Suspending Incubation of Pigeon Eggs

This is a description and outcome of an experiment to learn how long
pigeon egg incubation can be suspended under optimal conditions

Began experiment Jun-28

A small refrigerator was acquired exclusively for the
purpose of this project and adjusted it to the lowest setting

-- measured temp 48-49 ºF / humidity 68-70% -- w/ bowl of water at bottom

( … compared to standard refrigerator measured temp 38-43 ºF/ humidity 50-70%)

Four sets of breeders were paired in individual boxes

Jul 7 - 17

Collected eggs as soon as they were laid so they did not begin incubation

-- each egg was marked with a pencil for tracking, then
stored in random orientation in a sealed Ziploc baggie in the refrigerator

Eggs were not deliberately turned -- only moved as additional eggs were collected

Jul 18

Breeders were separated

Jul 28

The four sets of breeders were re-paired, same as before

Aug 9 - 16

Collected a 2nd round of eggs from the breeders and refrigerated in the same manner

As each pair laid the 2nd egg in the clutch, they were replaced with eggs FROM the refrigerator

Eggs were returned gradually to room temperature in their sealed container at least 6 hrs before fostering

The breeders were allowed to sit on the eggs naturally

After 5 full days the eggs were candled

Aug 20

Concluded experiment

+++
Results & Observations

Detailed notes were kept on each egg (ie., dates, pairs, round,
clutch order, foster parents, success/fail)

In summary, there were eight eggs in the first round

-- in this group, incubation was suspended -- ranging from 27 - 35 days

... outcome -- 100% were NOT viable

There were seven eggs in the second round (... one was damaged)

-- in this group, incubation was suspended -- ranging from 1 - 6 days

... outcome -- 100% were SUCCESSFUL

In conclusion, incubation of pigeon eggs can be successfully suspended by refrigeration for up to a week

Beyond 27 days, hatchability dropped to ZERO

There is a remaining question about how long they can be kept within the window of 7 - 26 days

It does demonstrate that the length of time pigeon egg incubation
can be suspended is up to a week -- and maybe somewhat longer, but not much

Rodney POWELL
8-2007