How To Take Care Of A Bird Egg

Discovering an abandoned bird’s egg can be a magical yet confusing experience. Your compassionate instincts may kick in, compelling you to try caring for the unhatched baby bird. However, proper egg care requires some specific do’s and don’ts.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Create a nest, candle the egg for viability, maintain proper temperature and humidity, rotate daily, and return non-viable eggs to nature.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn egg care basics like identifying viability, incubating, turning, hatching day preparation, and determining when veterinary help is needed. With these tips, you can give orphaned eggs their best chance while avoiding common mistakes.

Assessing Viability

Candle the egg

One way to assess the viability of a bird egg is by candling it. Candling involves shining a bright light through the egg to check for signs of life. A small hole can be made on one end of the egg, and a flashlight or a candle can be used to illuminate the interior.

By observing the contents, you can determine whether the egg is fertile or infertile. If you see veins spreading across the egg or the formation of an embryo, it indicates that the egg is viable. However, if the egg appears clear or only contains a small spot, it may be infertile or non-viable.

Check for cracks and leaks

Cracks and leaks can significantly affect the viability of a bird egg. Inspect the egg carefully, looking for any visible cracks or holes. It’s essential to handle the egg gently during this process to avoid causing further damage.

If you notice any cracks or leaks, it is likely that the egg is compromised and may not hatch successfully. In such cases, it is best to consult with a wildlife expert or a veterinarian for guidance on what to do next.

Identify the bird species

Identifying the bird species can provide valuable information about the viability of the egg. Different bird species have different incubation periods, and some eggs may require specific conditions to hatch successfully.

By knowing the species, you can gather information about the average incubation time and the specific requirements for that particular bird. This knowledge will help you determine if the egg is progressing as expected and if any intervention is necessary.

Taking care of a bird egg requires careful assessment of its viability. By candling the egg, checking for cracks and leaks, and identifying the bird species, you can make informed decisions about how to proceed.

Remember, if you have any doubts or concerns, it is always best to seek professional advice to ensure the well-being of the egg and the potential bird.

Creating a Nest Environment

Use a container or commercial incubator

When taking care of a bird egg, it is important to create a suitable nest environment. One option is to use a container or a commercial incubator. These provide a controlled environment that mimics the conditions of a natural nest.

The container should be spacious enough to accommodate the egg and allow for proper air circulation. A commercial incubator, on the other hand, is specifically designed to regulate temperature and humidity levels, providing optimal conditions for egg incubation.

It is important to choose a container or incubator that is appropriate for the species of bird you are caring for.

Line with soft, non-toxic materials

Another important aspect of creating a nest environment for a bird egg is lining it with soft and non-toxic materials. This helps to mimic the comfortable and protective environment of a natural nest. Avoid using materials that can be harmful to the egg, such as toxic chemicals or sharp objects.

Instead, opt for natural materials like soft grass, feathers, or even commercially available nesting materials specifically designed for bird eggs. These materials provide insulation and cushioning, helping to keep the egg safe and warm.

Maintain proper temperature and humidity

To ensure the successful development of a bird egg, maintaining the proper temperature and humidity is crucial. Different bird species have specific temperature and humidity requirements, so it is important to research the specific needs of the bird you are caring for.

In general, most bird eggs require a temperature between 99 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit (37 to 39 degrees Celsius) and a humidity level of around 50 to 60 percent. Monitoring and adjusting these factors regularly is essential to create an optimal environment for the egg’s development.

It is important to note that caring for a bird egg requires knowledge and expertise. If you are unsure about the proper procedures or if the egg has been abandoned, it is best to contact a local wildlife rehabilitator or avian veterinarian for guidance.

They can provide you with the necessary information and support to ensure the best possible care for the bird egg.

Egg Care and Monitoring

Taking care of a bird egg is a delicate process that requires attention and careful monitoring. By following a few key steps, you can increase the chances of a successful hatching and ensure the health and well-being of the developing bird.

Turn the egg regularly

One important aspect of egg care is to turn the egg regularly. This helps to prevent the embryo from sticking to the inside of the shell and promotes even development. It is recommended to turn the egg three to five times a day, gently rotating it by 180 degrees each time.

