Hatching a lovebird’s egg is the most tricky step of breeding lovebirds. If you’re new then it could be quite challenging for you. Regardless of that, it is an incredibly exciting moment for a lovebird owner. It needs meticulous care to hatch healthy birds. You’re vulnerable to failure if you don’t do it correctly.
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’re excited and want to see new hatchlings ASAP but before preceding further make sure the egg is fertile or not. Fresh, clean, and fertile eggs lead to a successful hatch. The unfertile eggs result if the couple has the same gender or the male lovebird is too young to mate in the right way. Make sure you’ve proven pair (male and female).
Consult with your vet to take a DNA test. Also, check the dark spot in the middle of the egg to see spider-like veins. These veins show the DNA for the chicks. Also take proper care of lovebirds’ health, nutrition, and general well-being to avoid stress. These factors greatly affect the fertility rate. Approach commercial hatcheries for high-quality fertilized eggs.
Safety precautions for handling and storage of eggs
You should handle eggs carefully after they are collected. Storing eggs for three days enables them for incubation. Storing eggs at proper temperature increases the mortality rate of the embryo. The temperature should be between 55 to 65 °F and relative humidity should be at 75%.
Store eggs for a maximum of 10 days as fertility decrease drastically after 10 days of storage. Handle them with great care. Use a fine cloth or clean soiled eggs rather prefer specialized egg wash powder. Tilt the eggs at a 90-degree angle once or twice daily if you want to store them for more than 10 days.
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.
How to encourage my lovebird to sit on the eggs?
Provide an adequate nesting site with nesting material. Keep her as stress-free as possible. If your lovebird is new and it’s her first clutch then inexperience may be the reason. You can’t force her to lay on the eggs. She may also not be done laying. Most birds do not begin incubating until the clutch is laid. Give her at least a week
Bear in mind that this undertaking has some risks attached. Your loving and friendly lovebird may become egg-bound. They may become protective of their nest and will remain aggressive throughout this process. In this case, you have to take better care of their health. Don’t interfere with them. Make a fixed cleaning schedule during the breeding season.
How to help lovebirds during the breeding time?
Take better care of lovebirds if you want healthy parents and young ones. Provide them whole food consisting of fresh green vegetables, fruits, seeds, and pellets. Give them proper attention in all respects but try not to irritate them. Avoid giving them just a single food daily. Hens should be placed on calcium supplements to compensate for the deficiency caused by laying eggs.
It is a very tough time for lovebirds. Especially in captivity, the human owner is responsible to make their breeding experience smooth and easy. Add essential vitamins to their food or drink but 5 times a week, not more than that. Add proteins in the form of legumes and beans to help hen supply it to chicks-in-formation.
When baby lovebird chicks are hatched?
Lovebirds lay eggs from 3-10 days. Sometimes they wait to lay full clutch. But usually start incubating them after 4-6 eggs are laid. The female solely performs the incubation duty. Hatch time comes after 20-22 days and chicks can take as long as 24 hours to leave the eggshell. It is advised not to interfere in the natural hatching process.
Don’t handle chicks with hands for up to 4 weeks. Dispose of dead chicks and unhatched eggs. The mother will feed the babies for 6-8 weeks. Chicks usually take 4 weeks to fledge.
What if eggs are not hatched after 21 days?
Eggs usually take 20-22 days to hatch. If your lovebird’s eggs are not hatching even after 22 days then throw them away. Your birds may be younger than 10 months or not mated well. Females abandon unfertile eggs after 3 weeks. Lovebirds are very prolific and good parents.
How much time you should give to new chicks?
Hen is very possessive about the new chick and doesn’t see them away from her. Don’t take chicks out in front of her sight. Lovebirds get depressed and might kill their future offspring. Try to build trust by taking chicks for small amounts of time. Taming and familiarizing with new chicks is also important so try to create a balance between the two.
Another way of hatching without an incubator is to provide eggs with a correct balance of temperature, humidity, and rotation. It is not recommended due to the 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 setting the eggs. If you’re using an automatic incubator then check thoroughly whether it is functioning normally or not. Check the temperature and relative humidity. Also, test the turner properly. Check whether its reading is stable or not because setting after placing eggs can reduce hatchability.
Clean and disinfect all the equipment after each hatch. Use 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 keeping and handling t monitor eggs
Record the incubator environment regularly. This practice helps to ensure proper working and detect the problems before the hatch is ruined.
Candelling 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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