Finch hens lay one egg each day, usually in the morning. They usually produce three to six of them, but there can be as few as one and as many as nine.
The number of eggs laid by a hen bird can vary greatly
Finch Eggs Not Hatching
There are several reasons why eggs may not hatch:
- Hens sometimes lay eggs when there are no males to fertilise them
- A pair of young finches may be unsuccessful in their mating attempts, but the female may still lay her (unfertilised) eggs
- Single eggs in a clutch may fail to hatch, due to an unborn chick not developing properly, or because that particular egg somehow managed to avoid fertilisation
- The hen may neglect her eggs and fail to bring them to full term - this is quite common if she is young and this is her first clutch
- The egg may have fallen straight to the floor - either from a perch, or over the side of a cramped nest box - in which case it will be ‘scrambled’
- The male bird could be infertile
- In an aviary or birdhouse, overcrowding and/or stress may be the issue
- If eggs fail to hatch due to soft shells, it’s a sign that the hen didn’t get enough calcium (from cuttlefish bone or a mineral block, for example)
Candling Bird Eggs
This should only be done if you have young parent birds, or if the egg has been pushed out of the nest by the hen. To candle an egg, you need to shine a bright torch on it. You can perform this investigation when the hen is absent, without moving the eggs from the egg box, as long as you are able to get a good view of the egg. Failing that, hold it between your finger and thumb, wearing gloves.
The light will expose the interior of the egg. Any red veins showing through indicate a healthy egg. If it’s well developed, you’ll be able to see the outline of the bird inside. If all you can see is a shape without any red lines, the egg isn’t going to hatch.
The hen usually begins incubation after the 3rd or 4th egg (and some species wait until all the eggs have been laid). The pair will then take it in turns (usually, depending on the species) to sit on the nest, with the female taking night duty and the male sharing incubation during the day. The eggs will hatch after 12-16 days (again, depending on the species). They will periodically turn the eggs, and will keep the humidity levels up by taking a quick bath and then resettling back on the nest with warm, damp feathers.