On Sunday Eler Beth's new cockatiel female, Nadia, laid her first egg. If you remember, Boris and Nadia were the two given to Eler Beth a few months ago by a neighbor whose son had decided after only a couple weeks that cockatiels were too noisy and too much trouble to take care of. We had doubts about Nadia actually making it at the time, so Eler Beth purposefully didn't let herself get too attached. She even entertained the notion of giving her to our pet-shop-owner-friend, but decided to keep her and Boris.
The gray one is Boris, and the yellow one is Nadia. Between them is Egg #1.
On Tuesday Nadia laid her second egg, which was right on time. They will usually lay them every other day until they are done. On Thursday morning she laid her third egg. All three of them were rather large, and we could actually see the large round mound of egg inside her little body before she laid it.
On Thursday evening we saw Nadia come out of the nesting box to get something to eat, and Eler Beth drew my attention to her swollen lower parts; she had another egg, and it looked like she was ready to lay it at any time. This rather worried me because I was pretty sure she wasn't supposed to have laid another so soon.
In the middle of the night Nadia's strange-sounding chirping woke Eler Beth. She woke me to tell me that Nadia was trying to lay her fourth egg. Before we really knew what was happening, she was calling to me to come quick because something was wrong. By the time I got to the nesting box she was gone. She'd become egg-bound; that fourth egg just wasn't coming out.
I was really worried about how Eler Beth was going to take this. She kept assuring me she was doing fine. I told her it was all right to not do fine. We didn't get Nadia's body out of the box right away. We let Boris go inside with her for a few minutes. Then Eler Beth came to report that Boris was nudging Nadia. She and I both started crying a bit at that. We got it out of our systems and then we took her out of the box. This morning first thing we called our pet-shop-owner-friend who told us that if Boris wanted to take care of them, it would be best to let him. He has sat on them all day. He came out only for a couple minutes this evening to eat a little. We don't know if they are fertile. Eler Beth is going to take a pen light and try to candle them to see if she can tell. Our friend also assured us that you just never know when a bird will become egg-bound. She has had females that have had several clutches (is that the right word?) of eggs and raised a lot of young ones, only to suddenly become egg-bound and die. And once you realize your bird is egg-bound it is usually too late to do anything about it.
I'm very proud of Eler Beth. She is handling it very well. I hope at least one of the eggs is fertile, but if not, maybe we'll see if Lucy and Boris would like to make a couple. She isn't going to give up on trying to raise baby cockatiels.
Nadia, sitting on her eggs.