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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I have a mated pair of house pigeons, Philly (the male) and Newbird (the female). They are both indoor, non-releasable pigeons (both were found with broken wings that left them flightless), and we are practicing birth control by removing the eggs Newbird lays and replacing them with false plastic ones.

Philly and Newbird were introduced to each other in June and July, and they first mated at the end of July or beginning of August. Newbird laid her first egg on August 10, and we immediately replaced it with a plastic egg. She laid her second egg a few days later, and we also replaced it with a plastic egg.* They have been taking turns incubating the plastic eggs since then, until today when they didn't seem to be so interested in incubating them.

I am wondering what I am supposed to do at this point. They built a very nice nest for the first pair of eggs. Should I remove the plastic eggs from that nest so they can use it again? Also would that help them fully get past the old eggs, so they can mate again and Newbird can lay again - hopefully in that nest if they'd like to use it? I've been told that it's very important for Newbird's health for her to be able to continue to lay eggs, and that abandoning the old eggs is important for that. (Should the plastic eggs in general be removed after the normal incubation period of 18 days after the second egg was laid? I realize now that I should have asked this much earlier - I hope she's going to be OK...).

This is my first experience with a mated pair of pigeons and pigeon birth control, so I'd be most grateful for any help you can give me with this.

Thank you so much!
Howard


P.S. Does anyone know if pigeons feel frustrated or depressed by multiple rounds of unhatched eggs? Philly and Newbird seem to have been happy enough with the procedure so far; I only ask because I was a bit surprised by how quickly after the normal incubation period they gave up on the eggs, I know that birds can be really quite smart (smarter than we usually assume), and I know that amniotes in general can get frustrated and depressed. I wouldn't have thought that pigeons would cognitively represent things like repeated failures of eggs to hatch, but evidently their bodies are letting them know that it's time to move on, and I hope that this doesn't involve anything disturbing for them. Everyone's told me that, since you can't spay or neuter birds, this is the only possible method of avian birth control. I just hope that they're going to be OK with it in the long term...

*Philly and Newbird were actually both boarding at our vet's when Newbird laid the eggs, and the vet techs were the ones who actually did the replacements, so unfortunately I am not 100% sure as to when the second egg was laid, but my information tells me that it should have been 44 hours after the first egg was laid.
 

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Now that they've stopped sitting, that means they're getting ready for a new clutch. Remove the fakes and look each day for new real eggs and then replace with the fakes again. The birds take the eggs not hatching right in stride, and with one of my ringneck cocks I think that sitting was his favorite part of the whole baby process anyway. He'd happily sit on anything up to a chicken egg (I never left one of those in long, though--didn't seem comfy for him.)

*basically I would always remove the fakes when they stopped being interested in sitting on them. (BE CAREFUL, though. If they go past 18 days, start checking for a new clutch just in case by carefully feeling under the birds. Some hens are very clever with weight and in my case I wound up with babies in the process of realizing that my hen didn't like hollow eggs and needed heavy wooden ones.)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you!

Hi Libis,

Thank you very much. I've done as you've recommended. Right after I took the eggs Philly went back to the nest to inspect things, but he's moved on now. They've been spending time together today the way they did before Newbird laid the first clutch (I think they've been mating but I haven't noticed that exactly), so everything seems to be going along. I also just saw Newbird eat some of her oyster shells (which I haven't seen her do in some time), so I assume she's starting to ovulate.

Yes, I was super worried about ending up with babies, so I was actually checking under Newbird and Philly for eggs every day. I was actually lifting the incubating birds up slightly so I could visually inspect whether there was anything in addition to the two plastic eggs. They got a bit upset about this and I was worried about how much I was stressing them (so I tried to take turns as to who was incubating when I went to check). I'm not sure they'd be that much calmer for a tactile inspection (especially now that they've had the experience of my lifting them for visual inspections). Do you think that merely tactile inspections are preferable to lifting the birds to visually inspect on grounds of stressing them less? I might be pretty worried about the reliability of tactile inspections, especially given your experience, but I am concerned about not stressing them too...

Last time Newbird got pretty broody and sat on the nest for a few days before she laid the first egg. When she did lay it she and Philly were actually boarding at our vet's office, but I think that the vet techs told me the eggs were laid in the prepared nest that the birds quickly assembled in their kennel when they arrived to board. Is it pretty safe to wait for Newbird to get broody and check under her in the prepared nest, or can eggs be laid in random locations around the birds' territory? Their territory isn't *huge* (it's about half of a master bedroom plus a very large walk in closet, which is where they set up the old nest), but it's big enough that it would be good to know if I should be worried about checking unoccupied nooks and crannies for hidden eggs.

Thanks again!
Howard
 

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Libis or anyone else, have you ever had issues with leaving false eggs past 10 days? I have heard that the crop milk can go sour and cause sour crop, Mainly in fancy pouter or cropper breeds though, I suspect this was the reason once for a thief pouter of mine developing sour crop.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
10 days past expected hatching or past laying of second egg?

Hi Evan,

Did you mean 10 days past expected hatching of the clutch (i.e. 10 days past 18 days past laying of the second egg) or 10 days past laying of the second egg? Because Newbird & Philly were just inside the time window of 28 days past Newbird's laying of the second egg on Aug. 11/12, but they were way past 10 days since the laying of this egg. I'm just wondering if they should see the vet to make sure they're not developing sour crop (does anyone know how to check for sour crop?). Neither Newbird nor Philly seem to have fancy breed ancestry - they were both found as ferals in our city (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada); Philly (the male) is blue checked and Newbird (the female) is ash-red barred. I can attach pictures if that would help.

