by Heike Ewing Ott
Dead in shell babies is a problem that is not very common in Quaker Parrots, but it does sometimes happen. This article discusses some possible causes and solutions. It is a frustrating problem that will most likely require your vet’s help in order to find a definite cause and solution.
Our local breeder has a pair of quakers that she is having problems with. She has had them for 2 years and has yet to get a baby out of them. They have had 3 clutches and consistantly produce fertile eggs. The problem occurs just before or at pipping when the chicks die in the shell. She thought it might have been a humidity problem so she started wetting the box down during the last clutch and 2 of the chicks hatched, but they died within 2 days, and the other ones died in the shell like the last 2 clutches had done.
A local person who breeds many, many pairs of Quakers suggests that a likely cause of that problem is either a mycoplasma or klepsiella (sp?) and that the pair need to be taken to the vet (or at least take in samples) for testing and treatment. The parents can be carriers and not affected, but the chicks die just before or after hatching, as you describe.
Another thing to try might be incubating a clutch artificially – if they hatch normally, then there may be something wrong with the pair’s methods. Also, if any more chicks hatch pull them and hand-feed them. The chicks who lived 2 days – had they been fed? Did they look dehydrated? This info would be critical in determining cause of death.
Another helpful thing might be to take freshly dead eggs or chicks to the vet to be cultured, tested, and examined.