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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! We are new to this forum and here is our story:

We have just moved into a new house that had a pigeon nest on the balcony. There was 1 egg in the nest. While cleaning the balcony (as it was caked in poop) we believe we have scared off the parents, and although we had to move the nest to clean the floor we have put the nest back where we found it. After it became apparent that the pigeons were not going to come back for the egg, we have taken in the egg. We shined a flashlight behind it, and it has veins and an embryo. We were unsure whether it was still alive because the nest had been abandoned for at least half a day.

We put the egg in a plastic container on a bed of tissues, then covered it and put it behind a small refrigerator as we figured that would keep the egg warm without having to shine a light directly on it. To keep some humidity in there, we put a tiny bit of damp tissue in there as well. We have been rotating the container periodically, but read today somewhere that you're not supposed to do that or even keep it incubated after a certain number of days. Today we looked at the egg again with a light and we could see the embryo moving! We could see the mass inside pulsing and it looked like it moved a bit too. Now that we are sure it is still alive, we don't know what to do with it. We have no idea how old this egg is, as we have only moved in about 3 days ago, so we don't know how close it is to hatching.

We have called a few wildlife rescue places locally, and have been told that we should probably just throw the egg away - apparently they would not bother with a pigeon.

We are considering trying to hatch the egg ourselves and keeping it as a pet, but we have no idea where to get started or if it is even feasible for us to try to bring up a newly hatched pigeon with no parents. We have also thought of trying to put the egg back in the nest and putting the nest somewhere outside in hopes of some other pigeons just adopting the nest and the baby. Or, we are wondering if we would be able to find someone in our area more experienced who will actually take in the egg for their own pigeon pets.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated!!
 

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Hi Tortie and welcome to Pigeon-Talk.

First and foremost, you need to "candle" the egg. If it is fertile, we'll take it from there. If it's not .. it's a moot point and the egg can be disposed of. Take the egg and a GOOD flashlight into a dark room/area .. like a closet. Shine the light through the egg and tell us what you see .. that will determine what needs to happen .. or not ..

Terry
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes we have done that and have seen veins as well as a dark mass in there. We saw that the mass was pulsing, due to a hearbeat I assume, and it looked like it moved just slightly too. Does that mean it is close to hatching?
 

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It may still need more time, because when a chick is a day or two from hatching it has pretty much taken up the egg and you can't candle it anymore.

Let me go and find and post the link to the incubation thread, meanwhile hopefully Terry or someone has some birds laying on some eggs (dummies or real), about the same incubation time, that can help.

Here is the link:

Incubation, when there is no alternative:

http://www.pigeons.biz/forums/showthread.php?t=4968
 

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If the egg hatches are you going to look after it (its not simple), also the egg needs to be turned 3 times around 3 times a day.

how long has the egg been away from the parents. Honestly, its going to be alot of work.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The egg has been away from its parents now for about 2 days (we took it in day before yesterday). From what we are reading it does seem like quite a bit of work to hatch and raise this baby so I am really hoping that we will be able to find somebody who can take it in. If needs be we will look after it as we do not have the heart to "throw away the egg", as was told to us by rescue people. Any suggestions on places we can call?

Also, what does it mean when the instructions say "turn the egg" - does that mean rotate the egg or actually roll the egg?
 

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Hi Tortie,
It's work but, pidgies are pretty derned sweet. Success rate isn't great if you have to take over brooding from the folks, if you don't have the right set-up, but that doesn't mean you can't do it. I'm not sure of the temps you have to maintain, but too high or too low are equally damaging. If you've seen a chick developing in there, it's worth the trying.

Don't roll the egg too much. A parent bird moves the egg around to help the chick get even warmth but also to help keep the chick from sticking to the inside of the shell. Pretend your a bird and move it around occasionally so the "down" side is now up. They rearrange themselves a couple or 3 times a day so you might do accordingly.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
We have rolled the egg so the side that was down is now up. We found a diagram online that shows how old an egg is based on how big the air sac inside is - we think it is about 14 days old. However I've read that it takes 1-19 days to hatch, and if the chick is supposed to take up the whole egg I don't think it is close to that yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ideally we would like to hand it off to someone who can take it in before it hatches.. but if that does not happen we would have to take care of it.
 

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Thank you for your advice, after lots of research all day yesterday we have finally decided to try and hatch the egg ourselves. We went to the pet store and got a glass fish aquarium (10 gal I believe), and set it up with a heating pad and lined the sides with foil to help conduct the heat. We laid a towel over the heating pad and stuck a thermometer in there and put the egg in a little twig nest (also from the pet store). We also put a small tupperware container of water in there for humidity.

We candled the egg again, and it is amazing that the embryo appears bigger inside the egg. There is also quite a bit of movement in there - is that normal or are we jarring the egg too much when we are candling it? Also, we were wondering if it matters that the air cell in the egg looks crooked - it does not sit evenly at the top of the egg, rather it looks like it is tipped to one side.

Since the embryo is a good size inside the egg and the air cell looks bigger too, we have decided to stop rolling the egg.

