Eggs!!

Yvonne G

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Just to get you all up to speed:

I used to have 1.2 adult Mep, but my tortoise partner took them home to San Diego a couple years ago. This turned out to be a very good choice because right away the bigger female laid fertile eggs and now William (my partner) has quite a few Mep babies to sell. This left me with several baby Mep and 1.1 coming on adult Mee.

I bought the female Mee from our member M. Rajkumar in the Sacramento area several years ago. She was just coming on maturity at that time. She developed into a very nice specimen, and last year laid her first clutch of eggs. Trouble is, she put them on top of the ground, then started covering them up with the surrounding leaf litter, and in the process, she broke all the eggs (I didn't see this until after the fact).

This a.m. my egg sniffing dog alerted me to goings on in the Manouria rain forest. But I'm getting ahead of my story.

For the past couple weeks, Rajkumar (as I have named the female Mee) was working on, and built a nice nest under a shelter:

Mee eggs 7-10-17 b.jpg

. . . but, as I said, this a.m. my egg sniffer alerted me to activity further on out in the rain forest. I went to inspect and found Raj on top of a bunch of eggs, and she was trying to scrape leaf litter over the pile:

Mee eggs 7-10-17 c.jpg

The eggs are just to the right of the cast iron plant and if you look closely, you can just barely see a portion of an egg barely covered up.

I hurried up and gathered them all up, as they were laying on top of the hard ground with only a thin layer of leaves covering them so far:

Mee eggs 7-10-17 a.jpg

There was a bit of yolk over the mess of eggs, so some had been broken already, and about three of them are bent and partially crushed, so are probably no good.

Now she's industriously working and scraping leaf litter to cover the now empty nest:

Mee eggs 7-10-17 d.jpg

The male is older, but smaller than the female, and I haven't seen him show any interest in breeding, so I doubt these eggs are fertile, but I'm going to incubate them anyway.

This coming winter I'm planning to separate the Manouria shed and have the male on one side and the female on the other. Maybe absence will make his heart grow fonder for next year's breeding schedule.
 

bouaboua

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Congrats! ! ! !Hope they all hatch....
 

wellington

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You think she's still too young and that's why she doesn't dig an axlctusk hole? Maybe cuz she has never been bred, the instinct doesn't really kick in? Hmmm, will be kinda interesting to see what she will do if actually bred.
 

Yvonne G

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You think she's still too young and that's why she doesn't dig an axlctusk hole? Maybe cuz she has never been bred, the instinct doesn't really kick in? Hmmm, will be kinda interesting to see what she will do if actually bred.

They don't really dig a hole, per se, they pile up a mound of leaf litter (like an alligator), then dig down into the pile and deposit the eggs. I think as she matures and gets better at it, she'll do it right. (Hopefully)
 

algoroth1

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Really interesting Yvonne. Thanks for the info and photos. BTW, what's the youngest, in years, you've found effective male breeders?
 

Yvonne G

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I sent all the Mep records to Will when he took the Mep home with him, but I THINK the male Mep started 'practicing' at 20 years, about 35lbs. The Mee is now 20 years old and about 20lbs. I don't see him ever even near the female . Shows no interest in her at all.
 

rte123

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I spoke to you yesterday, YVONNE, about my female Burmese brown being found full of eggs. I am open to others' contributions also. I did as you and found a bunch of pine needles yesterday afternoon and it looks like she is in labor this morning. Great call with the pine needles option! In am assuming things will go well and I have questions:
- Incubator: I was planning to build an incubator of ice chest heated with heat tape or pad but I would have to order things and don't have time for that. Will the method using a well of water at the bottle with an immersed aquarium heater for temp and humidity (of course with thermostat, thermometer, hygrometer) work okay? it seems that the humidity would not be as controllable or maybe too high, having to adjust temp primarily and accepting the higher humidity. But maybe that will be alright.
- When do I collect eggs? Immediately after laying or after a period of time?
- Incubation medium: I was thinking of a mixture of vermiculite + sphagnum (support + aeration). Or what do you recommend?
 

Yvonne G

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You can call around to different pet stores to see if they carry bird/chicken incubators. I use Little Giant, like this:

www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=be981c1b-b5b4-4941-ad96-d674dea81a01&sfb=1&itemguid=c207d82d-cff4-4e82-b785-67d6790451ac&utm_content=38815&ccd=IFF003&CAWELAID=120295250000089133&CATARGETID=120295250000178170&cadevice=c&gclid=Cj0KEQjwnazLBRDxrdGMx-Km4oQBEiQAQJ1q64DXv3dM6rS3wqDet0-Kl5nAOKRNzC4nV8l9umHJua8aAmlh8P8HAQ

except you just want the bare bones incubator. . . not circulating air and definitely NOT the one that turns the eggs. The price sure has gone up since I last bought mine at $35. Hovabator makes one too, but it costs a bit more and is almost exactly the same thing.

Many people use home made incubators. I don't think humidity would be a problem because these eggs do require high humidity. let's send a shout out to @Will for his opinion on this subject

I like to collect the eggs as she's laying them. That way they're clean. But you can wait until she's finished. They get in the 'zone' and don't really realize you're taking the eggs. But after she's finished, she will be protective of the nest, just like an alligator, so maybe during would be the best time.

As the female poops out the eggs, they are covered with a layer of slime. This is a protective cover and should not be washed off. That's why I like to grab them as she poops them out. Once they're in the nest, dirt sticks to them.
 

algoroth1

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Thanks for all the good info. Yvonne. Since my m.e.e. just turned 5 I'll have to wait a few years to put him out to stud
 

Kapidolo Farms

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I spoke to you yesterday, YVONNE, about my female Burmese brown being found full of eggs. I am open to others' contributions also. I did as you and found a bunch of pine needles yesterday afternoon and it looks like she is in labor this morning. Great call with the pine needles option! In am assuming things will go well and I have questions:
- Incubator: I was planning to build an incubator of ice chest heated with heat tape or pad but I would have to order things and don't have time for that. Will the method using a well of water at the bottle with an immersed aquarium heater for temp and humidity (of course with thermostat, thermometer, hygrometer) work okay? it seems that the humidity would not be as controllable or maybe too high, having to adjust temp primarily and accepting the higher humidity. But maybe that will be alright.
- When do I collect eggs? Immediately after laying or after a period of time?
- Incubation medium: I was thinking of a mixture of vermiculite + sphagnum (support + aeration). Or what do you recommend?


If you are going to use an ice chest and an aquarium heater then use the bottom half of the ice chest for water with the heater in that water. Double the thermostat by plugging the aquarium heater into a thermostat. Set the aquarium heater to one or two degrees above your desired temp.

The trays of eggs are then placed on a wire/plastic shelf above the water level.
 
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