about eggs

by ananya roy
(,barrackpore,west bengal,india)

hi jeanie,

how can i understand if eggs are fertile or ready to hatch, without candling them?i feel nervous about holding their eggs with my hands,(they are so delicate and tiny,i am afraid that they might break). also my birds are scared to death if i disturb their nest. the best i can do without upsetting them is to peep from outside. they allow that a lot. is there any change in the physical appearance of the eggs which i can detect from outside? they are incubating the eggs seriously for about 17 days. i have noticed the eggs are very shiny and reddish in color.is that a good sign? please let me know in details.
thank you.

Hi Ananya,

Please excuse me. Sometimes I forget what it felt like to have my first pair. Please try to relax. Be confident. Think about how much you have learned already and how well you have provided for your pair. I think that will help your birds to relax too. I like to keep a breeding cage covered on all sides except the front just to help the parents to be calm. With only one side open, the pair only have to watch that one side for any predators. If your birds are using a nest box that hangs on the outside of the cage, checking on the eggs and chicks is much easier than having a little nest that hangs inside the cage. Both types will be acceptable to your pair. I will count the day that the first egg is layed as one. On day ten or eleven I will open the back of my nest box and just hold a pen light flashlight, (like nurses use to check our eyes), up against each egg in the nest. At that time if the eggs are viable I will see lots of tiny red blood vessels in the eggs. It looks like a teenie tiny road map inside. If I need to remove an egg to see better or because I suspect a problem, I will use an every day teaspoon and scoop up one at a time. If the parents are calm and I don't notice any odd behaviour, I will wait until the twenty-first day to look inside or to listen for the chicks. They all hatch early in the morning on the same day and start peeping right away.
You ask about the appearance of the eggs. If they look drab, grayish or lack luster they probably aren't alive, but I pretty much know that's not the best way to judge. A viable egg will look like it did the day it was layed. After a while you will have a better feel for what's going on in an egg, but after twenty-one days and no hatchlings, I will remove the eggs.
Good Luck, Jeanie

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