Am I doing something illegal? Animal abuse?

(126 Posts)
LookingForwardToMarch Sat 06-Jul-13 12:44:55

This may be long, I will try to keep this short.

On the usual dog walk with dd my dp found a small white egg on the ground. It was very cold so I promptly stuck it down my bra and went in search of the nest.

We didn't find a nest, all we found was a smashed up nest box which looked like it had been 6 rounds with the local thugs.

I took the egg home and stuck it in a box with some cotton wool. After some googling I realised that it was very unlikely to hatch / survive as it had been icy cold, and I didn't have a heat lamp etc.

But I kept it anyway. I guess it made me feel better than leaving it there. I was just going to l;eave it there for a few days, then give it a 'burial' in the back garden blush yes I'm a wuss.

Anyway this is where my problem comes in. When I first found the egg I shone a torch through it and it was empty.

I just thought I'd check before burying it and.....the egg is no longer empty.

Cue massive panic! I've since been told havi8ng a wild bird in the house is illegal. I'm a horrible person for picking up the egg sad and that I am being very cruel....

I never meant for this to happen but what do I do now? I've looked on the RSPB sites etc. and it says they don't take eggs.

So do I raise it? (God knows how)

Is there an organisation that take baby birds?

Am I a complete dickhead?

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 06-Jul-13 12:45:16

Apologies for typos
In a bit of a panic...

fluffyraggies Sat 06-Jul-13 12:51:53

If the egg has been cold for more than an hour or so at any time it's likely that the content is dead. (if indeed it were viable in the first place, not all eggs are).

If it were laying on the ground when you found it, and then lay in a box for a while, it's not alive any more OP.

Not your fault, don't worry.

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 06-Jul-13 12:55:27

Yes that what I thought...

But it has most certainly grown quite a bit in the last 6 days.

I did the 'torch test' thing when I first found it and there was only a teenie tiny pink blob.

Now there is a large pink (baby bird) shape that is taking up just over half of the egg!

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 06-Jul-13 12:57:40

It is illegal to raid the nests of certain birds, not all, and even if your egg is viable, you're not committing a crime by attempting to hatch it. Please don't panic, as fluffyraggies said, it's unlikely to hatch now (though apparently duck eggs can look abandoned and still hatch, so who knows?)

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 06-Jul-13 13:03:52

It's a tad small to be a duck egg, my mum seems to think its a collared dove?

Really? It probably won't hatch even though its getting bigger? ( the thing inside the egg, not the egg itself obviously )

To be honest I was just terrified of waking up to a baby bird I have no clue how to feed/ care for.

CajaDeLaMemoria Sat 06-Jul-13 13:07:10

Find a wildlife sanctuary. They'll take it. It's more than likely that it will not hatch through - it sounds as if it was viable but having been cold for so long, it's unlikely that development will continue. The egg will probably decay from the inside.

To put your mind at rest though, find a wildlife sanctuary and they will check the egg and house it with another bird. It would have next to no chance of survival if it did manage to hatch unless it can be specially fed and looked after.

Fakebook Sat 06-Jul-13 13:10:15

Might have already been said but Some birds throw out bad eggs from their nests by themselves. I think you're overreacting.

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 06-Jul-13 13:11:05

Rspb said no but I will search and check for other organisations near here.

The lady I spoke to explained that they cared for orphaned fledgelings but didn't take eggs.

fluffyraggies Sat 06-Jul-13 13:11:39

Are you warming the egg now OP? I've read that chickens lay eggs and sometimes choose to leave them for a couple of days until it has layed some more and there is a clutch, before beginning incubation. I understand that once incubation begins (ie the growth of the embryo) the heat and humidity need to be pretty constant.

My advice to you, if you think there is a possibility of having a chick to look after, is to get some live meal worms from a good pet shop (they will come in a lidded plastic dish and will stay alive awhile) and some cat food, and a small plastic syringe, and be prepared to syringe feed your baby bird every two hours! And remove the poo it will do straight after feeding.
Baby will need to be in a container with a gentle heat under it like a warm, not hot,hot water bottle. With some tissue round it. The baby that is smile

fluffyraggies Sat 06-Jul-13 13:13:49

There is loads of advice on feeding and caring for a hatchling on the internet. The next step would certainly be to get it to a sanctuary asap.

CajaDeLaMemoria Sat 06-Jul-13 13:14:26

Ah, so they will take it if it hatches, but don't want the cost of incubating it.

Well, that's something. Keep the number handy for if there are any signs of cracking, and call them ASAP so that they can get the bird quickly. Hatching is tiring, and the fledgeling will likely need a hydrating formula if not food.

