how can i take out eggs without disturbing hatchlings

by Jack
(Los Angeles)

Hi Jean I hope all is well. My goulds hatched out their babies about 4 days ago. Awesome! As i look into the nest today i can see at least one egg under the hen that was probably infertile that didn't hatch. i have a bamboo wicker covered finch nest and was wondering what is an appropriate way to take out the bad egg(s) without breaking it, because they have no access door like nest boxes it's really tricky and tight inside (see Attached Picture). I would prefer to leave it in there until the hatchlings fledge then take them out because i dont want to upset the parents with trying to reach down inside the nest and pull it out. But on the other hand i'm worried about disease from the bad egg(s) that might become rancid inside the nest for that long until they fledge. Plus i dont know if all the hatchlings survived, out of 6 eggs i could only varify one bad egg and two live hatchlings (so cute), i guess the rest must be under the hen because they haven't tossed out anything, i don't want any decaying dead babies if any next to my precious hatchlings. the cock and hen alternate turns laying on top of them so i never have a chance to check it out without one or the other brooding and blocking my view. should i intervene if so then whats the proper method you would use so they dont get scared and abandon them, or should i back off, and let them raise their young. Your input is greatly appreciated, thanks in advance for your time.

Hi Jack,

Congratulations on the new chicks! There is no one and only choice regarding eggs that did not hatch. Sometimes, I would leave the un-hatched eggs in the nest. I worried that they would break or otherwise endanger the living chicks. That didn't ever happened. When I have found a dead chick in the nest it has been mummified and not bacterial threat. When I wanted to remove an egg, I would use a small penlight flashlight to get a good idea of what was really in the nest even if it meant disturbing the parents for a couple of seconds or minutes. That did not seem to cause any problems either. When I chose to remove eggs, I would use an iced tea spoon or other long handled spoon to get them out, one at a time. You have done very well for your birds or they would not have given you chicks!!! Trust yourself, Jack, and just go with whatever makes you most comfortable. Your parent birds are not stressed or frantic. I think they will trust you too. In the wild, there is no one to take the left over eggs out. The birds just seem to push those eggs to the sides or perimeter of their nests, just as they do with their poops. For me that is one of the benefits of nest boxes, the back doors make some observations and actions easier, but the wicker ones work just as well I believe. Best Wishes, Jeanie

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