Incubating a lovebird egg isn't something you'd have to worry about normally, as that's the mother bird's job. Should you find yourself with eggs and no mother lovebird, you can try hatching them yourself. The incubation period for the lovebird egg is 22 to 25 days. If you want to see the egg or eggs through, you will have to commit some time and effort for the duration of the incubation period and beyond, since raising chicks, though it isn't exactly a full-time job, does take a lot of dedication.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- An incubator
- Egg candler (recommended)
- Location with a pretty constant temperature
- Schedule that allows you access to the eggs throughout the day
Put the incubator in an area away from direct sunlight and drafts. The more constant the ambient temperature is, the better the incubator will remain at the temperature at which it's set. This is key.
Set your incubator's temperature. Lovebird eggs require a temperature of 98.3 to 98.6ºF (36.8 to 37.0°C). Precision here is of the utmost importance and higher temperatures, especially, are detrimental to the health of the developing embryo. Different types of incubators require different settings to maintain optimum temperatures. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
Test the incubator. Make sure the humidifier and wet wick are working. Refer to the incubator's instructions and let it run with a thermometer inside to test its accuracy.
Rotate the eggs up to five times a day with as much regularity as possible until about two days before the eggs should hatch. Failure to rotate the eggs can result in death for the chicks whose internal organs may stick to the inner lining of the shell if they're not rotated regularly. You might make a mark or two on the shells to keep track of egg rotation.
Candle the eggs. After five or six days of incubation, there should be visible signs of life. Holding an egg up to a powerful light source can help you determine, looking through the shell, if there's a baby bird on the way. Be careful not to burn the egg, though.
Be patient. Your chicks might take a few hours or an entire day to hatch. Once they do, you'll have another project on your hands: feeding and caring for one or more baby birds.
Tips and warnings
- You will want to be sure that the eggs you're using have been stored properly prior to incubation, which should begin 2 to 3 days from the time they're laid. Eggs may remain viable for up to ten days after being laid.
- Make sure you have clean hands when you handle the eggs. There is no reason to introduce bacteria into the incubator, which is moist and warm: the perfect atmosphere for growing bacteria as well as chicks.
- Become an expert. Read as much as you can about the care of chicks and birds while your eggs are incubating. There is a lot to know.
- Higher temperatures, even within two degrees of the recommended temperature, can kill the chicks inside the eggs within 15 to 30 minutes.
- Lower temperatures within the same range might retard growth or cause weaker chicks to be born.
- Baby birds require a lot of care. Hatching your own birds means lots of time and attention will be necessary to bring them to adulthood. Raising birds is expensive as well. It's important to keep these things in mind before starting the incubation process.
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