Ask Lafeber

Question:

July 19, 2021

1st time pet owner :(


long story short: my 4 birds do not trust me yet to leave the cage and be petted. One of them laid 7 eggs OUTSIDE the nest, last time I tried putting them inside she kicked and broke them. As of now one egg of 7 has hatched and fallen below the cage to the poop area, too far down to be incubated. I can still rescue it, but I’m afraid that if I return it to the mother or put it in the nest, the mother will kill it, neglect it or it will fall again and just die naturally. What should I do???


Answer:

Hi Esme,

You didn’t mention the species, but regardless, any chick is hard to hand raise from day one. It has a better chance with the mother. The parents do not care if you touch a chick – this is a very old myth. The issue you have is they aren’t in the nest, and this is the type thing that happens when you allow this. If a pair won’t use a nest or nest box, you may be providing the wrong type or not hanging it correctly. Either way, you should not let them sit on eggs if the eggs are not in the nest. It is better to throw the eggs away than to let them develop, and then have chicks suffering and dying. Whatever happens this time, remove all of the nests and do what you have to in order to prevent more egg laying. Split the birds up if you have to. You mentioned 4 birds – are these all in one cage? If so, this is most likely the problem. When breeding birds, there should only be one pair per cage. They need the right kind of nest or nest box, and you should not bother the parents or let them out of the cage when they are set up for breeding.

You said you can’t handle them, but you should not even be trying. If you want a bird you can handle, you need to get a single, hand fed pet bird. Breeding birds are not pets. And when you have more than one bird sharing a cage, they are not going to become tame because they prefer to be with each other. I know you said you are a first time bird owner, and unfortunately, breeding is not the best thing for you to try as a novice owner. If you let me know what kind of birds you have and how many are in each cage, I can better help you. Again, you can’t let them keep on laying eggs over and over. This is very bad for the hen and she will eventually die from laying too many eggs. But without knowing the species, I can’t offer specific advice.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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