How to Incubate Parrot Eggs

By Peggy Deland

Parrot eggs can be artificially incubated with high success rates, assuming that the proper equipment and procedures are used. The primary reasons to artificially incubate eggs involve poor parenting by the breeder pair--birds that eat or break their own eggs, birds that abandon their eggs or bury them in the nesting material and birds that injure or kill newly hatched chicks. All of these problems can be prevented by pulling the eggs for artificial incubation.

Pull the eggs for incubation, by removing them from the parent birds' nest box. When you choose to pull the eggs depends on the pair in question. Hatch rates are highest when the eggs are naturally incubated for the first 2 weeks, but if the parent birds eat or destroy their eggs, it is prudent to pull the eggs as soon as they are laid. The same is true if the parent birds are poor sitters or abandon their eggs, since the 14-day rule only applies to eggs that are being properly taken care of by the breeder pair.

Place the eggs in the incubator with the air cell (larger end) slightly elevated. To maintain this elevation and help prevent the incubator's vibration from damaging the eggs, place a single gauze pad under the larger end of the egg.

Incubate the eggs in an incubator designed for parrot or exotic bird eggs. The incubator you use should have accurate temperature control within one-tenth of one degree, and ideally a system for humidity control. Maintain the temperature at 99.3 degrees F, and the humidity at 40 to 50 percent. To maximize hatch rate, incubate larger eggs at the low end of this scale and smaller eggs at the high end.

Set the incubator to automatically rotate the eggs every one to two hours. Most incubators do not perform a full rotation, so you should rotate the eggs 180 degrees by hand once a day.

Candle the eggs daily to check for abnormalities, cracks, or dead-in-shell embryos. Cracked eggs should be repaired and dead-in-shell eggs should be discarded right away. Badly positioned chicks may require assistance when hatching.

Move the eggs into a hatcher when draw down occurs. Draw down is a change in the air cell within the egg that signals hatching is about to begin. This should be easily visualized when candling the egg, since the air cell will now extend down the side of the egg and will be elliptical rather than round.

Allow approximately two to three days for the eggs to hatch once draw down occurs and they have been moved to the hatcher. During this process, maintain the hatcher temperature at 99.3 degrees F and the humidity as high as possible.