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Incubating - one egg not dehydrating - help! - Page 3

post #21 of 25
sad.png I'm so sorry you lost two of the ducklings...
Winnie was chosen second in the Cutest Webs of 2016 contest ! Congratulations, Winnie !
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Winnie was chosen second in the Cutest Webs of 2016 contest ! Congratulations, Winnie !
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post #22 of 25
Sorry for you losses. Some people would probably try incubating at a lower humidity.

-Kathy
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 

Yes, I have reduced the humidity for the rest of the eggs.  The eggs that are one week along and those that are two weeks along seem to be dehydrating fine at about 50% humidity, which is what I have now.  So I hope the next batch of ducklings will hatch without issues.  Crossing my fingers!

 

Below is the single survivor of five eggs.  The first two died, leading me to take the drastic step of rescuing this one when it showed distress after internally pipping for 48 hours and going no further.  I waited a day for the last two to pip by themselves, and they never did so.  By the time I went to see if I could help, they were dead-in-shell.  This duckling ate lightly the first day then sort of gave up.  Not too surprising, since it's "mother" is a stuffed animal that neither eats nor drinks, and there are no brothers or sisters to stimulate it. It was eating a bit when I encouraged it, but I couldn't spend hours tapping my finger and holding up food.  At this point I am tube-feeding it.  

 

It's a lively little thing, not gaining as much weight as it should, but sweet with surprising bursts of energy in between long bouts of resting.  Time will tell if it pulls through.  I'm hoping it will hang on for two weeks and then have brothers and sisters.  Meanwhile, it gets outings with the big ducks for encouragement.  They are kind and tolerate its presence well.

 

 

 

I'm not sure what color that will be, other than "cute."  Anyone had ducklings this color?  It is NOT restricted, there is definitely body color in there on the back (and parents don't carry the restricted gene), but very mixed with yellow.  The "light" parts of the face are dark yellow and there is a lot of light yellow on the belly.


Edited by Duck Hill - 3/7/16 at 11:48am
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duck Hill View Post
 

Yes, I have reduced the humidity for the rest of the eggs.  The eggs that are one week along and those that are two weeks along seem to be dehydrating fine at about 50% humidity, which is what I have now.  So I hope the next batch of ducklings will hatch without issues.  Crossing my fingers!

 

Below is the single survivor of five eggs.  The first two died, leading me to take the drastic step of rescuing this one when it showed distress after internally pipping for 48 hours and going no further.  I waited a day for the last two to pip by themselves, and they never did so.  By the time I went to see if I could help, they were dead-in-shell.  This duckling ate lightly the first day then sort of gave up.  Not too surprising, since it's "mother" is a stuffed animal that neither eats nor drinks, and there are no brothers or sisters to stimulate it. It was eating a bit when I encouraged it, but I couldn't spend hours tapping my finger and holding up food.  At this point I am tube-feeding it.  

 

It's a lively little thing, not gaining as much weight as it should, but sweet with surprising bursts of energy in between long bouts of resting.  Time will tell if it pulls through.  I'm hoping it will hang on for two weeks and then have brothers and sisters.  Meanwhile, it gets outings with the big ducks for encouragement.  They are kind and tolerate its presence well.

 

 

 

I'm not sure what color that will be, other than "cute."  Anyone had ducklings this color?  It is NOT restricted, there is definitely body color in there on the back (and parents don't carry the restricted gene), but very mixed with yellow.  The "light" parts of the face are dark yellow and there is a lot of light yellow on the belly.

That is one adorable duckling!! :love

 Western N.C ~ 17 chickens= EE's, Game, variety of bantams,1Light Brahma, 2 Black Australorps . 5 Muscovy ducks, 8 Indian Runners and 2 Buff Orpington Ducks, 1 Embden gander,1 Toulouse goose , 3 mini Dachshunds, 2 mixed breed, pond goldfish,  and a wonderful Husband who makes it all possible..

 

http://www.faithpot.com/you-cover-me/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email...

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 Western N.C ~ 17 chickens= EE's, Game, variety of bantams,1Light Brahma, 2 Black Australorps . 5 Muscovy ducks, 8 Indian Runners and 2 Buff Orpington Ducks, 1 Embden gander,1 Toulouse goose , 3 mini Dachshunds, 2 mixed breed, pond goldfish,  and a wonderful Husband who makes it all possible..

 

http://www.faithpot.com/you-cover-me/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email...

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post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 

:/  I am sharing my experiences with these difficult hatches (started above) in order to try to help others.  

