Back to the birds. Several weeks ago my Finches decided much to my dismay to lay eggs. Long story short I gave in and bought nests for them. The pair of Cut Throats immediately claimed one, started making themselves at home with pieces of alfalfa, and in a day or two had laid several eggs. One pair of Gouldians selected another nest and proceeded to do the same except with poorer home making skills. Soon they too had eggs.
We all waited with baited breath. We read that the gestation period for a clutch of Finch eggs was 14-20 days. Given they lay one egg a day - does that start from the day the first egg was laid or the last since they all hatch on the same day. None of the "experts" cared to share that tidbit.
Early last week when I was out of town I received a call from home telling me that the Cut Throat eggs had hatched - we had 3 chicks. Then disaster, two days later they had perished. Meanwhile the Gouldian eggs had been tossed from their nest. (We read that the parents would do this when they realized the eggs were infertile.)
I had purchased better nests, so since no one was "nesting" my DH went into the cage, removed the old nests and replaced them with the newer more sturdy nests. Since the old Gouldian nest still had nesting material in it, he left that nest where it was.
By the time I got back in town, the Cut Throats and the same pair of Gouldians had once again settled into the nests and had laid eggs. To make things interesting, the Cut Throats were nested in the Gouldians old nest and the Gouldians had taken up in the Cut Throats former nest. (There were several nests for them to choose from.) And the Cut Throats worked tirelessly everyday to add to the nest with pieces of alfalfa, much to our amusement. Often the pieces were too large to fit in the nest opening but the male Cut Throat would still hopelessly try to get the twig into the nest. Meanwhile the Gouldians' nest was bare at best.
Naturally my DH wants to remove the nests and the parents as soon as the eggs are laid and put them into a separate cage to ensure that the eggs safely hatch and the chicks are raised. Then what? I do not need more finches. I do not want to become a finch farm. After reading some Finch Forums, I have decided to let nature take its course, if some of the eggs hatch and some of the chicks survive then I will remove them and find them new homes.
But I am not going to play God. For one thing, removing the birds out of the flight cage is extremely stressful for them and then I will have multiple cages. What happened the initial idea of a nice cage of warbling finches? So the finches are on their own, to raise their young or not.
Then yesterday, Eureka! I found the solution on all places - Ebay (naturally). While looking for a special bird supplement I could not find anywhere else, I came upon some thing I never knew existed - fake eggs. Yes, by placing these in the nests of "habitual" layers, the finches will brood their nest and stop laying.
And they make them for all types of fowl, in appropriate sizes and color. Who knew?