Question: Nest replacements...

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I am a bit late doing my nest replacement. Babies are 13 days old. Will do it tomorrow. My question is this: I converted a plastic house to rooms with 2 6x6 compartments. The parents put nesting material in both rooms. I should probably change out both, right? even though the babies are in the back room? I feel fairly safe waiting this late, since I put sevin in, but I know I am late. I already feel guilty about it. Also, the articles in the archives don't mention putting in leaves, does anyone do that, or just pine needles? Thanks. Sue
Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

Hi Sue,

To control parasites effectively, you should replace the nesting material in both compartments.

I have no experience with Sevin, but I thought one benefit of using it was to avoid having to do nest replacements to control parasites. I don't know whether Sevin controls blowfly larvae, have read contradictory statements about that. However, blowfly is mostly a Northern problem and may not be an issue in Kansas - I don't know. Anyway, I am questioning whether you need to do a nest change at all. I hope someone from your general area who uses Sevin advises you.

My best, Mary
Click here to see my colony
"In Michigan every martin matters"
Guest

Mary,

Thanks for the quick response. I was thinking that I didn't have to do them also until I was reading about the blowfly. I also do not know if they are in Kansas. I will need to read some more about it.

What about leaves? Do you replace the leaves?

Thanks, Sue
Mary Dawnsong
Posts: 1685
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 8:17 pm
Location: Michigan, Livingston County

Hi Sue,

I do not replace the leaves when replacing nests for young 10 days or older.
The leaves are the "binding" that keeps the nest bowl together and are not necessary when young reach 10 days of age. At that age nestlings naturally spill out of the nest bowl and the bowl loses its shape.

It is not a good idea to do a nest replacement with eggs or with babies under 10 days of age. If forced to do so because of serious parasite problems, you must somehow recreate a nest bowl using leaves so that eggs can be properly incubated and young nestlings can be brooded. If nestlings cannot be contained in a well-shaped nestbowl, then they cannot survive my cold Michigan nights.

Good luck, Mary
Click here to see my colony
"In Michigan every martin matters"
Guest

Mary,

Don't know if you will see this, but I did a nest check today and the babies are looking great . No mites no other problems. I did speak with an OK person, he said no blowflies that he has seen. Decided not to change out the nest and just do frequent Nest checks until they get too old for them. Last year I had mites and did nest replacements. Jury's still out this year. Thanks for your help. As always, your student, Sue
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