This can be done by hand or by using an automatic egg turner if available.

Candle periodically to recheck viability

Candling is a process that involves shining a bright light through the egg to check its viability. This can be done by holding the egg up to a light source or using a specialized candling device. By candling the egg periodically, you can monitor the development of the embryo and check for any signs of problems such as infertility or early death.

If any issues are detected, it is important to seek advice from a veterinarian or avian specialist.

Record observations in a journal

Keeping a journal to record your observations is a great way to track the progress of the egg and monitor any changes. Note down the date, time, and any relevant details such as the egg’s weight, candling results, and any notable developments.

This journal can serve as a valuable reference and help you identify any patterns or abnormalities throughout the incubation process.

Remember, taking care of a bird egg requires patience, attention to detail, and a commitment to providing the best possible environment for the developing bird. By following these egg care and monitoring practices, you can increase the likelihood of a successful hatching and contribute to the preservation of avian species.

Assisting with Hatching

Prepare a brooder

When assisting with hatching, it is important to prepare a suitable brooder for the newly hatched bird. A brooder is a warm and safe environment that mimics the conditions of a nest. It should be equipped with a heat source, such as a heat lamp or heating pad, to maintain a temperature of around 95°F (35°C).

The brooder should also be lined with soft bedding material, such as straw or shredded paper, to provide a comfortable surface for the hatchling.

Never help a hatchling from its shell

While it may be tempting to help a hatchling break free from its shell, it is crucial to resist the urge. Hatching is a natural and important process for the bird, and interfering can cause harm or even death.

The hatchling needs to exert effort to break through the shell, which strengthens its muscles and respiratory system. Helping it out prematurely may result in weakness or developmental issues. It is best to let nature take its course and allow the hatchling to hatch on its own.

Know when to call a wildlife rehabilitator

In some cases, a bird egg may require professional assistance. If the egg has not hatched after a prolonged period, typically more than 48 hours, it is advisable to contact a wildlife rehabilitator. They have the experience and knowledge to determine if intervention is necessary.

It is important to remember that wildlife rehabilitators are trained in handling and caring for birds, and they will have the best interest of the hatchling in mind. They can provide the necessary care and support to increase the chances of survival for the bird.

Returning Non-Viable Eggs to Nature

When you come across a non-viable bird egg, it’s important to handle it with care and make sure it is returned to nature properly. Here are a few steps to follow when returning non-viable eggs:

Research regulations first

Before returning a non-viable bird egg to nature, it’s crucial to research the local regulations and guidelines. Different regions may have specific rules regarding the handling and disposal of non-viable eggs. Some areas may require permits or specific procedures to be followed.

By doing your research, you can ensure that you are acting in accordance with the law and protecting the environment.

Place outside in a secluded spot

Once you have familiarized yourself with the regulations, find a suitable spot outdoors to place the non-viable egg. Look for a secluded area away from human activity and potential predators. This will provide the egg with the best chance of decomposing naturally and returning its nutrients back to the ecosystem.

Avoid placing it in areas where it may be disturbed or cause harm to other animals.

Mark returned eggs

To keep track of the non-viable eggs you have returned to nature, it’s a good idea to mark them in some way. This can be as simple as placing a small marker or a unique object near the egg. By marking the eggs, you can monitor their decomposition progress and ensure that you are not accidentally disturbing the same egg multiple times.

It also allows you to observe any potential changes in the surrounding environment as a result of returning the eggs.

Remember, returning non-viable eggs to nature is an important step in preserving the balance of ecosystems. By following the proper guidelines and regulations, you can contribute to the well-being of bird populations and the environment as a whole.


Caring for an orphaned bird egg can be rewarding but requires diligent monitoring, incubation, and assistance if hatching is successful. With proper training and commitment, you may get to witness the extraordinary moment when a tiny chick emerges.

By following these guidelines, you can give each abandoned egg a fighting chance while still being mindful of nature taking its course if an egg is non-viable. If in doubt, always reach out to an expert for guidance.

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