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Eggs regularly being laid above ground, over one year. Does this look like chalking?

Stoneman

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I found this egg, and I am not sure if you can see it from the images, but there is a white chalky looking stuff on the outside. I am guessing it is chalking, it looks different than the other ones I have gathered. I will check in a couple days to see if it becomes fully covered in it or not. But the narrowest ends seem to be covered in it.

I have another egg that is a couple months old and has darkened up a bit, I am guessing it is bad so I separated it so it would not explode all over my other eggs. Is that a good indication that it is bad? Should I throw it out? It is one of the ones that had heavy pitting, and covered in the crystalline stuff.
 

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G-stars

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Hard to tell from the pictures if it’s chalking or not.

Just a friendly suggestion, the less you mess with the eggs the better. Leave them alone and don’t handle them. If they start to smell or explode then take them out. I know it’s hard but sometimes interfering with eggs makes it worse. There’s plenty of breeders who have thrown out or opened eggs which had a live tortoise inside. Only because it was way longer then they expected it to hatch. Nature does what it wants to do. I’ve had eggs laid from the same clutch hatch almost 2 months apart. Why?? I don’t know, they were literally right next to each other but both tortoises are normal and healthy.
 

Millerlite

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I found this egg, and I am not sure if you can see it from the images, but there is a white chalky looking stuff on the outside. I am guessing it is chalking, it looks different than the other ones I have gathered. I will check in a couple days to see if it becomes fully covered in it or not. But the narrowest ends seem to be covered in it.

I have another egg that is a couple months old and has darkened up a bit, I am guessing it is bad so I separated it so it would not explode all over my other eggs. Is that a good indication that it is bad? Should I throw it out? It is one of the ones that had heavy pitting, and covered in the crystalline stuff.
Is your substrate hard and compacted? Why are they being laid above ground? You have a make female I assume pair. If the ground is too hard which would have to be really hard because I've seen my desert tortoise dig through hard clay they would be force to lay above. If it's too sandy or Rock as well can prevent a good nesting area. Maybe they just arnt fertile and she knows so she doesnt dig a nest. .. I would figure out why eggs are being laid above ground. Hopefully the eggs are fertile and developed, I would leave them alone and be patient as suggested. Wait till they are rotting before giving up.

Kyle
 

Stoneman

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It is either fir mulch or fir bark- medium sized is the smallest I can find. I did find one in the outdoor enclosure that was laid above ground.

I don't know ehat you mean by your third sentence. Something about a pair? They are in a group 2.5 at least one female is on the younger side. But threw rest are statistically ready.
 

Millerlite

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It is either fir mulch or fir bark- medium sized is the smallest I can find. I did find one in the outdoor enclosure that was laid above ground.

I don't know ehat you mean by your third sentence. Something about a pair? They are in a group 2.5 at least one female is on the younger side. But threw rest are statistically ready.
Yeah sorry that's what I was assuming you had a group and a Male. Interesting. They are Indian star tortoises ?
 

Yvonne G

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In my experience, eggs just pooped out on top of the ground are usually not fertile.
 

Markw84

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It is either fir mulch or fir bark- medium sized is the smallest I can find. I did find one in the outdoor enclosure that was laid above ground.
IF you are keeping them on fir bark, that may be an issue. That is not giving them a suitable substrate in which to dig a nest. Tortoises can be quite picky about choosing a place to lay. IF they cannot find a suitable place, they can simply lay the eggs on the surface as you are seeing. The picture of the egg you think may be chalking, looks a bit like overcalcification to me, which also is a sign they are holding eggs too long in frustration from not finding suitable laying areas. They "sniff" the soild constantly testing for places that seem OK to them. It seems they are checking for heat and humidity of the soil and probably "know" if a spot has the right characteristics for their eggs. Fir bark or mulch will not provide a place I have ever found they would choose. The need to be able to dig a nice hold that holds its shape well. They like to create a mud ball to seal the hole and as they dig you will see them creating a good bit of mud from the soil they dig out.

I do use fir bark as a substrate in my indoor enclosures, but for my nesting enclosure, I have 2/3 of the enclosure 12" deep but I use a mixture of sand and peat moss and some soil that I mix together, moisten thoroughly, and pack down so I can dig in the firm substrate and a hole will hold its shape easily and not cave in. I place lights over a portion to give a heat gradient to the surface soil temperature. I place a few hanging plants over a few areas as star tortoises tend to like to dig nests next to and slightly under bush cover.
 

Stoneman

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Jan 12, 2018
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351
Location (City and/or State)
Pacific Northwest, United States
IF you are keeping them on fir bark, that may be an issue. That is not giving them a suitable substrate in which to dig a nest. Tortoises can be quite picky about choosing a place to lay. IF they cannot find a suitable place, they can simply lay the eggs on the surface as you are seeing. The picture of the egg you think may be chalking, looks a bit like overcalcification to me, which also is a sign they are holding eggs too long in frustration from not finding suitable laying areas. They "sniff" the soild constantly testing for places that seem OK to them. It seems they are checking for heat and humidity of the soil and probably "know" if a spot has the right characteristics for their eggs. Fir bark or mulch will not provide a place I have ever found they would choose. The need to be able to dig a nice hold that holds its shape well. They like to create a mud ball to seal the hole and as they dig you will see them creating a good bit of mud from the soil they dig out.

I do use fir bark as a substrate in my indoor enclosures, but for my nesting enclosure, I have 2/3 of the enclosure 12" deep but I use a mixture of sand and peat moss and some soil that I mix together, moisten thoroughly, and pack down so I can dig in the firm substrate and a hole will hold its shape easily and not cave in. I place lights over a portion to give a heat gradient to the surface soil temperature. I place a few hanging plants over a few areas as star tortoises tend to like to dig nests next to and slightly under bush cover.
Thank you I will make those changes because I just got some new presents today! Three new eggs and one is hatching out of the incubator! all in the same day! All three I found were above ground I will give them all baths tonorrow and dig for some possible more
 

Stoneman

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Joined
Jan 12, 2018
Messages
351
Location (City and/or State)
Pacific Northwest, United States
Hard to tell from the pictures if it’s chalking or not.

Just a friendly suggestion, the less you mess with the eggs the better. Leave them alone and don’t handle them. If they start to smell or explode then take them out. I know it’s hard but sometimes interfering with eggs makes it worse. There’s plenty of breeders who have thrown out or opened eggs which had a live tortoise inside. Only because it was way longer then they expected it to hatch. Nature does what it wants to do. I’ve had eggs laid from the same clutch hatch almost 2 months apart. Why?? I don’t know, they were literally right next to each other but both tortoises are normal and healthy.
Thanks G, I had that same tendency with chicken eggs when I first started with those. I got excited and wanted to help them and open threw incubator all the time and check for development but over time I realized that was worse, and when I quit messing with it my hatch rate improved. I will follow your guidance thank you.
 

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