If you’re just starting out with pet bird breeding, you probably have thousands of questions. This is completely normal. And sometimes you might feel a little ashamed to ask certain basic questions, because experienced breeders might think you’re stupid.
Remember what your teacher told you – “the only stupid question is the one that’s never asked.” We all have to start at the beginning sometime, and finding out a few of the basics can help you feel a whole lot more confident.
Will The Eggs Hatch?
One of the first things many new bird breeders wonder is whether or not the eggs their bird is laying will hatch. If she’s a single female, the answer is no. Eggs need to be fertilized before the bird lays them. So she needs to have a male bird in her cage to make fertile eggs – at least before she lays them.
Parrots, parakeets, cockatiels, and other pet birds will lay infertile eggs just like chickens do. You can throw the infertile eggs away, pair her up with a male, or try to discourage her from laying more eggs.
If she’s still alone and doesn’t stop laying eggs, you can try allowing her to keep her eggs until she stops laying them. She may sit on them for a few weeks, but she will eventually abandon them when they don’t hatch.
Do Birds Need Nest Boxes?
Another question a lot of new bird breeds ask is whether or not their birds will breed without nest boxes. Although some birds will lay eggs and hatch them successfully on the bottom of their cage or in an empty feed cup, it’s not a good idea.
A nest box is designed to keep the baby birds safe and warm and will help their parents feel more secure and relaxed. Also, if your birds nest on the bottom of the cage, by the time the eggs hatch and the babies grow up, the cage would be terribly dirty and unsanitary.
How Long Before the Eggs Hatch?
Another question bird owners ask is how long it takes bird eggs to hatch. Although times vary depending on the species, most eggs will take about three weeks to hatch.
Some birds don’t begin to incubate the eggs until they’re all laid, which causes them to all hatch at the same time. But most birds begin incubating almost immediately. This means that a clutch of five babies can range in age from one day to ten days old.
Some breeders choose to remove the eggs as they are laid and then return them all to the next after the hen finishes laying her eggs so that they’ll hatch more closely together. However, before trying this, be aware that the parents may not accept the eggs back.
Keep an Eye on the Hen
Finally, you might notice that the female is not leaving the nesting box as regularly as the male. This doesn’t mean that she is starving. A good mate will feed the female so she doesn’t have to leave the babies often. However, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on the situation to be sure the female is getting food and water.