Ask Lafeber


February 28, 2023

Breeding – Ask the Vet Webinar Feb 24

For me, the question is, what mechanism does a parrot use during incubation to distinguish a non-embryonic egg from a fertilized egg and then reject it?



There is no research to support that they can do this. Sometimes a hen abandons eggs, and they turn out to be infertile, so one might say she could tell and gave up. But often an inexperienced hen will leave fertile eggs, sometimes just as they are ready to hatch. We really do not know if they truly have a way of knowing if eggs are worth incubating or even how long to incubate them. Single hens have been known to sit on eggs that couldn’t possibly be fertile, until the eggs are taken away, while others sit for a week or two and stop. It probably has more to do with the hen and her desire or stronger instinct to be a good parent. Some birds never breed successfully in captivity because they won’t take care of the eggs or chicks, and I’m sure the same thing happens in the wild.

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