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Thread: Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

  1. #1
    Who needs T.V with an aviary? Egg's Cracking... LiLRebelWW's Avatar
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    Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

    Hi everyone. I have some questions about normal hen and cock behavior during the egg incubation period.

    1.) My hen is on her third egg, and I suspect that another one will be laid tomorrow from the look of her vent. She began to incubate after the second egg was laid and comes out of her nestbox approximately every half hour to dispose of her droppings. However, during her brief outings she is not eating. She takes only a few licks off of her mineral block....becomes agitated after a minute out of the box and frantically rushes back in to incubate the eggs. I have noticed the cock feeding her only a few times a day at most (not much) and only when she comes out. I am getting extremely worried about her lack of food intake and calcium intake. I am wondering if this is normal? Should I have cause for concern? If so, do you have any suggestions on how to get her to eat more?

    2.) My next question is for much further down the road (provided that these eggs are even fertile because it is her first clutch). My flock is 8 birds total, including her and the papa. When is it safe to introduce the new babies to the rest of the flock? What kind of problems may I encounter when I do so? How aggressive are the other birds to new baby additions?


    Thank you so much for your help!!! I am sure that I will have many more questions before this experience is through. It's really exciting , but I can barely sleep at night because I am so worried about every detail....lol
    Last edited by LiLRebelWW; 03-04-2006 at 11:09 AM.
    11 lil' budgies sitting in a tree....and RIP my little angels: Synth, Tre, Ion and Cinque.

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    Next bird-English Budgie Tailfeather Pootspete's Avatar
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    Re: Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

    Hi Gina, thank you for your questions. This is not my area of expertise, but I wanted to respond to your post and share your excitement and say that others will be along to help you with your questions!


  3. #3
    Who needs T.V with an aviary? Egg's Cracking... LiLRebelWW's Avatar
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    Re: Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

    Thank you Pootspete. A Saturday probably was not the best time to ask, hehe.
    11 lil' budgies sitting in a tree....and RIP my little angels: Synth, Tre, Ion and Cinque.

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    Good Bye Tailfeather WolfRyder's Avatar
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    Re: Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

    Hey Gina,

    I haven't had any broody birds but I've read stuff, especially in the Tiel forum and I think there's supposed to be a lot of "soft-type" foods available, really close to the nest box. If you have your nestbox in an aviary, the female may feel her eggs are threatened by the other birds and be afraid to leave them for long.

    Finch will better be able to help in that situation because he has an outside aviary.

    But I'd make sure there is a lot of variety of foods really close to her. Soft like rice/grains, beans, veggies.

    Also, if they are in an aviary setting and the male has freedom to go wherever he chooses in there, he won't "hang around" much. I know Hehot and Hotwhenmanic have had to take the "papa bird" over to the mama bird so she can be fed. But they separate their laying couples into individual cages.

    What kind of setup do you have?


    marlsy's daughter, Kelsi(age 13) made this sig for the contest

  5. #5
    Who needs T.V with an aviary? Egg's Cracking... LiLRebelWW's Avatar
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    Re: Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

    I should learn how to post pictures of the set up. I will try to explain it though, just in case I can't figure it out how to post pictures!

    My indoor aviary is about 5 feet wide and 3 1/3 feet tall. The flock usually spends the day on the top of the cage where various play gyms are set up. I chose to put the nest box on the top of the cage where she is comfortable. I have placed another smaller cage on top of the nest box and have left the large door on it open. I had to do this becuase I believe one of my females was starting trouble with the female trying to lay. Yet The other birds, male and female would *still* not leave her alone (hens starting fights and one of the other males trying to mate with her). Because of this I had to take it a step further and I was forced to then confine the other birds in the cage during the incubation period. Since I had to do this, I also had to lock the daddy bird out of the cage with the mom and nestbox. A few times during the day, I will let the other birds out on top of the cage for excercise. I then will close the door on the smaller cage on top where the nest box is located and where she is brooding. I babysit the nestbox cage and let her out when she comes out of the box and then let her back in. This is only about an hour a day though. The rest of the time the other birds are confined in the aviary below..and she is free to come and go on top of the aviary without the other birds around and the dad remains locked on the top of the aviary with her. I know that probably sounds confusing though, hehe.

