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Lost Dad - Urgent Help & Advice Needed - Any Experience Apprecia


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Hi, we had a dad budgie escape from a breeding cage 3 days ago(30 aug). Mum is sitting on 6 eggs due to hatch early September and rarely leaves box. I am worried that she will not be able to raise the 6 babies by herself and hand feeding is not an option. This is her second clutch - first clutch of 2.infertile and 3 dead babies in eggs and she started laying the second clutch ( all appear fertile this time) before I had removed the first so she has been sitting contiuously on eggs for over 40 days.

My options are:-

1) do nothing and hope she can manage by herself.

2) introduce another male in the hope that he will court her over the next few days and then assist with baby feeding once babies have hatched. Threat - he may hurt them?

3) Let another current dad assist her. She is in a double breeding cage. I could remove the centre partition and hope that the other brilliant dad will look after both clutches. The other clutch has 1 egg left and 6 babies and is the second clutch for that pair. The father is a brilliant dad who feeds and sits on eggs and babies.

4) transfer all or some of the eggs to the other pair. I was considering transferring one or two eggs to the other clutch while there is still an egg left in the aecond clutch. This could preserve at least some of the babies from our lost dad and reduce the load on the single mum. I guess there is a chance that the other mum could reject the eggs - even smash them.. If I was to transfer all the eggs over time, i worry that a possible clutch of 13 may be too much for my brilliant parents.

Any experience or advice would be highly appreciated. Thanks

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I am no expert but I would leave her to sit on the eggs by herself and make sure she has food easily accessible, even putting some seed in the box with her. If the chicks hatch and she isn't coping then I would transfer chicks to the other nest IF you think the other pair could cope with the extra mouth/s to feed. Good luck :)

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Hi, this is a tricky one. Mum may manage but it would be a big ask. I would wait a few days to see how she handles them.


I would not combine the two cages as the hens would probably fight. or worse. ALSO I don't think adding a new Cock to nest would work at this stage.


If you can manage to have the chicks, from lost Dad nest, hatch around same time as last egg etc in other nest you could then maybe transfer a couple of chicks to the other pair leaving Mum with a few less chicks to feed. They will accept new chicks but not once they a feathering so you would have to move them early.


If second nest has 6-7 chicks they may cope with another 2 if they a really good parents, as their own chicks start to fledge the other younger one's will be less strain on them.


I agree with Nadene in making sure she has seed etc added to nest box, maybe sprays of millet in with her and loose seed where she can easily get it, she will leave nest for water etc as long as she doesn't decide to abandon the eggs if she is on her own. I think it's a case of play it by ear, she may not hatch all 6.

Keep us posted to see if anyone else has had this problem and can assist more. :)

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Hi Kaj, for what it's worth I have had a cock bird suddenly die for no apparent reason before while in the breeding cage and the hen successfully raised the four chicks on her own without a problem. I agree, just wait and see. I don't think there is need for panic at this stage. Keep the food and water available and just keep a close eye on them. I too would not suggest introducing other birds, this would just cause problems. Good luck!

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I totally agree with the others,


If you add a father he would probably take too long to pair up


You should wait and see how they go alone and if you notice her struggling then you may need to assist in hand rearing etc.


Do not please, allow that other father to help two females it is highly likely it will result in death and or injury to the parents and to chicks.


Good luck, you may need it.

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  • 2 months later...

First of all thanks to Nadene, Robyn, Rich and Budgie_mad for taking the time to address my issue.


After much angst I decided to add one of my more "friendly" males to the cage and much to my delight they paired up within a few days. Rainbow continued to sit on the eggs and rarely left the box. Gale (a male - named by my son after a character in hunger games) often joined her and cleaned and fed her while she sat on the eggs. However just as with the first clutch and much to my disappointment the second clutch never produced any babies - a few were infertile and the rest were dead in shell. So the lost dad and any potential offspring were lost forever.


However before I removed the 2nd clutch eggs, Rainbow started her third clutch which was unexpected and not intended. Feeling sorry for her and hoping that that the fertility issue may have been linked to the lost dad, I decided to let her continue the clutch with her new partner. I had another couple of budgies with eggs about the same time so figured that they could be back-up if needed. I also took the unusual step of swapping an egg from each clutch about half way through the incubation period as a test.


okay so the first thing that happened much to my delight was that the egg from the other clutch (Wild & Tigers) hatched for Rainbow. The baby appeared weak though, and although Rainbow fed it, it died within a few days. I felt even more sorry for her now but was now starting to think that she must have fertility issue as none of her eggs had hatched.


By this time three eggs in Wild's clutch had started to hatch, including one that hatched and died the same day - so it may not have been Rainow's fault that her baby had died.


But then the big surprise Rainbow's egg hatched in Wild's box and the baby appears healthy - that baby is now nine day's old and thriving with its three genetically unrelated siblings.


Wild's youngest was born last Monday - 6 days later. The amazing thing about this one was we were checking the eggs on Sat afternoon and could hear the baby chirping inside the egg. Something I have never heard. I was a bit concerned on Sunday afternoon when I could no longer hear the chirping and much of the internet forums suggest that a chirping egg should hatch within 12 hours. But Monday morning the little one arrived. So it appears it hatched some 28-40hours after we first heard it chirping.


As for Rainbow she has two eggs left that I suspect are dead in shell. They will be removed and checked in a few days and she will be returned to the aviary for a big rest. It I just a shame that although she will probably meet her own baby, she will never know it is hers.


A friend who I a vet (but not avian ) suggested that Rainow's dead in shell maybe because there is not enough "white" in her shells so that the babies/embryos die of starvation before they a fully developed. I may ever know.

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Sorry Kaj, I haven't been keeping up on here as much lately. Glad you finally have a chick from Rainbow which proves she is fertile as her mate must have been. I don't know the reason we get d.i.s. and weak chicks when we seen to be giving the birds every thing we think is needed for successful clutch's, Mother nature is a funny old girl. Hope your chicks continue to thrive. I have heard chicks chirp in shell ,usually about a day before they hatch.

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