Ask Lafeber


May 3, 2021

Zebra Finches infertile eggs

I have a pair of zebra finches that made a beautiful, well crafted nest in a wicker nesting box and laid five eggs. It has been almost four weeks and the eggs haven’t hatched. We removed an egg and it accidentally cracked and we saw it had never been fertilized. They are still sitting on the nest periodically but last night we saw that they did not sleep there, but slept together in an empty, open woven nest cup.

Should we remove their nest altogether to give them a break? Just the eggs and let them try again? Remove the nest and let them build
A new one? They seem very confused. This was their first attempt at raising a family.


Hi Rebekah,

The first clutch for a pair will almost always fail. It’s best to rest a pair in between each clutch. I would remove the nest, along with the open nest. They do not need a nest for sleeping – they only need a nest when they are breeding. Otherwise they will just use the open nest for eggs. In the wild, a nest is only used once a year during breeding season. It’s best to limit them to maybe 3 clutches per year, with a few months rest in between each clutch. Wild finches only nest once a year, but since the chicks grow and are independent so quickly, the pair might have a 2nd clutch.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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