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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7531
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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Ihave two doves. They lay eggs but nothing hatches. How ...

Resolved Question:

Ihave two doves. They lay eggs but nothing hatches. How long should i let them sit on these eggs in the nest? How can I tell if eggs are firtile?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.

Doves' eggs will usually hatch about two weeks from the time the last egg is laid.

If you're adept at candling, it's a way to tell if they're fertile (or just wait two weeks to see if they hatch). Here is more about candling (though it mentions chicken eggs, it will apply to your dove's)

Egg laying is something that every female bird can do without benefit of male birds. Of course eggs laid without a male to mate with are not fertile and will not hatch. Laying, in birds other than chickens and other food source poultry, is not healthy and shouldn't be ignored. All steps you can take to stop this behavior should be taken and right away.

Teresa Lightfoot, DVM, Diplomate (avian specialist), has a very good page specifically about this problem and how to help your bird stop.

Make sure you provide fresh cuttlebone or other calcium sources to this bird at all times to help maintain calcium in their over-stressed body.

Linda S. Rubin, a genetic consultant with NCS (National Cockatiel Society) offers even more information and the suggestion to leave the eggs rather than remove them. (though this link pertains to ‘tiels, it's applicable for our other winged friends too )


( If you notice any egg cracked or broken, however, it must be removed since this is a breeding ground for bacteria and other potential infectious problems. Remember, eggs are the number one modality to grow viruses in development of vaccines; they grow other things as well! )


You might want to increase her nighttime hours to 13 sleep instead of 12+12.

Another option is to move things around inside the cage. Change out her toys, switch perches, rearrange feeding and water cups - make it look 'new' to her. Even moving the actual location a little bit can help.

Other precautions are to not pet her under her wings or touch consistently from the mid-back down (this can trigger egg laying).

No feeding her from your mouth, which is just a good idea anyway since we have far too much bacteria there to be safe for a bird.


No feeding soft foods from your fingers which may be perceived as regurgitation, another mating behavior.


If egg laying continues or becomes chronic, you must consult with an avian vet or other vet who is well experienced with birds. Chances of severe health complications exist in over-layers.

Good luck with your doves

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