REJECTION?
Most birds will not notice a slight difference in size, color, shape, or texture. If it looks close to their egg they will accept it. There are many other reasons for rejection.
Birds may reject dummy eggs due to a human or foreign scent on the eggs. Make sure your hands are washed before handling eggs and do not leave them out exposed to room orders before being introduced to your bird.
Dummy egg orders include a fine grit nail file for smoothing any rough spots on your dummy eggs. This will help them be better accepted and stay cleaner.
Some hens, especially juveniles, do not have mature maternal instincts. Eggs can be laid from a perch where it smashes to the floor, or anywhere else that is convenient. It is not uncommon for birds to break the eggs by pecking or kicking them or to have no interest in sitting on them. These same birds can easily become chronic egg layers and dummy eggs can help avoid this.
ARE GIANT DROPPINGS NORMAL?
After sitting on her eggs for many hours, the female will leave her nest to eat, drink and eliminate. A bonded male and female, may take turns sitting on the eggs. Don’t be alarmed if your hen’s droppings are greater than their normal size. This is perfectly normal and will discontinue when her breeding cycle has completed. It is also a sure way to tell when she starts and stops brooding.
WHAT IF THEY ARE FERTILE / INFERTILE?
Birds will lay eggs with or without a mate. She will lay eggs during each breeding cycle and will incubate them regardless of whether or not they have been fertilized.
WHAT ARE SOME URGENT AVIAN HEALTH CONDITIONS?
Calcium Blocks and fresh Cuttlebones are a must to prevent calcium deficiency, a life threatening condition. The freshest cuttlebone can be purchased in 5 lb. bulk boxes from Amazon.com and other retailers.
Chronic Egg Laying: It is not normal for a hen to lay eggs continually for weeks or months and can lead to severe illness and death.
This condition can result from removing eggs from the nest too soon. A bird will replace missing or broken eggs to fill her nest. A full clutch of dummy eggs can stop chronic egg laying in most cases.
Chronic egg laying depletes the hen’s calcium levels and can be the reason she produces soft shell eggs. These soft shell eggs have a hard time being passed out of the body. This is what is called Egg Binding. An egg bound bird needs medical attention quickly.
Your avian vet can give your hen hormone shots to stop laying. These can be expensive and last only a few months, much like birth control pills. Dummy Eggs increases the success of hormone treatments.
You cannot stop nesting behavior or egg laying, nature must take its course. Sometimes advice is offered to restrict daylight and food, and rearrange familiar surroundings. A nervous bird will not feel comfortable enough to start a family. It might also start plucking out its feathers from the stress.
CAN I RETURN OR EXCHANGE FOR ANOTHER SIZE?
Dummy eggs are returnable for a refund or exchange. Nest bowls and calcium blocks are not returnable. To make an exchange, place a new order for the desired size. Alert us by email at the same time so we can send a return envelope along with the new order. Your refund will be
recieved when the eggs are returned less shipping both ways. We know it is hard to guess the right size of your bird's egg, especially if you do not have a real one to measure.