 

In the incubator for this thread I was - unfortunately - running three sets of eggs.  Each set was started on Saturday afternoon.  Hatch 2 was set two weeks after Hatch 1, and Hatch 3 was only one week after Hatch 2.  Each hatch contained eggs from two different ducks and several fathers, so the problems I have encountered cannot be genetic.

 

 

Hatch 1 above - UPDATE:  

Five eggs set, 4 dead in shell.  Lone survivor, helped out, did not survive past two weeks.   :hit

 

"Violette", duckling pictured above, never ate on her own, got respiratory infection, succumbed in spite of trip to the vet.  Part of problem may have been that she was a lone survivor and had no peer stimulation.  It may also have been that she experienced too much distress before being helped out, or that she was not very strong from the start.

 

OBSERVATION:  I observed that ducklings are in a sort of sleeping trance while incubating until it is time for them to hatch on day 27 or 28.  They only "wake up" when it is time to exit the egg.  Therefore, the overly large ducklings were in "sleeping mode" on day 24 when they ran out of egg and air.  They therefore were not awake enough to really get out of their eggs.  Perhaps if I had helped them out of the egg earlier some would have survived. 

 

HATCH 2:

Seven eggs set, all helped out, five healthy survivors.  :celebrate

 

The second set of eggs was placed in the incubator exactly two weeks after the first set.  

*  Their humidity was lower most of week 1 and part of week 2 (50-55%).  Then it was high during Hatch 1 (end of week 2).  Then it was low again until their hatch date.  Eggs did dehydrate properly.

*  Many ducklings were in odd positions within their shells.  Two were up-side-down.  This is in spite of being in an automatic egg turner with proper egg positions.

*  They had a slightly lower temperature weeks 3 and 4, because I thought perhaps Hatch 1 grew too fast due to heat that was too high.

*  Mothers still had increased protein consumption during egg laying.

 

This set was also too large for their eggs, though not quite as bad as the first set.  I helped the ducklings' heads out several days early (increasing the humidity at that point).  They were due on Saturday.  I helped the heads out for one that seemed to be in distress early on Wednesday and it died within 24 hours.  I helped the rest of the heads out Wednesday afternoon and Thursday.  Of six that I helped out, five have survived (the other was "operator error" on my part).  Sniff.

 

:jumpy  NOTE:  "Helped the duckling's heads out" means that I open the top (air sack end), find the beak, and gently ease out the head.  I do not disturb the bottom part of the duckling, which has a yolk and which is attached to the bottom of the egg shell with blood vessels and membranes.  This gives the large duckling air and room to breathe.  If you want to try this, be aware that while the inside of the membrane does not stick to the duckling, the thick usually clear stuff at the bottom of the egg can dry rock hard.  Be sure to wash off any fluid from the head and neck, as hardened stuff can make it impossible for a duckling to move or breathe.  Use a small band of paper towels to hold the edge of the membrane away from the duckling, as that, too, can dry hard and can trap the duckling.  Finally, I place the egg in a paper-towel lined plastic bag.  This is to limit moisture loss from the open egg.  I made sure the bag was open for air exchange to the egg membrane and the duckling's head was outside the bag for maximum oxygen. 

 

When I eased their heads out, these ducklings were very lethargic (because it was not "hatch time"). However, they all were breathing well.  They "slept" in the incubator till Friday mid-day.  At that point, their yolk sack was gone and they began to try to exit their eggs.  They needed help because the insides of the egg had dried out somewhat.  They had no yolk, and the blood vessels in the membrane were inactive.  I opened the shell, cut the thick goop, freed the ducklings, and put antibiotic ointment on the pink part that was still sticking out of their bellies.  They spend the rest of Friday resting and drying, and did not begin to move around well till Saturday morning.  At that point, they began moving, eating, and being normal ducklings.  They ate and drank on their own, and have been perfectly healthy and growing fast.  They are now nearly a week old, and have grown tremendously (as ducklings do).  They are a joy!  I did add medium strength antibiotics to their water to combat anything they may have been exposed to due to their early shell opening.  I will keep them on this till day 10.

 

Hatch 3:

Seven eggs set, serious issues with egg development.  All helped out, two survivors.  :hu

 

*  They had very high humidity during several days of the first week because of Hatch 1.

*  They had lowered humidity (about 50%) till week 3, where they again had very high humidity for a few days because of Hatch 2.

*  They had somewhat lower temperatures than the other two hatches.

