Hatching experience !

The place to discuss Domestic Ducks and Geese & Wild Fowl

Moderator: dorsetduckowner

Post Reply
Pottsgrp
Newcomer / Hatchling
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:24 pm

Hatching experience !

Post by Pottsgrp »

I posted on here a few weeks ago when my Pekin duck eggs were in their incubator, for ideas for a duck run.

By day 25 I was down from 8 to 6 eggs and I discarded one more on day 26 - this is the first time I have done this and I *think* that embryo had died sometime in the last week, so on Wednesday there were 5 on the hatching mat waiting to go.

Egg A was the first to pip on Wednesday morning, creating a fairly small dent in the shell but no more. The others all started pipping over wednesday evening and those four all hatched without incident on Thursday evening, day 28.

By then Egg A had a very small piece of shell cracked and flapping, presumably as the bill was moving about but there had been no progress towards any unzipping. On Friday morning I moved the 4 ducklings into their brooding box, then made sure the incubator was back up to temperature and humidity and started googling! This egg had pipped two days earlier, the first to do so and was making no progress whatsoever, but wa clearly still alive because of the rhythmical flapping of the little piece of shell.

After reading various articles and watching a few videos I came to the conclusion that an intervention was required. At first I picked off the loose piece of shell. Having done so I could see the top of the bill which was hardly moving. It looked like it would be safe to tweek a bit more shell off around the beak and having done so I could see that there was about 5cm of beak poking through what I can only assume was the membrane. It was trying to move sideways but clearly wasn’t able to. At that point I read somewhere about using coconut oil to moisten the membrane so dashed off to the shop to buy some! By the time I got back the bill was opening and closing , sometimes quite wide, and the best way I can describe it is that it looked like the bill had a rubber band wrapped round it! Each time the bill opened it would stretch the membrane but when closed again the membrane would return to closely hugging the bill.

After more googling I decided I needed to do something to release the head, so I grabbed the bill And gently pulled it out. Having done that the duckling pretty much jumped out of the shell and the duckling came out trailing its yolk sac, all of which ended up on the incubator floor.

I thought that was probably it for the duckling but it stayed there for some hours, lying on its stomach, trying to scrabble forward but unable to because it was stuck to the hatching mat! More googling didn’t really get me anywhere but the duckling was still alive, resting a lot with eyes closed then having another scrabble to move until sometime around 2pm when I went back to it and it had moved to the other side of the incubator leaving the egg yolk behind and then proceeded to circle the incubator on its stomach, eyes closed. There were by then 5 shells and a small pile of gloop from the yolk sac and the mat had got quite wet so I decided the best thing to do would be to set up a second brooder (or plastic storage box as it used to be) because I happened to have bought a second heater. So with the ‘hospital brooder’ set up, towel on the floor, a handful of duck crumbs in one corner and a jar lid with some water in I transferred the duckling to the new brooder and lowered the heater over it. There wasn’t a lot else to do so I left it that way overnight. By this morning the duckling was out and about, head up, very wobbly on its feet, but dry. I was a bit concerned it was suffering splayed leg so I got it onto a towel on the kitchen table and supported it to stand upright for a while and then put it back in the brooder box. 10 minutes later it was up and about, still slightly wobbly on its feet, but an hour later seemed to be able to walk and stand for a short time. I thought I might as well transfer it to the main brooder box with the others and within 5 minutes it was trotting around with the others, using the water nipple and eating. 8 hours later it is almost impossible to tell it from the others! It’s slightly smaller!

So... any comments about what went on? Does this sound familiar? I think it wouldn’t have made it had I not intervened but I have no idea whether I was taking the right approach by drawing the head out!
User avatar
Marigold
Moderator
Posts: 6967
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:27 pm

Re: Hatching experience !

Post by Marigold »

Well, I don’t know the first thing about hatching ducklings, but this sounds to me like a fantastically careful and successful intervention, well done! I’m so glad it recovered enough to manage to join the others and live a normal life. So often, in stories like these, the chick is left disabled and one wonders whether the intervention was in its best interests, but in your case, a healthy duckling was able to join its family and grow normally. A very cheering story - do keep in touch, please, and let us know how your very special duckling gets on.
User avatar
dorsetduckowner
Regular Forum Contributor / Laying Well
Posts: 849
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:37 am

Re: Hatching experience !

Post by dorsetduckowner »

Hi! I don't know much about hatching but this sounds like a wonderful story and you did so well!!! Would love to see pictures if you have any!
Pottsgrp
Newcomer / Hatchling
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:24 pm

Re: Hatching experience !

Post by Pottsgrp »

Here they are at 12 days old... so a couple of days ago. I’ve since moved them to larger accommodation - they grow so fast!

https://youtu.be/vaHtYGarDmk
User avatar
dorsetduckowner
Regular Forum Contributor / Laying Well
Posts: 849
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:37 am

Re: Hatching experience !

Post by dorsetduckowner »

Aww bless them!!! They are huge!
Pottsgrp
Newcomer / Hatchling
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:24 pm

Re: Hatching experience !

Post by Pottsgrp »

They are huge!! The one I helped along is a little smaller than the rest and is a little more nervous and reticent to eat from the hand etc, but hopefully he/she will catch up with the rest in time.
Post Reply

Return to “Waterfowl Forum”