It is breeding season!
The time we most look forward to but at the same time the most stressful time for us as bird caretakers. Unfortunately, there is no recipe for success, I would prefer to say otherwise.
What we can do is do the best for the birds and gather and share as much knowledge as possible to be well prepared.
In this blog I would like to share with you some ideas and solutions that we apply when the situation occurs. Hopefully we can help you a little.
The egg has cracked
And of course, it’s always the fertile egg :-S… The first thing we have to do is to examine whether the membrane has also broken. If this is the case there is unfortunately nothing we can do about it.
If the membrane is intact it might be an option to take it out of the nest and incubate the egg in an incubator:
Disinfect the incubator and clean the egg well. Use nail polish to seal the crack. Be aware: Only use organic nail polish! Then gently blow the nail polish dry so that it does not stick to the incubator. Pay attention to the weight of the egg, it will probably need a different moisture percentage compared to other eggs.
When the crack appeared, it also formed a path for bacteria, so it is possible that the embryo dies at a later stage.
Changing the diet
The diet of some softbills needs to be changed when the eggs hatch. It is necessary to enrich the diet with a protein source. These birds are very clever and will only choose the tasty things in their food, with the result that not all the important ingredients may be given to the babies. We make a porridge with all the necessary ingredients and mix it well. This works perfectly for us and the birds eat it with pleasure.
Checking the nest box
The best way to check a nest box is from the outside or with cameras. Unfortunately, this is not always possible so we have to check a nest box from close by. We do this to see how many eggs there are, but also to check the fertility.
Make sure that the birds do not see you while you are checking! If they see you, there is a chance that they will reject the eggs. If you have the possibility, close them inside or outside, depending on where the nest is, check it and open the window or door again.
Use foster parents
Some birds are great at raising their offspring, but others have too little experience or are simply not good at it. Foster parenting can be a good alternative to hand-rearing in this case. Make sure that the foster parents are suitable for raising the babies in terms of diet and behaviour. Place the egg in the new nest without the foster parents seeing it. Normally, the egg will be accepted without any problems.
Ringing the young ones
Ring the birds in time and in the nest. With softbills this can be a challenge. Often the babies are thrown out of the nest because the rings are very shiny. Use some Leucotape which you put over the ring so that it looks more like the skin of the leg. As soon as the bird wants to fly out, you should remove the tape.
These were the tips!
We hope these tips can help you get through this busy but also rewarding and fun time. If you still have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help!