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Unhatched lovebird eggs

DutchBob

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Bob De Lange
Hi, I'm new to this forum and have a question .. First let me paint a picture of my pride and joy; I've build an outdoor walk-in aviary (i live in the UK), 3.6m x 1.8m x 1.8m. We started of with 4 cockatiels, 4 budgies and 4 lovebirds. Now we have 4 cockatiels, 10 budgies and 7 lovebirds. Actually, that's wrong, because .. there are 2 babies . 1 couple has laid an unknown number of eggs, i can't count them because she always sits on them. 1 other lonely female has laid 3 eggs in another box (most likely not fertile) and another couple has laid 5 eggs in another box and when I checked Saturday 2 eggs had hatched .. so, the question is; do I remove the unhatched eggs, and if so, when ?
 

Emma&pico

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Hey I am uk too

@Zara will be able to help you
 

Zara

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Welcome to the Avenue Bob! :)

do I remove the unhatched eggs, and if so, when ?
Leave them in a few days after their due hatch date just to be sure they are not the newer eggs. I´d remove at the latest a week after due hatch date.
Keep in mind that the eggs were laid two days apart, so naturally they will hatch in a similar pattern, or at least a day apart. So if there´s three eggs left, it could take 3-6 days for them to hatch.

Eggs in the nest is not a bad thing, they can help the other little chicks to support themselves, hold their heads up and also prevent the hen from brooding too tight (which can lead to splayed legs).

Just to add, I would sit and work out what you want to aviary to end up like. Those three bird species you say are all quite prolific breeders and you can quickly become overrun with chicks. I would set a limit for each species, and keep it quite low as to ensure they have maximum access to space as possible.
 
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DutchBob

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Thanks for your reply ;)

I knew about the egg every 2nd day, so I'll try to have another look this weekend.

Regarding the number, I don't think there'll be overcrowding soon with such a big aviary, and on top of that the budgies and cockatiels have never gone into any box, so I imagine they're still too young. I'm more worried by possible inbreeding in such an uncontrolled environment.

One more question; I can't see clearly into the box of the other pair, I just got a glimpse of the eggs (using an inspection camera). Now if it turns out all these eggs are infertile, should I remove them, and will removing them incite the hen to lay again ? And also, she's made a very elaborate nest (whereas the other pair has barely brought in any nesting material), should I leave the nest as is or should I take everything out to let her start over ?
 

Zara

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I'm more worried by possible inbreeding in such an uncontrolled environment.
When you only have one aviary, it´s best to buy your birds, and not allow breeding, by means of removing the nest boxes and replacing with shelves, platforms and perches, and removing any eggs laid and replacing with dummy eggs. This way you don´t accidentally have inbred birds.
Those who colony breed, will have various aviaries and log where the birds from which lines go, and move the chicks around to separate them to mix with new blood. As lovebirds mate for life, it´s not common for them to wander off and pair with another bird unless their mate dies.
I would recommend only allowing very few clutches from your bought birds, and when those youngsters go off and find mates, remove their eggs to stop breeding.

Now if it turns out all these eggs are infertile, should I remove them, and will removing them incite the hen to lay again ?
If she is in there, let her sit on the eggs for up to but no more than 21 days. At this point, if she´s still in there, remove the eggs. In a cage set up I´d recommend removing the nestbox too, but I don´t know how that works for aviaries, I´m sorry. Maybe moving the nest box could be an option?
If she abandons the nest before the 21 days, you can remove the eggs after a day or two (to be sure).

she's made a very elaborate nest (whereas the other pair has barely brought in any nesting material), should I leave the nest as is or should I take everything out to let her start over ?
If the nest with the chicks doesn´t have much substrate in, try offering some paper for the adults. It´s important they have enough bedding to prevent splayed legs in the chicks.
When a nest hosts infertile eggs, the amount of bedding doesn´t really matter. When the eggs are removed, the bedding must be removed also.
 
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DutchBob

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Thank you so much for all the valuable information.

Just to be sure; even though the nest is some sort of birdie architectural prowess I should still remove all the material after the eggs definitely haven't hatched ?

And just to clarify, the nest with the babies does have an inch of sawdust / wood shavings in it.

And finally (my excuses for talking too much), my partner went out to get a male for the one that made the beautiful nest, and came back with a different couple .. they too have build a nest but it's a huge mess with whatever they could find in it .. could it be they're too young to mate but imitate the other one in building the nest ?

And just to finish; the elaborate builder is a Fischer's and one day we went to our bird shop and found a male. As soon as we released him into the aviary they bonded and are inseparable since. Love at first sight ❤ ♥
IMG20220723200127.jpg
 

Zara

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Just to be sure; even though the nest is some sort of birdie architectural prowess I should still remove all the material after the eggs definitely haven't hatched ?
After every clutch the nest box should be cleared completely.

.. they too have build a nest but it's a huge mess with whatever they could find in it .. could it be they're too young to mate but imitate the other one in building the nest ?
I´m not sure what you mean by a mess. Lovebird nests are made with whatever they can find, shred and carry to the nest.
 

DutchBob

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Just checked .. 4 chicks !!
So, another question;
They're in a nest box hanging roughly at 1.50m .. should I let nature run it's course and let them do whatever they do ?
Or, should I remove them at say 7 weeks and put them in a cage until they can fly ??
 

Zara

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They're in a nest box hanging roughly at 1.50m .. should I let nature run it's course and let them do whatever they do ?
Or, should I remove them at say 7 weeks and put them in a cage until they can fly ??
I don´t know the ins and outs of breeding in an aviary set up.
But I will say, that if your concern is them falling out of the nest box before they can fly, that likely won´t happen. In the wild they nest in tree cavities and the chicks will sty in the nest and only jump out once they can get back in. If you do spot a fledgling on the floor, put him back up in the nest. Younger chicks won´t fall out of the nest unless the boxes are not appropriate.
 
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