Birds can begin laying and incubating eggs from the early age of six months and continue laying eggs for up to ten years. The ability to lay eggs does not depend on a male bird being present. The male bird is only required to fertilize the egg. Some bird species do not require a male bird to fertilize their eggs.
Infertile bird eggs
Infertile bird eggs can be a nuisance to bird owners
Excessive egg laying can be risky for a small birds health.
Birds in the wild can lay up to 20 eggs each year. Birds housed in large aviaries that are fed a diet similar to wild birds can lay and incubate up to twenty eggs per year.
Seed fed birds kept in small aviaries may develop health problems and poor feather display. Birds kept in a small cage will not lay as many eggs as free flight birds.
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Egg shapes may become distorted due to a lack of calcium. This can occur in fertile or infertile eggs and hatching distorted eggs should be avoided. The failure rate for small birds and large birds can be high.
Hatching bird eggs
For the bird to lay a correctly shaped egg it must produce a large amount of calcium carbonate.
Depletion of the calcium carbonate that a bird stores in its legs can leave the bird weak and vulnerable to disease and illness.
The birds feather and down covering will also suffer leaving the bird with a ruffled appearance.
If the bird is housed in a large aviary and the pet owner wants to discourage egg laying then clipping a birds wing to prevent the bird from finding suitable nesting area will help to prevent laying. Small aviaries are easier to manage
A diet containing little fat will also discourage the bird from egg laying.
If the bird has produced a clutch of eggs that are infertile, do not remove the bird eggs from the nest. Allow the bird to attempt incubation of the egg and prevent the laying of fresh eggs.
Altering a birds habitat can be disturbing for birds and may prevent egg laying.
If warmth is being supplied to the nesting area relocate the heating source.
The unfamiliar habitat will create unease for your bird and discourage egg laying.
Items that stimulate the bird should be removed from the enclosure. This will reduce the desire to start egg laying. Stroking or petting your pet should be resisted.
Hormones can also be used to help in restricting egg laying by the bird.
Remove any nesting box or nest that the bird may have built.
If there are secluded areas within the aviary remove them to prevent the bird from building a nest.
To stimulate laying, reverse the previous suggestions for preventing egg laying by the bird.
The first egg produced by the bird should be removed from the nest.
Removing the first egg will induce the bird into laying numerous eggs.
Keep disturbance to the birds nest and nesting area to the minimum.
Bird eggs that require checking for fertility can be candled for embryo development.
If there is a sufficient quantity of eggs available, a single egg can be opened for inspection of the yokes germinal spots.
When selecting bird eggs for artificial incubation select bird eggs that are clean and have a good color and shape.
The weight of the bird egg can also be used to indicate its suitability for incubation.
A bird egg shell that is not perfect in shape and appearance should be discarded unless the bird species is rare or valuable.
Bird egg colors
The shapes and coloring of birds eggs can differ between species.
Inspection of the style of nest built by the bird and the terrain are good indicators for determining the type of bird egg.The color or shape of the egg can also be a guide to the species of bird.
Feathers around the nest may help in the identification of the species of bird eggs.
The position that the bird eggs have been deposited are also a good indicator to the birds species.
Hatched bird eggs
Egg shapes can vary from a round ball to eggs that have an oval shape.
Eggs that have a white color tend to belong to bird species that lay eggs in dark or enclosed positions.
Coloring the egg for camouflage protection is not required as the eggs are hidden from the view of predators.
Hatched birds do not display the same color as the coloring on the bird eggs. The exception to this is white colored egg often hatches a white chick.
Bird egg colours
Birds that make a nest in exposed areas lay eggs that are coloured for camouflage protection.
The colouring of the eggs is not uniform for birds of the same species as environmental factors have a bearing on the egg colours.
Birds in desert regions tend to lay eggs that are colored a sandy shade while the same species of bird that inhabit areas close to mountainous regions may display grainy shades.
A variety of bird egg colors is prevalent in the bird population.
The size of the bird does not dictate the egg color or shape.
Small birds produce the same variety and shape of eggs that larger birds produce.
The (colouring) coloring of birds eggs
Colors in bird eggs are produced by the breaking down of the birds blood pigments. Blood pigments will produce eggs with a light brown up to black shades of coloring in the eggs.
Bile pigments will produce colours with shades of blue and green in bird eggs.
The thickness of the bird egg shell depends on the species and habitat.
The weight of an egg shell can be up to 30 percent of the total egg weight.
Patterns in the colour of bird eggs are controlled by the passage of the egg through the birds body.
Birds have the ability to slow the passage of the egg to produce full egg colours.
Other bird species can rotate the egg to produce swirls and spots of colours.
Bird egg shells
Bird egg shells are produced by extracting calcium carbonate from the birds food source. The calcium carbonate can be stored in the birds legs until required for the production of bird egg shells.
Although an egg shell may appear to be solid it actually has thousands of tiny pores or ventilation holes spread throughout the shell.
The pores are required to expel gases from an incubating egg and return air that allows the embryo to breath.
The yolk of a birds egg can weigh up to 50 percent of the total bird egg weight.
Incubating small bird eggs
Incubating bird eggs require rotation periodically to provide an even heat distribution throughout the egg.
The embryo will normally orientate itself to the correct position during incubation if left unhindered.
The embryo of the bird egg sits to the top of the egg during incubation and it can be in danger of being damaged when egg rotation occurs.
The birds egg yoke is restrained from damaging the embryo by two tendrils or springs called challaza which hold the yoke in its correct position.
Veterinarians and bird breeders now believe that small and large birds in the wild or captivity rotate the eggs to allow for the developing chick to reach the nutrients that are stored in the egg.
Rotating the egg will also reposition the embryo out of any waste matter that may have accumulated from the consumed nutrients within the egg.
warming small birds
To keep your birds warm a suitable heater that is weather proof will be required.
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The small bird heaters can operate on battery power
bird egg incubating
Transporting fertile bird eggs and transporting incubating bird eggs requires two different heat settings.
Fertile incubating eggs that need transportation should have a temperature that approximates the storage temperature of the fertile egg.
Fertile bird eggs that have begun to incubate require transportation at the same temperature that was set at the start the egg incubation.
If eggs are retrieved from a nest then the temperature should be identical to the birds nest temperature.