How to Breed & Hatch Hummingbird Eggs

Hummingbird breeding is a long, difficult process.
Hummingbird breeding is a long, difficult process. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Breeding hummingbirds in captivity is a very difficult process limited to zoo exhibits and large aviaries. Raising hummingbirds requires a special permit that few organizations can obtain. Some individuals rescue or capture hummingbirds in the wild and find ways to breed them and create hatchlings. Still, the practice is rare and individuals are urged to leave hummingbird breeding to professionals. Hummingbird enthusiasts, however, are welcome to learn about the intricate details of the wonderful creatures.

Things You'll Need

  • Aviary or exhibit
  • Male hummingbird
  • Female hummingbird
  • Lint
  • Animal hair
  • Yarn
  • Spiders

Place the hummingbirds in an aviary large enough "to hold the desired breeding pair as well as the non-breeding hummingbirds," says conservation biologist Karen Krebbs.

Provide the female hummingbirds with a larger selection of the opposite sex that they can mate with.

Place a variety of objects, such as lint, yarn, and animal hair, on the floor of the aviary for nesting material. Introduce spiders to the hummingbird population to account for the natural spider webbing hummingbirds use to build nests.

Observe the breeding and hatching process, which takes approximately 15 to 18 days of incubation.

Provide the female bird with insects, so it can feed the nestlings once they are hatched.

Eliminate predators like ants and rodents, which feed on hummingbird nestlings.

Tips & Warnings

  • Give the hummingbirds the privacy they need to nest and breed properly.
  • Do not crowd the cages, since hummingbirds are very territorial.
  • Do not approach the nest too closely.

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