Let's start with how to recognize egg binding, especially for those
who have never heard of this condition:
Here are the signs to watch for. If anyone suspects that your
Eclectus hen is developing an egg-binding problem, put your vet on
alert immediately and you'll probably be directed to the vet's office
ASAP. Some of these are "general symptoms" of illness as well so
don't ignore them -- none of these symptoms are normal or natural.
*Weakness, depression, fluffed-up appearance in nest
*On bottom of cage and exhausted
*Squatting in penguin position
*Paralysis, stiffness or weakness of one or both legs
*Panting or shortness of breath
*Egg visible or bleeding from vent
Debbie, "spaying" a parrot hen is nothing like the safe and commonly performed
cat and dog spaying surgery. This surgery is much more complicated and as you
might guess, much riskier.
Here is a letter posted yesterday by one of our TEC members whose Eclectus hen
had the procedure a few years ago. As you'll read, the surgery does not stop the
hormonal behavior of the hen, like soliciting or putting her tail in the air.
From Heidi -- 8-21--2011
"My female, Jazzy went through the 'spay' procedure a number of years
ago. It's a dangerous procedure and it is similar to a female human
having her tubes tied. It does not remove the ovaries, so ovulation
and hormonal behavior continues.
I had to have Jazzy go through the procedure because she was egg
bound. After the third time, she left me no choice.
Definitely remove any toys that your female shows too much interest
in. The masturbating part is something that Jazzy will still do, if
given the opportunity, with one particular stuffed duck. (I know,
right?) Anyway, you would KNOW if your female is masturbating. (Now
this is rated R for adults folks...) She will get on a toy, and make
her bottom go like a windshield wiper over and over until she reaches
her climax, then she wags her tail. Yes, it seems that parrots
experience pleasure with an orgasm. (That was the rated R part).
If your vet decides (with you) that the best treatment is the
operation, you will need to continue to work really hard to prevent
ovulation. Jazzy has been hospitalized twice since due to egg yolk
peritonitis, where she did ovulate, but since she had the operation,
no egg shell could form and her body needed to absorb the yolk--which
it couldn't--hence the illness. I almost lost her last year and right
now is when her hormones start going crazy, so I'm really keeping an
eye on her. I can tell she's getting 'in the mood', she's begun
feeding her toys again.
Anyway, I don't know if that helped you, but when the bird leaves you
no choice, what can you do? Keep her entertained, switch around toys
a lot, give her more dry food, less wet food (makes her think it's not
the season), less showers, less light, less out time. Sounds cruel
and boring, but it might help. Lupron shots MIGHT help. But, I've
not had success with them."
Heidi (and Jazzy)
Thanks, Heidi! Experience is always the best teacher and so few have experience
with this surgery. Your story about Jazzy's "salpingectomy" or "tubectomy" is most
helpful! I hope this will be useful to any redhead keeper whose hen suffers egg binding.