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Discussion Starter #1
I am so happy to announce Billie Jean and Stempie have finally started their family! She laid her first egg on Monday, so technically her 4th should have been tomorrow (Sunday) if one was laid every other day, HOWEVER today when I peeked in the nest for my first thorough look, I discovered four eggs. I took a couple quick pictures and got out so as to not disturb too much. I also very quickly touched my pen light to each egg to test for fertility and was able to determine 2 are indeed fertile as of right now.

I will post updates as they happen - I like the idea of documenting their journey to parenthood and here is as good a place as any to do it! :)
 

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Congratulations on the eggs :)

I do see one problem. You need ALOT more bedding in the box. With little bedding the eggs are at risk of getting cracked. And they will not get suffecient heat, and the risks of DIS are higher. When there is plenty of bedding in the box this give the eggs cushion, plus it holds heat and some moisture.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Congratulations on the eggs :)

I do see one problem. You need ALOT more bedding in the box. With little bedding the eggs are at risk of getting cracked. And they will not get suffecient heat, and the risks of DIS are higher. When there is plenty of bedding in the box this give the eggs cushion, plus it holds heat and some moisture.
Agreed!! BUT, they throw EVERYTHING out, just as my previous pair did. I have provided newspaper shreds, pine, cotton shreddable blocks, "hair-like" nesting material and shredded cardboard but all they throw it all out. Suggestions on getting them to leave it in? It seems to upset them for me to place new potental nesting materials in but if I don't they won't take them in the nest.
 

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It seems to upset them for me to place new potental nesting materials in but if I don't they won't take them in the nest.
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I'm not sure what you mean by the above.

If you have about 3" deep of pine shaving in the box it should provide enough cushion. Plus if the nestbox hole is up high in the box they should not be able to kick or shovew the bedding out.

Another problem with no bedding under the chicks is that this greatly increases the risks of splayyed leg.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It seems to upset them for me to place new potental nesting materials in but if I don't they won't take them in the nest.
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I'm not sure what you mean by the above.

If you have about 3" deep of pine shaving in the box it should provide enough cushion. Plus if the nestbox hole is up high in the box they should not be able to kick or shovew the bedding out.

Another problem with no bedding under the chicks is that this greatly increases the risks of splayyed leg.
What I meant was, the pair will take the bedding material and throw it out of the nestbox with their beaks. They spent soooo long before she laid her eggs removing every type of bedding I placed in their nestbox. It seems when I place something new in there, hoping they will accept it better, it irritates them because they set about removing it. When I place the new nesting material outside the box - thinking maybe they want to build their own nest, it just goes unused.

Since she's now incubating, maybe she will accept the pine shavings under her eggs since to remove it would probably not be safe for her eggs. I know splayed legs can be a problem on flat slick surfaces, so I purchased some (this is hard to explain) vet wrap? from my local pet warehouse. It's used over bandages in animals with wounds - it's self-sticking on one side and stretchy on the other side with enough texture to prevent legs from slipping. I made sure it was pet-safe. I planned to wrap a piece of cardboard with it and put it under her just before hatching if she continued to throw out the nesting material.

Of course, this is last resort. I'll attempt to put more nesting material in and see if they will leave it alone. Would sure make me feel better if they would. Thanks for your reply. I appreciate anyone looking out for the better good of the babies!

 

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I use coconut hair that my local bird store sells, that might work. It's harder to throw out because its wrapped together. That might work a little better...
 

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Really? That's the only thing the bird store had....I might have to go find something else!!!
 

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YIKES!!! That is no bueno. I'm going to have to invest in some wood chips or something...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
After placing a new load of pine shavings into the nest box, and carefully replacing the eggs, the pair proceeded to dig a hole all the way to the bottom of the nest box so that they were again on the bottom of the box. I fixed it again, and this time they began throwing the stuff out the hole, but I THINK they have finally decided to leave what's left in there alone. WHEW. I always hold my breath when I check them in the morning hoping they have left well enough alone. They lost one egg deep in the shavings, but I retrieved it and placed it back with the clutch. Although it was cool it wasn't cold so hopefully all is still well inside the egg.

Pictures for today! They now have 5 little bundles-to-be!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thge 2 center eggs defintely look good. The farthest back one is questionable. Have you candled them? Hopefully they will leave the bedding be.

I candled them a few days ago. At that time there were 4 eggs and 2 were easily visible as fertile. I'll check again next time I see them both out for a stretch.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok I had a chance to candle the eggs this morning when mom and dad came out for sprouted beans breakfast! I numbered the clutch in no particular order, but used those same numbers to identify each candled egg.

As you can see, they've dug out more pine shavings. Ugh. Anyway, all but one look easily fertile. The last egg was laid 2 days ago so hopefully it will also be viable.


 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you look at #5, you will notice some shadows on the yolk. Within a day these should start getting red and you will see a heartbeat.

Yay!!! That would be GREAT!!! :) She's due to lay again today if she so desires - although I'd be happy with 5 healthy chicks! Thanks for your input!
 

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They look good!!! The countdown is on...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
If you look at #5, you will notice some shadows on the yolk. Within a day these should start getting red and you will see a heartbeat.

It's been 2 days since I posted the picture of #5 egg, which was hard to tell fertility at the time (unless you're an expert like Susanne!!). Here is a picture I took this morning of Number 5.


 

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That is Great! I learned that within a day of laying you can sometimes tell if the egg is fertile because the yolk will have a small shadowed area on it. The yolk will also be less round.

But...you can also have an idea within hours of the egg being layed. An infertile egg will have a pale pinkish cast to the shell. A fertile egg will not be the bright white of a fertile egg incubated for a few days, but a noticale translucent white.
 
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