Hatching a lovebird egg is the most difficult stage of lovebird breeding. If you are new then it can be quite difficult for you. Regardless, this is an incredibly exciting moment for the beloved bird owner. Care is required to raise healthy birds. If you don’t do it right, you are doomed to failure.
For a successful hatching temperature, humidity and turning are the key factors. For lovebirds incubation period lasts for 22-25 days and at a temperature of 95 °F (Table 1). The typical clutch size for lovebirds is 4-6 but they can lay up to 12 eggs. Additionally, lovebirds are frequent egg layers and can lay up to 5-6 clutches per year.
Here are some methods and factors to consider while hatching lovebirds’ eggs at home.
Some considerations to follow
Keep a few things in mind before proceeding to hatch eggs.
Check whether eggs are fertile or not
You are excited and want to have new babies ASAP but before proceeding make sure that the egg is fertile or not. Fresh, clean and fertile eggs lead to a successful hatch. Unfertilized eggs result when the couple is of the same sex or the male lovebird is too young to mate properly. Make sure you get a proven pair (male and female).
Consult your doctor for a DNA test. Also, check the dark spot in the middle of the egg for spider-like veins. These veins show DNA for chicks. Also take proper care of your pet’s health, nutrition and general health to avoid stress. These factors greatly affect the fertility rate. Consult commercial hatcheries for high-quality fertilized eggs.
Safety precautions for handling and storage of eggs
You should handle the eggs carefully after collection. Storing the eggs for three days makes them suitable for incubation. Storing eggs at low temperatures increases embryo mortality. The temperature should be between 55 and 65°F and the relative humidity should be at 75%.
Store eggs for a maximum of 10 days as fertility drops drastically after 10 days of storage. Handle them with great care. Use a fine cloth or prefer a special egg wash powder instead of cleaning dirty eggs. If you want to store the eggs for more than 10 days, tilt them at a 90-degree angle once or twice daily.
Methods of Incubation
When we talk about lovebird eggs incubation and hatching, we simply have two options. One is to let the mother do her job and the other is to provide heat to the egg by some artificial means. In other words, you can provide heat by Incubation device or you give the mother a chance to incubate eggs.
Below are two methods of incubation.
1- Incubation Without an Incubator
In this method, we focus on natural ways of providing heat to eggs. This can be accomplished easily if you focus on the mother lovebird and prepare her to incubate eggs. Sometimes lovebirds break their eggs, you can control them too.
How to encourage my lovebird to sit on the eggs?
Provide a suitable nesting area with nesting material. Keep it as stress-free as possible. If your lovebird is new and this is her first clutch, it may be due to inexperience. You can’t force her to lay eggs. They also can not be laid. Most birds do not begin incubating until the clutch is laid. Give it at least a week.
Keep in mind that there are some risks associated with this move. Your affectionate and friendly lovebird can become egg bound. They can protect their nest and will be aggressive during this process. In this case, you have to take better care of their health. Do not interfere with them. Create a regular cleaning schedule during the growing season.
How to help lovebirds during the breeding time?
If you want healthy parents and young, take better care of cute birds. Feed them a whole food diet consisting of fresh green vegetables, fruits, seeds and pellets. Give them due attention in all respects but try not to disturb them. Avoid giving them only one dose per day. Hens should be placed on calcium supplements to compensate for the deficiency caused by laying eggs.
This is a very difficult time for lovers. Especially in captivity, the human owner has a responsibility to make their breeding experience smooth and easy. Add essential vitamins to their food or drink but no more than 5 times a week. Add protein in the form of beans and legumes to help hens form chicks.
When baby lovebird chicks are hatched?
Lovebirds lay eggs for 3 to 10 days. Sometimes they wait to put on a full clutch. But usually start incubation after laying 4-6 eggs. The female only performs incubation duties. Eggs hatch after 20-22 days and chicks may take 24 hours to hatch. It is advisable not to interfere with the natural hatching process.
