I have been watching closely as several of our Linnie and Quaker hens prepare for breeding. While I can never determine the exact date they will lay eggs, I do have a sense based on their behaviour.
Just as a human mother knows instinctively how to hold her own baby, bird mothers are psychologically programmed to take care of their eggs. The hen knows to prepare herself and the father beforehand so that they will work well as a team when the time comes Think of this like “parenting classes” that first-time human parents will attend in advance of their baby’s birth. Before laying, the hen will teach the male how to properly assist her. At first, she feeds him from a perch so that he learns the procedure. Later, she will sit still on the ground and wait for him to find and feed her. Finally, once the eggs are laid the father works tirelessly to support the effort by taking food directly to the couple’s nest.
I am pleased that we currently have several Linnie eggs, split between three sets of parents. Other pairs of Linnies are expected to lay soon, also. Colours expected from these eggs include green, olive, cobalt, marine and possibly Lutino (yellow).
The bigger excitement is that we have our very first Quaker egg! I have had Quakers for several years, waiting for the day they are mature enough to become parents. This is the first time that we have had a successful egg laid, and I am hopeful it will hatch, and that more will be laid. If successful, this chick will be either blue or blue opaline (pale blue) and will be for sale.
(Update May 14, 2016: we now have five Quaker eggs laid, and are hoping for more soon. Please inquire now, as these chicks will be ready for new homes later this summer! We now also have Green-Cheeked conure eggs!)
The next few weeks are of critical importance as the parents continue to monitor and tend to their eggs. There is no guarantee that they will hatch, however I am very hopeful! I will keep this space updated as things progress.
If you are interested in being on the “waiting list” for a Linnie or Quaker, please don’t delay! Requests are filled in the order they are received.