Why is my cockatiel ripping up her sandsheet, and sitting on the cage floor?

The likelihood is that she is about to lay, and is making a nest for herself here, by shredding the sandsheet. Ensure that she has adequate cuttlebone bone available, so she can gnaw the soft, powdery side to provide the necessary calcium to incorporate into the eggshells.

If she appears to have any difficulty laying, becoming unsteady on her feet, then seek veterinary advice without delay, in case the egg is trapped in her body. An injection, or surgery in more severe cases will be required to free the egg. Usually however, there should be nothing to worry about, and she may lay a clutch of perhaps six or even eight eggs.

Do not take them away however, even though they will not hatch, but leave them with her. She will soon become bored, and abandon them, but if you remove them earlier, this will simply encourage her to lay again almost immediately. Her egg-laying is actually a sign that she is in good condition.

For information about how the eggs develop in the hen's body, click here.