Do not handle chicks for 4 weeks. Dispose of dead chicks and unhatched eggs. The mother will breastfeed the babies for 6-8 weeks. Chicks usually take 4 weeks to fledge. Lovebirds also kill their babies, here is the solution.
What if eggs are not hatched after 21 days?
Eggs usually take 20-22 days to hatch. If your pet bird’s eggs are still not hatching after 22 days, throw them away. Your birds may be less than 10 months old or not well-fed. Females release unfertilized eggs after 3 weeks. Lovebirds are great and make great parents.
How much time you should give to new chicks?
The hen is very possessive of the new chicks and does not see them away from her. Don’t take chicks out in front of him. Lovebirds become depressed and may kill their future offspring. Try to build confidence by taking chicks for a while. Handling and familiarizing new chicks is also important so try to strike a balance between the two.
Another method of hatching without an incubator is to provide the egg with the correct balance of temperature, humidity and circulation. It is not recommended due to low survival rate.
2-Hatching lovebirds with the help of an Incubator
The incubator is a device that provides an accurate heat source to eggs along with specified humidity and rotation. Different types of incubators are available in the market from semi to fully automatic.
Why incubator, as the mother takes better care?
Incubator provides uniform heat and increases the likelihood of survival by 50%. Without an incubator, you can approximate the conditions with close monitoring but is time-consuming and not efficient enough to choose. Without an incubator time control becomes difficult. Even a 1 degree Celsius change can be fatal to the embryo.
Other reasons for using incubators are as follows
- Chicks may get depressed and destroy their own eggs. That’s why use some alternative means to hatch eggs
- The incubator can hatch more eggs.
- You can check the fertility of eggs and better control other aspects as well.
Two to three days before incubation
Wash and sanitize the incubator. Run the incubator for 2-3 days before inoculating the eggs. If you are using an automatic incubator, check well whether it is working normally or not. Check the temperature and relative humidity. Also, test the turner properly. Check if the reading is stable or not as setting after laying the eggs can slow down the baby’s development.
Clean and disinfect all equipment after each hatch. Use a commercial disinfectant powder to clean incubators, hatchers and racks. This practice significantly increases hatchability.
Before setting eggs in the incubator
Warm the stored eggs at room temperature before setting them. Setting cold eggs can lead to condensation that results in possible suffocation or contamination. After 4 hours adjust the temperature to 99.5 °F. A variation of .5 is justifiable.
Set the larger head of the egg slightly higher so that head of the chick remains close to the air cell. Air cell lies in the larger part of the egg.
Setting stage for incubation up to hatching time
The incubation period lasts for 20-21 days, 2-3 days before hatching. Use separate units for incubation and hatching. Turn 3-5 times per 24 hours and a maximum of 1 time per hour are best.
Regular turning keeps the embryo alive and promotes uniform growth. Especially, the first 10 days are critical with respect to turning.
Set the relative humidity at 58-62 during incubation and 66-74 during hatch time. Ensure adequate amount of oxygen supply through ventilation. Carefully measure dry and wet bulb temperature during the last 3rd of incubation.
Record the incubator environment regularly. This practice helps to ensure proper working and detect the problems before the hatch is ruined.
Candling is observing egg content by flashlight Alive embryos appear as a dark spot in the center surrounded by district bloodlines. while the dead embryo sometimes appears as a ring or smear of blood. Also, the infertile egg transmits more light. This observation can be confirmed after 8 to 12 days of incubation.
Finally the hatching stage
This period consists of the last 2-3 days after incubation. Place eggs at proper hatching place if available. If not then use cloth or rough paper. Do not touch the water or heating element. Reduce the temperature by 1°F and increase relative humidity. Don’t interfere in the natural hatching process.
We humans can only make approximations of needed environmental factors without any help. That’s why hatching using an incubator is recommended. It is a long and tedious process but baby lovebirds are so charming and beautiful that their look instantly fades away any sign of discomfort.
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