    As far as food goes, I have soft Beak Appetite in a plate, a cuttlebone, a mineral block, salad sprouts, carrots, wheatgrass, a leaf of romaine lettuce, a honey treat bar, a piece of whole wheat bread, and seed made for breeding times. I have tried to give her everything but she is not interested =(. It all goes bad within an hour or two. Daddy bird is nice and plump though, haha! Not once have I seen her drink a drop of water either...

    I have to say though, that I think the Dad is being better about feeding her today. I have also seen her nibble at the mineral block a little more. However, she still refuses to drink or eat anything by herself...and I am worried for her health still.
    Last edited by LiLRebelWW; 03-04-2006 at 02:18 PM.
    11 lil' budgies sitting in a tree....and RIP my little angels: Synth, Tre, Ion and Cinque.

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    Good Bye Tailfeather WolfRyder's Avatar
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    Re: Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

    Arg, I read what I wrote and I meant, Brooding, not broody...

    I have had a "broody" hen and when she's broody (she's only laid one egg, but I almost lost her last month to egg peritonitis) she really won't eat much, expecting the other birds to feed her. Which, suprisingly enough, the males will.

    The chosen boyfriend feeds her the most but the others will feed her too. It's the strangest thing I've ever seen.

    How far does she have to go to get to the food (which sounds great, by the way) and water? If it where me I'd put a water dish/bottle right by the nest box so she can easily reach it.

    but I think if the male is feeding her, she's getting some fluid too.


    marlsy's daughter, Kelsi(age 13) made this sig for the contest

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    Re: Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

    It seems that you are doing everything fine. The female will rarely be able to get a full meal by herself, the male does most of her feedings. The other hens will try hard to take her box away and it usually ends in bloody fights. Other males will also continously try to mate with her. It is best to keep them seperated into another cage like you have them unless every pair has a box. Keep trying with the different foods also even if she doesnt eat it yet... she should when the babies hatch and the demand for food is greater.

    Good luck!

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    Re: Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

    to your first question what she is doing is normal, the male is feeding her, what you want to do is increase on the soft foods like whole wheat/grain bread which i buy at my local thrift bread store, also you may want to introduce spray millet along with some petimine or peep breeding fomula if the store is out of petimine breeder you can also use petimine nestling, either one works great you will find those items at your local pet store,
    Karen

  9. #9
    Who needs T.V with an aviary? Egg's Cracking... LiLRebelWW's Avatar
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    Re: Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

    ---WolfRyder, I feel a lot better knowing that she is getting fluids if the male feeds her. I have also misted her with water once or twice a day when she comes out (not enough so she would chill the eggs though). This prompts her into licking a few water droplets from the cage. too, which is good news!

    --Finch, it is awful when I have the other birds on the cage and she comes out. One male wouldn't leave her alone for one-second which confounded the problem of her eating anything at all when she came out. When she came out, I felt like I had to be a body guard to some "birdie star" lol. They all swarmed her like they wanted autographs. Pretty funny.

    --Birdsmile, I am relieved to hear that all is normal with her actions. I tried the millet, and she will eat the spray millet from my hand if the dad is not around, so at least I have found a food she will for sure eat. It is better than nothing. It's good to see another member from Michigan! Are you in the lower part of the state too?

    Thank you for the responses. The Dad seems to be fulfilling his role better the last two days. Perhaps it took a day or two for his instinct to kick in a little more. I have also noticed that he seems to be a much better 'dad' when I allow him to sleep in the cage at night with the other birds. I let him out in the morning to be with the mom, and he has a good attitude now. He is used to sleeping in the cage next to his...err....boyfriend, and I think it stressed him out to be separated from him at night. I can't let him sleep in the cage when the chicks come though, I know that.
    11 lil' budgies sitting in a tree....and RIP my little angels: Synth, Tre, Ion and Cinque.

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    Re: Normal for incubating Mom not to eat much?

    Detroit area

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