 

The embryos did not develop correct blood vessels all over the egg.  They only developed blood vessels in the middle of the egg.  I noticed this problem as I candled during week 2, and the blood vessels did not spread throughout the egg as required.  This problem was environmental, as it occurred in the eggs from two different ducks. It may have been due to the several days of high humidity due to Hatch 1.  Temperatures and mother's food was not significantly different from other hatches.

 

Upon candling in the last week I noticed that the problem had continued.  There was a large white area (without blood vessels) on the bottom of each egg.  In one case a second air sack had even developped on that end.  The blood vessels only filled a band around the middle of the eggs.

 

I opened one egg that seemed to have issues.  The yolk had ruptured (before I opened the egg).  The duckling was half the size it should have been, and the yolk had mixed with the goop.  It died quickly, and I'm sure would have done so with or without intervention.  Another egg that I opened had a duckling that was exceedingly small.  It died promptly as the membranes separated from the shell the moment I opened the top end of the egg.  Normal membranes are firmly attached to the egg shell.

 

Even though it was quite early, I helped out the heads of three more ducklings that had a very dehydrated top end, combined with a white space at the bottom.  One, with the most white on the bottom of the egg, was weak and lived only for a day after having its head helped out.  The other two eggs had better membranes with less white on the bottom of the egg.  The ducklings were clearly strong from the moment I took out their heads.  They peeped at me immediately, before falling back asleep.  They still had large yolks. They slept through the rest of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with their open egg shells.  They occasionally peeped at me and moved when I touched them.  On Friday morning I noticed the yolk sacks were gone.  They were trying to get out but were trapped because the stuff at the bottom of the egg was too gooey-dry to let them go free.  I freed them, and they were moving around like normal newborn ducklings.  They are strong and healthy, and responded to a visit by an older sibling by trying to get up and move around.  I am certain that tomorrow they will begin feeding and moving around just like their older siblings.  

 

The two last eggs were slightly less dehydrated and so I figured they were fine and left them till Thursday morning.  At that time I helped their heads out.  They were smaller than normal, not as developed as they should have been, very weak, and were unable to breathe.  They did not make it.  They also had very large white spots without blood vessels on the bottom of their eggs.  

 

CONCLUSIONS:  

 

:jumpy Helping the ducklings by helping their heads out of the shell early does not causes healthy ducklings to die.  The ones who are strong seem to survive this radical procedure just fine, as long as the bottom of the shell (and its membrane) remains undamaged. They are able to begin breathing on their own and use the air from the breathing to supplement what they get from their membranes.  NOTE that I am NOT encouraging anyone to open their eggs early.  Normal ducklings should be able to hatch on their own.  This is only a last-resort measure to try to save a life.

 

:he Correct humidity during week 1 seems to be necessary to the formation of a good bond between the blood vessels in their membrane and the egg shell.  Very high humidity (around 70-75%) during that period - even if just for a few days - will ruin the eggs.  The same very high humidity for three days during the end of week 2 did NOT seem to cause a similar issue, though it might have been unhealthy for the eggs.  

 

-:he High humidity during weeks 1 and 2 (60-65%) causes eggs to not dehydrate properly.  This may be the cause of overly large ducklings, who are not able to exit their eggs. Ducklings become too big for the egg, while their biological clock tells them it is not yet time to get out.  These ducklings might have been helped by having their heads pulled out early, had I known to do so.

 

:hugsDucklings seem to need the stimulation of other ducklings in order to finish "waking up" and to start eating properly.  My first, lone duckling did not start eating on her own, although she seemed healthy when born.  This eventually led to her demise.  My group of five did great, stimulating each other to be active and to eat.  My last two ducklings, although healthy, were not eating enough and had a rough start the first day.  Then I added some older "buddies" from the first group (one week older) with supervision (the older ducklings thought those tiny feet looked so yummy!) and the new ducklings perked up and began eating and drinking more, following the example of their older and larger siblings. This was definitely a turning point for them.    

 

Humidity seems to have contributed significantly to my poor success with these hatches.  I'm not sure this was the only issue.  I will try again later this summer or next year.  I plan to try feeding my ducks with lay pellets and healthy greens but not the high protein dog food to see if this helps the ducklings.  I will also control humidity carefully.  I will plan (as best I can) for hatches with at least 5 surviving ducklings.  That means I will try to set larger batches of eggs (like at least 10) to make sure I have enough surviving ducklings so they can stimulate each other those critical first few days.

 

:cd  I really hope all this information can help someone to have more surviving ducklings.  It is heartbreaking when they reach the fully formed stage and then don't make it.  


Edited by Duck Hill - 3/26/16 at 3:34pm
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