When you’re new to bird breeding, you may feel as though all you have is questions. However, you also may think that you can’t possibly ask some of the questions you have because more experienced breeders will think you are unintelligent. While your local librarian will tell you the only stupid question is one you didn’t ask, finding out a few of the basics can help you feel a bit more confident.
One of the first things many people who are new to bird breeding wonder is whether the eggs their bird is laying will hatch. If she is a single female, the answer is no. Eggs need to be fertilize before the bird lays them, so before she lays her eggs she does need to have a male bird in her cage to make fertile eggs.
Parrots and other pet birds will lay infertile eggs just as chickens do. Simply throw the infertile eggs away and either pair your female up with a male or try to discourage her from laying more eggs. If she is 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 a few weeks, but she will abandon them when they do not hatch.
Another question new bird breeders wonder about is whether birds will breed without nest boxes. Although some birds do lay eggs and hatch them successfully on the bottom of the cage or in an empty feed cup, you should never try to have them do so. A nest box is designed to keep the baby birds safe and warm and will help the parent birds 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, your cage would be awfully dirty.
Many bird owners also wonder how long it takes bird eggs to hatch. Although the time can vary depending on the species of bird, most eggs take three weeks to hatch. Some birds do not begin to incubate eggs until they are all laid, which causes them all to hatch at the same time, but most birds begin incubating almost immediately. This means that a clutch of five babies can range from one day to ten days old. Some breeders remove the eggs as they are laid and then return them all to the nest after the hen finishes laying her eggs so that they will hatch more closely together. However, before you try this, you should be aware that the parents may not accept the eggs back.
Finally, you may notice that the female bird is not leaving the nest box as regularly as the male. This doesn’t mean she is starving. A good mate will feed the female so she doesn’t have to leave the babies often. However, you should still keep an eye on the situation to be sure the female is getting food and water.