hen not sitting on her eggs.

by Panos
(Evros, Greece)

this is my hen's first clutch.

she laid one egg each day for 4 days...then another one 3 days later...and after 2 days one more. and a last egg the day after that(today). it seemed quite random to me.
from the begining the cock was sitting on the eggs the whole day but both parents slept out of the nest box during the nights
at this moment there are 7 eggs in the nest but the started to enter the nest (except for egglaying) just yesterday. but no parent stayed in the nest for the night.
its been ten days since the first egg now.
is this normal behaviour for the hen not to sit on the eggs for ten days even if she was laying eggs till now? is it normal for the cock to stay in the nest all day each day but no night at all?
will they finally start taking care of their eggs during the night?

Hi Panos,

What you described is not, to my mind, normal. Since the eggs are now ten days old, I would use a small pen light flashlight and candle the eggs. If there are lots of tiny red blood vessels inside them, they are viable eggs. Any of the eggs that do not appear to be living should be removed from the nest. I found that the females would stay in the nest boxes at night while the males stayed mostly during the days, so I am not too optimistic about your eggs. I suspect that the parents are returning to the nest box for breeding purposes and will try again. Mostly when I had strange behaviour in a hen, I would give the pair a second chance for success, but after that, I would foster the eggs that were not being cared for. One other thing I would wonder about is the temperature of the nest box. Of all the finches, Gouldians require the most heat. The box needs to be kept in the high 70 or low 80's at all times. Placing a heating pad or a ceramic heat lamp, (like is marketed to reptile owners), near the nest box would be something I would try and monitor the temperature.

Hope this helps, Jeanie

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