We plan on using the exact formula administered by drops that we have seen mentioned in other postings. Do we need to lay down some shreds of paper towel or newspaper or something? It seems that the nest needs some padding but we do not have wood chips as I saw recommended in another thread. We know that it will be very demanding looking after the newborn, but we have become somewhat attached to the little embryo after looking at it. Maybe it's because we are new to birds and have never seen anything like this before. However my first concern is successfully hatching the newborn. Any other pointers we need to look out for right now?
 

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If you've done your research, you should be good. I would still recommend rotating or moving the egg occasionally, unless in all that reading you came across information that stated not to roll an egg. I remember something about moving the egg just a bit so the baby won't stick. Elementary school was a loooooonnnnngggg time ago for me and that was the last time I participated in an egg-hatching experiment but I remember we turned the eggs daily -- but those were chicken eggs too.
I sort of hate that non-padded environment. I'd use a few shreds of white paper toweling to cushion the egg. Once the baby hatches though you'll need to change the substrate to something to give it a bit of "purchase" for the legs or it runs the risk of developing splay leg. But we'll cross that bridge after your little one hatches. You'll also want a bit of light-weight something to cover this little one, again a nice little white paper towel will do fine. Your baby won't have the fuzz of a new-born chicken or duck. He'll be pretty much closed eyes and pink skin with spotty (coverage) yellow down feathers, and the most beautiful baby in the world (barring of course, your own people babies :) )


You might want to look around for a snuggle for this baby to cozy up to. They have an instinctal urge to cuddle up to something (whether it's mom, dad, or nestmate). It won't feel so lonely.
 

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Thank you for your advice, after lots of research all day yesterday we have finally decided to try and hatch the egg ourselves. We went to the pet store and got a glass fish aquarium (10 gal I believe), and set it up with a heating pad and lined the sides with foil to help conduct the heat. We laid a towel over the heating pad and stuck a thermometer in there and put the egg in a little twig nest (also from the pet store). We also put a small tupperware container of water in there for humidity.

We candled the egg again, and it is amazing that the embryo appears bigger inside the egg. There is also quite a bit of movement in there - is that normal or are we jarring the egg too much when we are candling it? Also, we were wondering if it matters that the air cell in the egg looks crooked - it does not sit evenly at the top of the egg, rather it looks like it is tipped to one side.
Since the embryo is a good size inside the egg and the air cell looks bigger too, we have decided to stop rolling the egg.

We plan on using the exact formula administered by drops that we have seen mentioned in other postings. Do we need to lay down some shreds of paper towel or newspaper or something? It seems that the nest needs some padding but we do not have wood chips as I saw recommended in another thread. We know that it will be very demanding looking after the newborn, but we have become somewhat attached to the little embryo after looking at it. Maybe it's because we are new to birds and have never seen anything like this before. However my first concern is successfully hatching the newborn. Any other pointers we need to look out for right now?
The air sac is supposed to be sort of at an angle, so you're good there. When I have to bring a baby inside, I roll up an old sock for it to snuggle up against. This is so exciting. I guess you know WE ALL will be watching for regular updates!! LOL.......oh and PICTURES............
To keep the baby from developing spraddle/splay legs, it will need something to help keep it's legs under it. Another old sock would work just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
We had been rolling it before, but read somewhere that about 3 days prior to hatching you stop rolling it so the baby can get into position to pip out of the shell. Is that right? Should we still be rolling it?

Is it alright if we put a paper towel over the sock under the baby to catch poop or would that not work in keeping the legs from splaying?

We will keep you updated on any developments!
 

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We had been rolling it before, but read somewhere that about 3 days prior to hatching you stop rolling it so the baby can get into position to pip out of the shell. Is that right? Should we still be rolling it?

Is it alright if we put a paper towel over the sock under the baby to catch poop or would that not work in keeping the legs from splaying?

We will keep you updated on any developments!
It is my understanding that you stop turning the egg a few days before hatching. Hopefully someone who really knows will be along to comment.

The paper towel over the sock kind of defeats the goal of providing an easy to grip substrate. You might want to try using a piece of the rubberized shelf liner which can be washed and reused.

Terry
 

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Discussion Starter #17
After a couple of days closely monitoring the egg, today we have found small cracks beginning to appear in the shell! We read that it can take up to 20 hrs for the baby to make it out though, is that correct? If it starts to look like the chick can't make it out on its own can we help it and at what point??
 

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Yes, you can help it out, but there are very experienced folks on here that know and can advise. I'd think if it hasn't made it out in 24 hours then it's time for rescue squad.

Fingers crossed
 

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It has now been about 4 hours since we've seen the first cracks, however is it a concern if the baby is not actually puncturing the egg shell? There are some cracks visible but there is no actual "hole" as most people have mentioned in describing pippng. I am worried that the baby is too weak to break the shell.
 

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Don't know if will help but here's a link.
http://www.msstate.edu/dept/poultry/trouble.htm#PIP

It's geared for chickens, but . . .

http://www.hatching-egg.com/hatching_egg.html
another one.

http://www.ext.vt.edu/resources/4h/virtualfarm/poultry/poultry_development.html

It's amazing what's out there. I guess if the chick is pipping into the air sac it has a much better success rate (which makes sense as it is an airbreather).

Go back and read the link on incubating the egg that was posted earlier in this thread.

I haven't read anything yet on helping them out but if it doesn't seem to progress after several hours you might help a bit.

Good luck
 
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