Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Empty Nest Snydrome
This Border Hens Five Eggs Vanished!
Another Border Hen was sitting on a pile of thin-shelled broken eggs!
Case of the Disappearing Border Eggs
After setting a border hen with five eggs, was I ever surprised when I peaked in on the nest a few days later to find no eggs in the nest and none on the floor. It is common for hens to pitch infertile eggs out of the nest and eat them so that no evidence remains. I found that hard to believe in this case, as I had observed them mating and the cock had been with the two border hens for several weeks.
So I decided to check the other border hens eggs in the same cage. The second border was sitting on a pile of egg shells, none of her five eggs were intact. It seems the egg shells were so thin that when the hens set on them, they broke!
This was the third round of eggs that these hens had laid and one of the two hens had no surviving eggs in any of her three nests. The other hen had raised a foster border chick in her second round.
In all my years of canary breeding, I have never seen this before. This is the year to raise my awareness of problems in calcium absorption especially in borders.
Calcium is stored for several months prior to egg laying and once calcium stores are depleted, thin shelled eggs or even egg binding may result. For so many years, I have always used liquid calcium and had great productivity. My not getting around promptly to getting a liquid calcium source and getting it started at least 3 months before breeding and continuing through the breeding season was a big mistake especially for the borders. I certainly knew it was important but I underestimated how very critical it is to productivity!
On a good note, I have been able to salvage enough border hens that I have enough borders offspring to fill all my show cages and learning this can have a big impact in helping more border breeders to improve their productivity. All lessons have consequences, but I am truly thankful for any learning that helps me and others connect with our birds!
Moral: All of Life is for Learning.