Talk Budgies Forums banner
Not open for further replies.
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

· Member of the Month March 2011
18,859 Posts
Fostering Budgie Chicks And Eggs Safely

Fostering Budgie Chicks and Eggs Safely

As budgie owners who chose to set up our budgies to breed, we want to have the best outcome possible :) Each life is precious, and if we can help to save a chick it is going to be our top priority! One of the biggest we can do to help safe a developing egg or hatched budgie chick is by fostering them to another pair when they are being neglected, or abused by their parents.

Fostering successfully requires knowledge of what to do, and not do. Here we will go over some of the essential things to do before you move any egg or chick to a new foster parent! :thumbsup:

Most budgies make excellent parents.
Unless you absolutely need too, there is no reason to move eggs
or chicks around from nest to nest. Why? Because keeping nests separate will help prevent any unexpected bacteria or virus outbreaks from infecting more than one nest.

There are, however, some circumstances in which it is very wise to foster eggs or chicks to another pair.
Some of these include:

Your pair is in poor health, or on a poor diet
A large clutch of 7 or more chicks
The chicks are being plucked
The chicks are not being fed well
The female dies during the incubation period, or when the chicks are too young for the male to carefor and still need heat from mom (younger that 2 weeks).
The hen abandons the clutch
The hen laid an irregular clutch, causing excessively large age gaps between the chicks hatch dates.

Unless you are prepared with a brooder, the hand feeding supplies and the experience needed to keep the eggs and chicks alive without their budgie parents these are just a few of the most common examples of why urgent fostering is needed.

Aggression, neglect and plucking should never be taken lightly. Immediate action should be taken right away to get the babies out of harm's way, and into a safe situation. We will now consider some details of when, and how to foster successfully when one of these circumstances comes up.

Have The Eggs Been Incubated Yet?

Before fostering eggs, it is important to consider if the foster hen is actually incubating the eggs in her box as of yet.
A hen can be sitting in her box all day, and even physically sitting over the eggs without actually incubating them. Incubation requires skin on egg contact,and many hens wait until 3 or more eggs are laid before beginning to incubate seriously, despite spending a lot of time in the box. Some hens will start incubating from the first egg, and some will not start until the last egg.
You will need to know each of your individual hens, and what they prefer to do as there are no hard and fast rules in this regard.

It is also important to remember though that an egg will not begin to develop unless it is incubated. For this reason you can remove a freshly laid fertile egg before it is incubated if you have a good reason to do so, and as long as you keep it in a room with a steady cooler temperature and turn it once a day to prevent it from settling on one side. It will remain viable for up to two weeks and develop normally as soon as it is placed under a hen to be incubated.

If you are fostering eggs that have already begun to develop from incubation, however, it is essential that you give them to a hen that is actively incubating.
These eggs will need a steady heat source right away to keep the embryo from dying.
A developing budgie chick can chill to death in as little as 30 minutes in an average home, and even quicker if the temperature is is 70 degrees or less so use plenty of caution during the transfer process from one hen to another, and be very careful about the egg/egg/chick temperature as we will discuss further below.

Pay Careful Attention To The Temperature Of The Eggs And Chicks

If someone put something cold on your stomach would you notice? Obviously you would be able to tell immediately! Do you think your budgie hen will notice any less? If she has a nest full of warm chicks and eggs rest assured she us going to be able to tell if you stick a cold egg or chick in her box, and she could possibly then toss it out.

Why is this? In order to maintain the eggs and the chicks at the right temperature a budgie hen has whatis called a "brood patch". This is an area of bare skinon the lower belly with lots of extra blood vessels to pass body heat directly from her body to her babies.
Many people mistakenly think that a budgie can smell an egg or chick that is not hers, when in reality they set the fostering up for failure by putting a cold
egg or chick in her box which is painfully obvious.
For this reason, it is essential to warm any eggs or chicks if they are not being transferred directly from one hen to another.
How can you warm the eggs and chicks? Very carefully, and very slowly to avoid shock to the developing egg or hatched chick.
After washing your hands very well hold the egg or chick gently in your warm hands. This will slowly warm the chick/egg to at least your body temperature, which while it is still colder than your hen will not be so obvious.

Again though especially with eggs, please be sure to use a natural soap and wash, wash and then wash again before handling them.
Eggs are porous, and will absorb any residue or oils on your hands, so be as clean and sanitary as possible if you need to handle them.

Once they feel nice and warm to the touch, carefully place them into your fosters nest. If the hen immediately goes in and incubates the eggs/chicks it is an excellent sign that she has accepted them as her own. Keep a close eye on her for at least an hour or so to make sure she does not reject them. If after this amount of time she is still caring for them as her own, the odds are very slim that you will have any problems after this period.

How Many Eggs/Chicks Does The Potential Foster Pair Already Have?

If you are intending on the foster pair to actually raiseany eggs/chicks you are planning on giving them, you need to consider if they can actually raise them and if it is wise to do so with any potential age gaps between their eggs/chicks and the ones you will be adding.

While it is true that budgies can raise large numbers of chicks with an exceptional diet, not every pair is able to do so in terms of health or stamina.

You will need to take into consideration any large age gaps of the potential chicks that have already hatched, or will be hatching soon.

An ideal clutch size is 4-6. If a potential foster pair already has this number of fertile eggs or hatched chicks, adding an additional burden of fosters should be used as a last resort only. A hen can only fit so many eggs under her body to incubate properly.

If you have a pair that have laid an infertile clutch, or only have a few chicks this would be an ideal foster situation!

Take Into Consideration The Incubation Time Of The Eggs And The Eggs Of The Chicks

There is a natural time period for most clutches from beginning to end, and for the average clutch the egg laying/incubating is timed perfectly. Many hens will not start incubating their eggs until 3 or so eggs are laid and since the average clutch is 5-6, the age difference of most chicks in any given clutch is less than a week between the oldest and youngest. This is a perfect age range where the chicks can develop very close to each other.

While most hens will take on any additional eggs or chicks you give them when done properly, it is very important to consider the age gaps between the eggs
in development or chicks if they are already hatched if all of the chicks are to survive.

Some Ideal Fostering Examples For Eggs:

A hen that has laid an infertile clutch
A hen that only had a few fertile eggs, which have lessthan a weeks time difference in development from the ones you would like to foster
If the development gap is large, you have another pair to foster the chicks to once they hatch if needed.

Some Ideal Fostering Examples For Chicks:

Your pair has only a few chicks of close age to the
foster chicks
The age difference is big between the oldest and youngest potential foster chick, but you are planning on pulling the oldest chicks for hand feeding at the
time of fostering the younger ones to your pair
Having too large of an age gap between the chicks as they hatch and develop can create a number of problems.

1 - 1 of 1 Posts
Not open for further replies.