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Birds--General/doves and eggs... females :)

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I just have one more question of you, because your response was excellent! Today there was egg number 2 in the nest and I managed to take the cracked one out so there is only one solitary egg left. Is it common for a female dove (long in isolation from other doves like Woodstalk had been) not to lay eggs, or do they only lay when they are young? I guess that im trying to ask if its common for a female dove to be barren her whole life? (Im just curious because if I do have a female pair and there ends up being only two eggs laid total, then that would explain it all). Thank you again for your excellent response!
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-----Question-----
HI there! I tried asking this question to one of the other experts, however they were unable to answer me because it was out of their expertise. I was reading some of your Q/A and believe you are competant and may be able to provide me with some info :) I have had my ring-neck dove for about 5-6 years and she (he?) has never laid an egg. I recently got another dove and know from the breeder that it is a female for sure. At first, my original dove, Woodstalk, was very aggressive towards the new dove, Kodama, and had pecked feathers out of the top of her head. Kodama seemed and still seems to be a very timid bird -- she was raised in an outdoor aivery. She has finally started to settle in with her new home. Its now been about a month and a half and in the last 2 weeks the two of them have made friends and seem to have a very affectionate relationship. Kodama's feathers have also grown back. I let them out every day for at least a few hours to play. Recently I believe that they have been performing the nesting coo to each other. They fly around the house following one another, find a suitable place and one starts by lowering their head, flitting their wings gently and cooing at the other. Woodstalk used to perform the bow coo and the nesting coo (to me and my husband and 1 year old daughter! lol) before Kodama came into the picture so i was never sure if she was a female. But now im not so sure because with all the cooing they've been doing together, one of them has laid an egg today (...in the food dish on the bottom of the cage too -- which happens to be a tupperware container with a divider so i dont have to worry about putting food in there and bothering them lol). I know that a female can lay eggs even if they arent fertalized but the doves are both taking part nesting and caring for it. Would a pair of females behave this way? If so, should i remove the eggs promptly (if they prove to be infertile), and/or replace them with fakes? How often do you suppose they will lay eggs? One last question is that the egg they laid has a small crack in the area where the oxygen bubble is (the part opposite the peak), should that cause a problem if it is in fact a fertalizes egg? And if they are a breeding pair, what could i do to increase the calcium in their diet? Thank you so much for your time! I hope all the information i provided is sufficient, and that if you know anything that would help i would be so greatful! :)
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Hi, Jennilee.  Thanks for posting!

Two female doves can lay eggs in a nest and act as though they are a pair.  However, if this is the case, you'll usually find 4 eggs (2 from each) in the nest.  Since there's only been 1 egg laid so far, wait and see if any others are laid.  If they are a true male/female pair, they will lay 2 eggs.  If it's 2 females, you should see more than 2 eggs.  Usually, the male incubates the eggs during the day and the female at night...12 hour shifts.  

Do not remove the eggs.  If they are infertile, they won't hatch.  If they are fertile, they should hatch in about 18 days after incubation starts (they may not start incubating until the second egg is laid).  Also, if the egg is cracked, it won't hatch...you can just throw this egg away.  

Doves can lay eggs very often!  The process is once eggs are laid, they will incubate for about 18 days.  Babies hatch (if eggs are fertile) and parents care for babies for about 2-3 weeks (babies will look like adults in about 21 days).  Daddy dove will teach babies what/how to eat, drink, etc., and mommy dove will go to nest again.  So, they can actually produce babies about every 42 days or there about if things go normally.  Quite prolific!  

Doves need grit (any bird that eats grains whole needs grit).  Grit will supply necessary minerals, including calcium.  Parrots don't need grit because they hull their seed first before eating.

Come back with any questions.

Chrys

Answer
Hi again, Jennilee.  

I'm not sure I completely understand your question, but I'll try to answer.  

Female doves who are kept as single pets usually won't lay eggs at all unless she has something to trigger the process, such as a male or another bird/pair of birds to set off her hormones.  Raging hormones are what causes single female birds to lay infertile eggs.  Something has to trigger these hormones for eggs to result.  Therefore, if a dove has been isolated from other birds, then there is likely no trigger.  This is not always the case, but most of the time.  Female doves should be physically able to lay eggs most of their lives...they tend to slow down once they reach old age.  5-6 years of age is not old for a dove.  I've had doves live to be 12-15 years old.  However, the more often they produce eggs/babies, the shorter their lifespan.  

Because you removed the cracked egg, they may or may not lay another egg.  Just be aware that another egg may come, even if this is a male/female pair.

If I haven't answered your question, please let me know and I'll try again!

Chrys  

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Expertise

I`ve been raising/breeding/handfeeding/selling parrots for over 20 years (parakeets/budgies, cockatiels, 6 subspecies of conures, parrotlets, amazons, lovebirds, etc.). I've been published in "Budgies" and "Cockatiels" offered by Bow Tie Productions, and have written avian articles for publication in England. I can provide advice in raising healthy birds, handfeeding/weaning babies, some health problems (although I'm NOT an avian veterinarian), nail/beak/wing clipping, general husbandry, etc. I also have experience with racing/showing homing pigeons. I cannot diagnose specific illness over this website. If you suspect your bird is ill or if you have an emergency, contact an avian veterinarian or emergency pet clinic ASAP.

Experience

Experience: Over 20 years raising parrots and over 13 years raising pigeons. Organizations: Currently, American Racing Pigeon Union and American Federation of Aviculture. Prior member Miami Valley Bird Club, Southern Ohio Pigeon Association, National Cockatiel Society, Miami Valley Sportsman's Club, others. Publications: Monthly newsletters of bird clubs.

Publications
I've been published in "Budgies" and "Cockatiels" offered by Bow Tie Productions, and have written avian articles for publication in England.

Education/Credentials
American Federation of Aviculture, completed Level I course, Fundamentals of Aviculture. Keeping/breeding parrots and other birds for over 20 years.

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