Why A Pigeon May Not Sit On Their Eggs: 5 Reasons


pigeon eggs in a nest

There are numerous reasons why a pigeon may not be sitting on their eggs, these include:

  • The eggs aren’t fertilized
  • The female may have lost her mate
  • They may be waiting for a second egg to be hatched
  • They know the eggs are bad
  • They may be forced to abandon their eggs due to a threat

If you’ve found an abandoned pigeon egg read our article on how to care for a pigeon egg here.

Read on for details about why these things sometimes happen.

1. The Eggs May Not Be Fertilized

Female pigeons can lay eggs without the help of a male. While this is very rare it does sometimes happen to younger female pigeons.

nest & eggs

A very young female may be mature enough to lay the clutch, but too inexperienced to incubate them correctly.

Often eggs are not sat on because the female will be instinctively aware that they are not fertilized as they haven’t mated with a male.

2. The Female May Have Lost Her Mate

For successful hatching and rearing, it takes a pair of pigeons.

Pigeons are generally good parents in the sense that both the male and female take part in the brooding.

Normally, the male will use the morning hours to search for food, while his mate sits on the eggs. 

pigeons cooing

In the afternoon, they switch turns and she goes off to feed.

In this way, they share the incubation of the eggs.

A female on her own would be unlikely to achieve a successful hatching.

A lone female would likely abandon the clutch due to hunger.

On the other hand, a lone male that has lost his female partner for some reason may also do this.

3. They May Be Waiting For The Second Egg

Female pigeons, on average, lay two eggs.

The second egg usually appears a day or two after the first.

pigeon eggs in a nest

Inexperienced pigeon owners may think that the first egg has been abandoned because they don’t notice either of the birds incubating it.

Don’t fret because this is quite normal behavior.

Many times, the female won’t start the brooding process until the second egg has emerged.

4. The Pigeons Senses The Eggs Are Not Healthy

Pigeon mothers, the same as other animals and humans, have a sixth sense when it comes to the health of their offspring.

They can sense when something is wrong with the eggs that they have laid.

They won’t try to incubate eggs that won’t hatch.

If you have any doubts about some eggs, you can check them by appearance.

Healthy eggs have smooth and shiny shells.

one egg in a nest

You can confirm this by running a finger over them.

Any that aren’t, are probably stillborn and the parents won’t have anything to do with them.

Another way to check suspect eggs is to take them into a dark place and shine a torch on them.

Healthy eggs should have veins running through them.

One of the major reasons that eggs may not be healthy is the result of malnutrition of the parent birds.

The correct alimentation, a well-balanced diet, is the key to healthy pigeons and therefore their offspring.

5. Pigeons May Abandon Their Eggs Due To A Threat

A nest could be abandoned, leaving the eggs behind, simply because the pigeons felt under a threat of some kind.

pigeon fleeing from predators

Pigeons return to the same nest time and time again, but when in danger from predators or human activity, they may abandon the site completely.

Extreme weather may have something to do with it too.

A female who has laid a clutch of eggs but has lost her mate and takes up with a new male is likely to leave the first batch.

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