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WhiteWingsCa WhiteWingsCa is offline
Posted 14th December 2005, 06:07 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Foster Parents


This came up in another thread - and I thought this deserved it's own thread - as personally, we use fostering quite a bit in our loft....

Fostering eggs/chicks can be used for a couple of reasons. Our main reason for fostering is that we raise two separate 'teams' of pigeons - our 'release' birds (all white), and our racers (mix of whites/coloured). We'll raise a round of all whites - then a round of all racers - using foster parents for both rounds.....

We also have foster parents - birds that we wish to keep for one reason or another, but that are inferior breeders (don't produce good babies).

Also, in emergencies, pairs can be 'fosters' to babies that lose a parent.

I'll break this up into a few different posts - as it's going to be lengthy... LOL
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WhiteWingsCa WhiteWingsCa is offline
Posted 14th December 2005, 06:15 AM
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Fostering eggs..... This is our method to raise an all white round, then a race team, using fosters and 'natural parents'....


Put the pairs together, and let everyone lay a round of eggs. Most pairs will lay within 7-10 days of each other.

Throw away all the eggs from all the pairs on the same day.

Approximately 7-10 days later, everyone will lay a second set of eggs, usually within 3-4 days of each other.

Now the hard part -- keeping track of who you are fostering whose eggs under.... LOL Good record keeping is ESSENTIAL here.

Remove the eggs from Pair A - and carefully put the eggs from Pair B under them. (Pair A is the pair you are NOT raising babies from at this time). Record on the nest card that Pair A has Pair B's eggs.....

Pair A will incubate and raise Pair B's babies. In the meantime, about a week later, Pair B will lay again - and then are allowed to keep/hatch these eggs. This way, you have now got 4 babies from Pair B, within 7-10 days of each other in age.

In our loft, this of course would be repeated with Pair C and D, E and F, etc.


Once the first set of babies has been weaned, the process is repeated. Although by then, we usually do not have to throw out a round of eggs - there are enough pairs laying within the same time frame, to swap eggs - so Pair B will not necessarily raise Pair A's - etc. (confused yet? LOL)
Again, good record keeping is essential - otherwise, you end up not knowing whose babies are whose

We also have a few birds who just don't produce good babies on their own - so whenever possible, they are used to foster "good" producing pairs babies.
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WhiteWingsCa WhiteWingsCa is offline
Posted 14th December 2005, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,107
Emergency Fostering

Sometimes one of a pair is lost - or the parents aren't good parents (common with Young Birds), and you find yourself in a dilema. Do you hand raise a baby (difficult), or is there another pair in the loft that could help out?

Sometimes, one baby is much smaller than the other - and the larger one keeps pushing the weaker one away at feeding time - and the weaker one is in danger of dying of hunger....


In the first case -- you have some choices.

1/ If the babies aren't fully feathered yet - and you have a pair or two who have a single baby of similar size/age - you can put the babies in with the 'singles' to be raised. Hopefully, you've already banded and recorded the parentage of the orphan babies - so you don't mix up whose baby is whose.

In a pinch - a pair COULD raise three babies - but watch carefully that all babies are getting properly fed. You might have to suppliment one or two of them from time to time.

2/ If you have two orphan babies - and only one other pair that could foster for you - and they have two of their own -- you can try putting one baby in with the pair - and keep one in the house to hand feed. Again, watch that all three in the nest are adequately fed. You could also swap the babies every other day - hand feeding one, while the other spends a day getting "bird fed". LOL

3/ If the orphans are from a pair of birds that are really important to you - and you have another pair of breeders who are on 12-14 day eggs, that you are willing to sacrifice -- you can put babies up to 5 days of age into that nest, removing the eggs of course. The "foster" parents will have a very strange suprised look on their faces, when their eggs suddenly turn into rather largish babies.... but they will take to them like they are their own.

Case Two.....

Sometimes, one chick just doesn't grow as quickly as the other. Could be there is something wrong with it - or could be, it's just not as strong. The larger of the two might take all the food - and the little one just will never do well, and could starve to death, even under it's own parents....

In this case - if you have more than one nest with a similar mix - one baby smaller than the other - you can put the two larger babies in the same nest under one pair - and the two smaller babies together under the other pair.

Or - if you have a large/small set of babies - and a pair of parents who have a single baby that is similar in size to EITHER of the 'mix' sized babies - put the two similar sizes ones in the same nest. (it's preferable, if possible, to leave the smaller baby with it's parents - where it is now an "only" - and will get fed more, without any sibling rivalry.... lol)

Of course, if necessary, if there are no foster parents available - you can try supplimenting the smaller baby by hand feeding it once or twice a day -then putting it back in the nest with it's parents/sibling. This way, it should catch up in size to the larger baby - and you won't have to suppliment any more.
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WhiteWingsCa WhiteWingsCa is offline
Posted 14th December 2005, 06:39 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Ontario, Canada
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"HOLDING" Eggs.....

This is worth a small note - we've tried this, and raised babies from the same cock bird with 3 different hens - all within the same breeding period....

Pair A lays eggs. As soon as the first egg is laid - gently remove it from the nest, and put it in an egg carton in a safe place, at room temperature. Turn the egg GENTLY once a day. Do the same as soon as the 2nd eggs is laid. Make sure the eggs are at room temp (68-70 deg), and they are turned once a day. It is imperative that you remove the eggs BEFORE the hen starts incubating. Once incubation/growth has started, removing the eggs will kill the baby growing inside...

Now, this hinges on you having another pair ready to foster - you know they are going to lay eggs within 3-4 days of Pair A. Anything more than 3-4 days, and you might not have any success....

After Pair B (the foster pair) has laid their second egg - remove the eggs, and put the Pair A eggs you've been 'holding' under them.

