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Dear Parrots magazine,

Dummy Eggs

I have an issue with one of the responses in your queries' section.  It has to do with the replacement of real eggs with 'dummy eggs' of a pair of Scarlet Macaws.  The response was that nothing should be done, and just let the birds keep breaking their eggs until they mature.  Well, I disagree.  While I have never bred Macaws, I have bred Caiques, and can speak about egg breaking by this species.

First, certain pairs do this more than others, so that trend needs to be broken.  I found that instead of replacing the eggs with dummy eggs, the thing to do was to just add one or two dummy eggs to the nest immediately after the first real egg was laid.  I suspect the origin of the egg breaking problem is that an overly paternal male and his mate fight over the first egg.  By adding a second egg, they each get one of their own.  After I started this practice I no longer suffered egg breaking.

I published an article in 2009 in the ASA Bulletin addressing this problem.

John McMichael



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