Tuesday, June 15, 2010

That's the Way the Egg Rolls...

Or, don't count your birds before they hatch...  Smile.

Sugar & Spice's third clutch of three eggs was fertile, but did not hatch. She stayed with them long after they should have hatched and I left her alone until she abandoned them herself. Opening the eggs, the babes were about half developed. Did they get cold one night because she was frightened off them? I keep a night light on so that won't happen. They could always find their way back. Who knows what caused it, I don't. It is, however, very disappointing ... most of all for her. Poor mama, she's never raised any babies.

On a happier note, one of Bella's two eggs has hatched! The other is due to hatch today or tomorrow and hopefully will. She, too, has had two clutches that did not hatch. Her first two were infertile. So, I moved her mate, Rory, to another hen who needed a rest between clutches and put successful, Chitter, in with Bella. He got the job done! Hurray!

It's unusual for a hen to only lay two eggs. She laid a third, but it was very tiny. Realizing it wasn't any good, she pushed it away. I have no idea why they sometimes lay tiny eggs, but that's better than when they have one too large to pass and egg binding is the result. (There's more on egg-binding in previous posts).

We have to watch this pair very closely. If you've been following this blog, you will remember that one pair were prone to injuring their young and their babies had to be pulled and handfed. I moved each of the parents to other mates. This is the male, Chitter, from that pair. Is Chitter the "bad" parent?  He successfully raised three babies in another household with a different hen before I acquired him.

The potentially "bad" hen's history is different. She also had a clutch in another household (not the same place) with a different mate. Only one egg hatched, and that baby died too. I didn't see it, so I don't know if it was savaged or died a natural death. If she is successful with the so-far unsuccessful Rory, she will have to be watched too. More so, if Chitter successfully raises his clutch with Bella.

After years of raising Bourkes, to find a "bad" parent is very unusual and highly unlikely. Most are very attentive and sweet-natured birds. I'm eager to see which one of the two it was, as there were no other birds in their cage with them.

Bella, on the other hand, is fiercely protective of her eggs and baby. Just peek into her nest box as I just did, and she scolds and hisses. Many of my hens are so used to me that I can pick them up and look under them if I want to, and they don't get at all flustered.

Bird at Left:  "Somebody tried to help catch me who isn't an experienced bird person. They grabbed and I got away, but lost my tail! It will grow back, but now they call me Stumpy!" Frown.

P.S. Although Stumpy's photo was taken today, the photo above is of Bonnie, not Bella. Since this is Bella's first successful clutch it's understandable that she's wary of intrusion into her nest box. I'm being very careful with her.  Bonnie is an experienced mom and accepts my "visits" as routine  and no big deal. Smile.

Peace & Blessings,
and if you put all your eggs in the same basket, may they all hatch anyway!

1 comment:

neversink7 said...

so true. I had hoped my turquoisine pair would finally breed for me. The hen was sick a couple months ago but recovered well within 2 weeks. They were mating and finally when I suspect she was laying eggs, she got very sick, worse than last time, and I had to pull her. She's recovering slowly on antibiotics after a visit to the avian vet. One egg was laid. I decided to try to incubate myself. We'll see what happens. The hen will be resting for the rest of the year. Our best intentions for our breeding birds so often gets derailed, but so worth it when they succeed with healthy babies.