With luck, 18 days or so ... you'll have 2 lovely hatches!

btw -- we did this using what is called the "bull" system. One cock bird in a 'room' with 3 hens (we actually had four - but the cock bird didn't like the fourth one for some reason... lol). He paired with the 3 hens - they built three separate nests - and we fostered the first two hens' eggs by 'holding' them - and let the cock bird raise a round with the 3rd hen (moved the other hens out into a different area, once they'd laid their eggs). We got six babies from the same cock bird - all hatched within 7 days of each other.

Using 'natural' breeding, it would have taken 4-5 months to have achieved the same result (6 babies from one cock bird).
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WhiteWingsCa WhiteWingsCa is offline
Posted 14th December 2005, 06:43 AM
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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One more note on fostering.....

You can 'switch' eggs up to about 4-5 days, max. After that, you run into trouble...

For Example -- Pair A has laid eggs. Pair B lays 4-5 days later. You can still put Pair B's eggs under Pair A with success.

If Pair A's eggs are older than 4-5 days - and you try to foster Pair B's eggs under them - they might abandon the eggs before they hatch. Some pairs will sit the nest only as long as the regular incubation period is - and if the eggs don't hatch within a day or so of the 'due date' they expect - they give up and leave the next.

Of course, we've had pairs that will sit on eggs for almost a month before giving up.....
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bartuska bartuska is offline
Posted 14th December 2005, 07:41 AM
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Posts: 165
Great information! Thank you. You have answered all my questions....so far.
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Skyeking Skyeking is offline
Posted 14th December 2005, 07:52 AM
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Fostering eggs and babies is quite an ART.

I have learned some very valuable information.

Thanks for your time spent on this thread, WhiteWings.

I think it is "sticky" time..



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DEEJAY7950 DEEJAY7950 is offline
Posted 23rd October 2007, 07:46 AM
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Wow glad i was surfing posts great info, job well done! I know this is old posting but i hope someone sees this and can answer this, is it possible to place extra eggs laid around the same time under one pair so four youngsters could be raised by one pair? yea i know the problem will be the competition for food but is it possible? Also what about a pair raising only one youngster instead of two, this would give the bird a better start by not having to compete for food with nest mates?
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Lovebirds Lovebirds is offline
Posted 23rd October 2007, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEEJAY7950 View Post
Wow glad i was surfing posts great info, job well done! I know this is old posting but i hope someone sees this and can answer this, is it possible to place extra eggs laid around the same time under one pair so four youngsters could be raised by one pair? yea i know the problem will be the competition for food but is it possible? Also what about a pair raising only one youngster instead of two, this would give the bird a better start by not having to compete for food with nest mates?
I would not let a pair raise 4 babies. One, probably, two of the 4 would suffer from not getting enough to eat. I did pull the first egg laid one year from my widowhood team and let each pair raise only the second egg/baby. Worked for me. One baby definately gets more attention than two, but I always feel sorry for a single baby not having a sibling to snuggle with.
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ace in the hole ace in the hole is offline
Posted 29th November 2007, 10:40 PM
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Just a few words from the depth of my mind. Four babies are just to much for any pair to raise & Raising only one baby would give you stronger and fater young, but would also cut your production of young birds in half. Foster perents are without a doubt the way to go if you want to produce more young from your key pairs. And as far holding eggs. You can hold your eggs at a lower temp. with no damage to the eggs. 60 to 65 degrees will not damage them. The eggs can also be kept for up to seven days before your hatch rate will start to drop rapidly. Good luck to you all, Mark

Last edited by ace in the hole; 1st December 2007 at 03:34 PM..
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DEEJAY7950 DEEJAY7950 is offline
Posted 12th December 2007, 11:11 AM
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Here's a set of tripplets no worse for wear!
http://www.tourdesmaritimes.com/Eyes...s/3riplets.jpg
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Last edited by DEEJAY7950; 12th December 2007 at 11:13 AM..
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k-will k-will is offline
Posted 14th December 2007, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: dirty south
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there are some great threads on this forum.and this one is another.thanks.i would say never raise more than 2 to a nest.some believe when setting up for widowhood,you should only let them raise one.but,raising 1 or 2 have both been proven to work for that as well.dont put the strain on the birds though trying to feed 3 or 4.there is just no reason for it.if both parents were lost?feed em yourself if they are important to you.
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Grizzled Grizzled is offline
Posted 21st December 2007, 12:11 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DEEJAY7950 View Post
Wow glad i was surfing posts great info, job well done! I know this is old posting but i hope someone sees this and can answer this, is it possible to place extra eggs laid around the same time under one pair so four youngsters could be raised by one pair? yea i know the problem will be the competition for food but is it possible? Also what about a pair raising only one youngster instead of two, this would give the bird a better start by not having to compete for food with nest mates?
You can, in a pinch, place 3 eggs under a pair and they will hatch and raise 3 youngsters adequately, but I wouldn't push it to 4. Two per nest is ideal, as the young do act as a source of heat and leg support for each other. 1 per nest is fine and is often the scenario when 1 egg is clear or becomes chilled through early breeding but personally I find that 2 per nest is best.
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g0ldenb0y55 g0ldenb0y55 is offline
Posted 7th January 2009, 04:50 PM
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Great information here! Thanks for sharing the knowledge!
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pouletchalet pouletchalet is offline
Posted 7th January 2009, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: california
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Very interesting information. Would this work with feral rock doves, mourning doves etc?
We rehab orphaned wild doves and I would like to try fostering like this. I have some unreleasable rock doves and would like to know if they could be parents to baby rocks. Do they have to be "in the mood" to be parents? Any advice on how to do this?
Thanks!
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