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Nikki Roberts

Inexperienced parents

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I have a pair of zebra finches breeding for the first time i have no previous experience of bird breeding.  They hatched four chicks, one was tossed and dead when i found it, then all ok, then another tossed i ut it straight back in all ok. 24 hours later two tossed , big and fat so had been fed but on the floor and dad had pecked off their limbs, 24 hours later final one tossed, fat and fed on floor dad had pecked off limbs.  Both parents had sat on eggs. i offer fruit and veg slices on floor so i dont think dad was being malicious, they just peck whatever is on the floor.  I am devastated and dont know what to do next or why this happened please help

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Hi Nikki,

Welcome to the forum.

This can happen sometimes with inexperienced pairs, the parent tend to catch the young when leaving the nest and they flick the young out on to the floor.

It can also happen if the nest has been built shallow allowing the chicks to be easily fall out or be flicked out.

I'd give them another go, but try to make sure there's a nice pocket for the chicks to be lower down in the nest.

I hope this helps.



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I too am very new to this, having had a wild young female fly into my kitchen exhausted and ragged After getting her strength back, I decided to keep her, and having read that they are sociable found a bigger cage and a male partner.   I was unprepared when within 2 weeks she started laid an egg on the cage floor. I read the section on breeding in my new book, and provided a nest and nesting materials. First batch was 8 eggs of which 3 were broken.  I had provided grit and cuttlefish for calcium.

    They put together a nest lining and sat for a few days, mostly the male, but appeared to get bored, and sat less and less preferring to play. After a week they weren’t even sleeping in the nest I removed the eggs after 15 days and they were cold .

  Next day she started laying another clutch of 7 eggs over  about12 days. These they hardly sat on at all and again I removed the after 11 days. Straight away she started laying again, 5 but no sitting and they stripped the nest lining.

i saw the advice on not allowing more than 4 clutches a year and am at a loss how to prevent this, short of separating them completely.

  Grateful for any advice on how to handle this so the hen doesn’t become exhausted.

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