There are many causes for infertile eggs but, most often, inadequate diet is the reason for this problem in the breeding room. A good mineral grit containing oyster shell, calcium and charcoal should always be available to breeding pairs. Lime block and cuttlebone must also be supplied regularly. These minerals are essential for the production of eggs and eggshells. Wheat germ oil must be given in some form to promote fertility in cockatiels. There are bird seed mixtures on the market which contain wheat germ oil, plus many other vitamins and all of the ingredients which are known to be essential to make up a well-balanced diet for cagebirds. Many of the well-known seed companies have done much research in this field and can offer excellent seed mixtures for feeding cagebirds of all types. If one does not use prepared feeds, a few drops of wheat germ oil sprinkled on whole wheat bread or other soft food and fed daily during the breeding season will help to assure fertile eggs. Weather is another factor in causing infertile eggs. If the weather is very warm and the humidity very low, the eggs may not hatch due to lack of moisture.
Thunderstorms or other loud noises that produce vibration in the birdhouse will cause the death of the chick in the shell. Poor ventilation in the breeding room will cause infertile eggs for they take in oxygen through the shell. So there must always be fresh air circulating in the room to provide oxygen. Many times if the female is too fat, the eggs will be infertile, so the diet must be well-balanced and the cockatiels allowed sufficient room to exercise to prevent this problem. Cockatiels are nervous and excitable and if they are disturbed or moved to new quarters during the breeding season, they may fail to incubate the eggs properly or become sterile for a time. During the first few days of incubation, the egg must have constant warmth in order to develop the embryo and it is advisable to stay away from the nestbox entirely so that the nesting pair will not be disturbed. Once the embryo has begun to develop, it will give off enough heat so that if the female leaves the nest for a few moments each day, no damage will be done.
All perches in the breeding room must be stable and secure to insure successful copulation between male and female. The eggs hatch between 18 and 21 days but quite often the hen will not begin incubation until 3 or 4 eggs are laid, so patience is necessary and eggs should not be discarded too soon. On no occasion should the eggs ever be handled unless it is absolutely necessary. A light bulb may be used to test the eggs for fertility. A little box with a light bulb inside and a small hole on the top is good for this purpose. Place the egg on the hole and look through it. If the egg is fertile, a small dark spot will be visible with red veins extending all around at first and each day the chick grows larger until the egg will appear dark except for an air space at one end. If the egg appears perfectly clear after a week of incubation, then one can assume that it is infertile and no good. A fertile egg has a glossy, smooth appearance.
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Hamilton & District Budgerigar Society Inc.