FAQ: How & Why Dummy Eggs Work
“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. Thank you for your order! — Melanie & Kirk, DummyEggs.com”
FILL HER NEST WITH DUMMY EGGS...
& YOUR BIRD WILL
STOP LAYING MORE
Dummy Eggs cannot stop mother nature, just guide her.
The DummyEggs.com™ point of view is to give her a nest simulation so she can behave normally. Don’t deprive your bird of basic food and comfort that is often advised. Give her the eggs to sit on nature intended without adding to the current crisis in overpopulation and homeless pet birds.
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.”
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.
Place your dummy eggs in a shallow flat bowl large enough for one or two birds to sit in comfortably. Use white paper towels shredded or pure shredded paper bedding from a pet store. The use of newspaper is not advised as the inks stain the plastic eggs.
Some birds react poorly to any new change in their environment. A nest bowl can sometimes frighten them. If this happens place the nest bowl near their cage so they can see it first. Complete Nesting Bowl Kits are available at DummyEggs.com™ and come ready to go.
REMOVING 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
WHY WON’T MY HEN SIT ON HER EGGS?
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.
KEEP DUMMY EGGS SCENT FREE.
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.
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.
AVIAN HEALTH CONDITIONS:
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 immediate medical attention.
Your avian vet can give your hen hormone shots which can be expensive and last only a few months, much like birth control pills. Dummy Eggs increase the success of treatments. You cannot stop nesting behavior or egg laying, nature must take its course. Sometimes advice is offered to restrict daylight, plentiful food, and 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.
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. Make sure to sanitize them before and after use. It is safe to put them in the dishwasher. Put your fake eggs back in her nest before she starts laying, when you see brooding behavior, or as soon as she lays her first egg.
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.
DO EGGS NEED TO MATCH EXACTLY?
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. There are no health concerns with a healthy hen who is laying her normal natural eggs for reproduction. Dummy Eggs cannot stop your bird from ever laying another egg which would not be healthy.
CAN I EXCHANGE EGGS FOR ANOTHER SIZE?
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. Please just let us know and we will supply directions for exchanging your eggs for a different size. Dummy eggs are returnable for a refund. We do not accept returns for nest bowls, food, calcium, cuttlebones or toys.
HOW DO I BOOST MY BIRDS DIET
& MAKE SURE SHE IS GETTING CALCIUM?
Click here to purchase our HealthyHen™ Calcium-Mineral Blocks.