2 week old chicks and new eggs
by Mike Love
I had 2 new chicks hatch 2 weeks ago. They are very healthy and have good parents. The hen has started laying again with them still in the nest. There are 4 eggs as of this morning. She usually lays 6. What should I do about the new eggs?
I have never had that happen, so I cannot tell you from experience. I think you have a couple of choices to make. If you have society finches set up to be foster parents, you could wait until the new clutch was completed and then foster the eggs to the societies. If you don't already have a foster pair there is still enough time to get them and set them up with a nest box to do the fostering. I count the day that the first egg is laid as one and estimate that chicks will hatch 21 days later because I prefer not to disturb the nest again while the hen continues to finish laying her eggs. Another way of counting is to start on the day that the clutch is completed. This is the start of the serious brooding and is more frequently used as the start of the count down to hatching. If this is day one, hatching will be expected to occur in 15-16 days.
Another option, and what I think I would do, would be to do nothing until an obvious problem presents itself. There may not be a problem at all. I have found that when there are only one or two eggs in the nest, that a lot of Gouldian parents will choose to abandon those and start over laying again. Your birds didn't abandon their first two eggs. In another week the chicks you have will be contemplating fledging and soon after that, eating on their own. Hopefully these two milestones will take place before the new eggs hatch. Gouldian chicks seem to treat each other gently, so while it's possible that the older two chicks might break some of the new eggs, I doubt that they will. After the two chicks are able to leave the nest, watch the cock. He might develop some parental aggression and attempt to keep the fledglings from returning to the nest box. Separate the two juveniles as soon as you see that they are no longer being fed by their parents.
Best of Luck to your extra good parent birds and you, Jeanie