Thanks very much!
Howard
 

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No, I would not panick. It is unlikely as ferals are not the same as the fancy breeds so I am sure they are absolutely fine. Just wondered whats the best option with removing fake eggs.
 

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Libis or anyone else, have you ever had issues with leaving false eggs past 10 days? I have heard that the crop milk can go sour and cause sour crop, Mainly in fancy pouter or cropper breeds though, I suspect this was the reason once for a thief pouter of mine developing sour crop.
The only problem I've ever had with leaving false eggs without checking closely is babies. lol.
 

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Hi Libis,

Thank you very much. I've done as you've recommended. Right after I took the eggs Philly went back to the nest to inspect things, but he's moved on now. They've been spending time together today the way they did before Newbird laid the first clutch (I think they've been mating but I haven't noticed that exactly), so everything seems to be going along. I also just saw Newbird eat some of her oyster shells (which I haven't seen her do in some time), so I assume she's starting to ovulate.

Yes, I was super worried about ending up with babies, so I was actually checking under Newbird and Philly for eggs every day. I was actually lifting the incubating birds up slightly so I could visually inspect whether there was anything in addition to the two plastic eggs. They got a bit upset about this and I was worried about how much I was stressing them (so I tried to take turns as to who was incubating when I went to check). I'm not sure they'd be that much calmer for a tactile inspection (especially now that they've had the experience of my lifting them for visual inspections). Do you think that merely tactile inspections are preferable to lifting the birds to visually inspect on grounds of stressing them less? I might be pretty worried about the reliability of tactile inspections, especially given your experience, but I am concerned about not stressing them too...

Last time Newbird got pretty broody and sat on the nest for a few days before she laid the first egg. When she did lay it she and Philly were actually boarding at our vet's office, but I think that the vet techs told me the eggs were laid in the prepared nest that the birds quickly assembled in their kennel when they arrived to board. Is it pretty safe to wait for Newbird to get broody and check under her in the prepared nest, or can eggs be laid in random locations around the birds' territory? Their territory isn't *huge* (it's about half of a master bedroom plus a very large walk in closet, which is where they set up the old nest), but it's big enough that it would be good to know if I should be worried about checking unoccupied nooks and crannies for hidden eggs.

Thanks again!
Howard
When I wound up with babies, I was still naive enough to think that they would always get off the eggs for a bit before laying new. So I didn't check until the new eggs were too far along. After that, I did tactile checks just about every day. The birds weren't too flustered, and so long as you haven't had an injury or something reducing feeling in your hands you should be fine just counting 1, 2 with the fakes and feeling around for any more behind the bird. I would usually bring my hand forward and keep in contact with the fakes with my palm while stretching my fingers all the way to the other wall of the nest.

*But pigeons are larger than ringnecks generally, so nooks and crannies could be an issue, yes. Either way probably will not over-stress them. Pigeons and doves are tough enough to ship through the mail just fine, so this shouldn't be a problem.
 

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when my birds lay eggs i give them false eggs if i don't want any babies yet and let them sit on them for 17 to 20 days, i take the eggs away leave the nest how it is wait for them to stop going in and clean out the bowl,then they either start a new nest and lay again or just wait a bit, i have never had any problems with my birds and fake eggs.
 

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There is always a possibility that none of the two eggs get hatched so if it causes sour crop, it will always be a risk for the pigeons either you provide them fake eggs or their eggs turns infertile

As the pigeons specially feral have a continuous cycle of producing eggs, hatching and after the babies wean they lay again, in that cycle many clutches get infertile, so i guess it won't be much of a problem for the pigeons only if they have any diseases present with them
:rolleyes:
 

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I am giving fake eggs for more than 1 yr to all my 10 pairs. They seems fine. They abandon the eggs after 20 days, then i remove them. They always like to have a different nest for the next round of eggs. So i think it's very important giving them the possibility to chose another nest. Well at least they will forget( not too sure if they have such good memory from this point of view) the old nest and the sad memory of their eggs not hatching and they move on with new hope in a new home (nest). I think that will keep them happy.
 

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There is always a possibility that none of the two eggs get hatched so if it causes sour crop, it will always be a risk for the pigeons either you provide them fake eggs or their eggs turns infertile

As the pigeons specially feral have a continuous cycle of producing eggs, hatching and after the babies wean they lay again, in that cycle many clutches get infertile, so i guess it won't be much of a problem for the pigeons only if they have any diseases present with them
:rolleyes:
I don't think too many cluches are infertile. But don't think it causes sour crop either.
 

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In 25 years, I've never had a pigeon develop sour crop from not having eggs hatch. I have an assortment of pigeons, fancy and feral.
 

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Think this is being way over thought.:confused:
 

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There is always a possibility that none of the two eggs get hatched so if it causes sour crop, it will always be a risk for the pigeons either you provide them fake eggs or their eggs turns infertile

As the pigeons specially feral have a continuous cycle of producing eggs, hatching and after the babies wean they lay again, in that cycle many clutches get infertile, so i guess it won't be much of a problem for the pigeons only if they have any diseases present with them
:rolleyes:
Yes, thats exactly what i was trying to say
 
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