Just as an aside, are you sure it's not a reptile egg? That might be quite unlikely depending on where you are.

fluffyraggies Sat 06-Jul-13 13:15:45

Just to clarify - you cant get a meal worm down a syringe, obviously, use tweezers to feed the baby those.

Syringe would be for watery mashed up cat food.

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 06-Jul-13 13:15:49

Thanks Fluffy, I think I may get some supplies in just incase!

No I'm not warming it, although it is in a cardboard box, with some cotton wool in the small room which has the boiler in it.

I guess it is warm in there but I figured you would need specialist equipment etc.

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 06-Jul-13 13:19:33

Caja I must admit I hadn't considered a reptile!

I'm in the Midlands, how likely is that? Dp would freak, ha!

Fluffy thanks grin I was wondering how to stuff a worm in!

I did look on the internet but was panicked and it was

all so conflicting!

fluffyraggies Sat 06-Jul-13 13:21:56

I'm in the midlands smile

If you do produce a baby there's a wildlife sanctuary near the Horton General Hospital in Banbury, Oxfordshire if that's any help.

McNewPants2013 Sat 06-Jul-13 13:25:33

not advice, but at least you are attepting it.

You will have to post back if the bird hatches.

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 06-Jul-13 13:31:18

Thats brilliant, thanks Fluffy!

And yes you can bet I will be back on here if mystery egg hatches!

Thanks all, am going to do a bit of research now!

tmae Sat 06-Jul-13 16:31:52

RSPB - I don't know if they would be any good, or RSPCA if not. You can get duckling/chick feed from pets at home.

Just so you know it is entirely possible for it to hatch even after that amount of time!

tmae Sat 06-Jul-13 16:33:06

Sorry just saw that RSPB said no but maybe once/if it hatched?

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 06-Jul-13 16:38:10

Yes I think we are going to start planning for it to hatch now, dp just had a look and said how much it has grown!

He also said he loves that I'm a softy but that I really have to stop bringing things back in my bra now!

Looking... You won't stop wink it's in your nature!

I've just discovered the snail I was minding while it's shell healed has laid a clutch of eggs. Dp just rolled his eyes and wandered off when I told him blush

If it's in a warm room there's every chance the egg is developing. Keep a close eye on it and ring the rspb as soon as it starts hatching and bring it to them. They've said themselves they'll take hatchings so all you have to do it mind it til it hatches.

Good luck!

babybythesea Sat 06-Jul-13 17:00:04

Hmm, if it's a dove egg feeding it might not be easy - doves and pigeons produce something called crop milk that they feed young on, rather than looking for insects or anything. It's the lining of the intestinal tract that they regurgitate for their young. Earthworms and cat food really wouldn't work for these birds.

I've just asked DP who keeps birds for a living as it's a long time since I reared birds. He says if it is a dove egg, the chances of you being able to rear the baby are non-existent. Even highly skilled keepers with years of experience can't do it (which is why when I worked with endangered pigeons we used domestic doves to rear the young rather than hand-rear). If you are fairly sure this is what it is, then he honestly thinks the most humane thing to do would be to put the egg in the freezer to euthanase it. Which probably isn't what you wanted to hear but it would be kinder. Having said that, he thinks it probably won't be viable - the hen would turn the egg every 20 minutes or so which is important for it's development. It was a lovely thing to try and do though - far better to care and try than to not give a damn!

The advice you got would work well for small songbirds, but wouldn't work for a dove. (If you think it might be a songbird, a tiny bit of papaya in their diet helps with digestion, if you can afford it. DH raises his small birds on 3/4 chopped up newborn mice and 1/4 papaya which is fairly standard among bird keepers. I'm thinking you don't want dead baby mice in your freezer - although I have some if you do!!! - but the papaya is a useful tip.)

And reptile eggs tend to have a more leathery shell, which tends to be pliable, rather than the more rigid bird egg shells.

LookingForwardToMarch Sat 06-Jul-13 17:31:46

Aww summer glad I'm not the only one!

And baby thankyou, I did think I might do more damage than harm trying to raise a baby bird. ( Have a bf 4 month old dd that would probably be put out with me! )

One of the ladies Ive spoken to suggested looking for a bird enthusiast with 'broody pidgeons' because of that crop milk thing?

I'm looking into it anyway and will keep exploring the options grin

Will update soon

topsi Sat 06-Jul-13 17:35:04

have you got a local wild like hospital to take it to? I used to volunteer at one and was often in charge of looking after the baby birds. They need feeding constantly and you have to make sure you are feeding them the correct stuff. I would give it to some one who knows what they are doing personally.
Phone Tiggywinkles on Monday and I am sure they can put you in touch with someone in your area

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