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Duck eggs late hatching?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 

Hi all, I'm new to the backyardchickens website, though I have heard great things about it, so I decided to join smile

So my problem is: I was originally incubating 6 aylesbury duck eggs in my homemade incubator, but since starting I have found 2 to be dead at early stages (blood ring) and 1 to be infertile. It will be day 30 this evening for the remaining 3 and they still have not hatched. They have been in lockdown for almost 5 days now. I candled them last night to make sure I haven't got quitters, and it was hard to see movement in 2 of them (though one still had distinct blood veins) and 1 was moving about a fair bit, but none had entered the air cells. The temperature is on 97.5-98 and the humidity is being kept high, though my hygrometer broke a while back so I have been measuring it through watching the air cell development, which seems pretty spot on. I have also been occasionally lightly spraying the eggs for extra humidity. I haven't seen the eggs physically move and through candling it was hard to tell what position any of the babies were in. This is all new to me, and is proving a lot more difficult than when I hatched chicken eggs (near 100% hatch big_smile)

So my questions are whether it is normal for them to not have broken into the air cell yet? Do you think they still have a chance to hatch? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot smile

post #2 of 42

They should have at least broken through the inner membrane into the airsac by now.  The temp you mentioned- is that what you have had it on all the way along- or just since lockdown?

<(" ) TAYLORDUCKS  ( ")>       
<(" )  Breeder of Harlequin and Crested Indian Runners.  ( ")>

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<(" ) TAYLORDUCKS  ( ")>       
<(" )  Breeder of Harlequin and Crested Indian Runners.  ( ")>

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post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 

That's been the temperature since lockdown. Before lockdown it was at 99.5-100. They've been developing great until now, I've heard ducks can be late hatchers, but this is really starting to worry me sad

post #4 of 42

I just thought if you had had the temp that low throughout it could explain why they were late.  Seeing some movement means there is still hope.   About the homemade incubator-  does it have a fan in it??   You mentioned you have hatched chickens- so I am assuming its in the same bator, and since the same principals apply to duck eggs- you should expect something to be happening by now.  The slowest I ever had was day 32 - so dont give up all hope yet.  You may need to assist the hatch in some way- but if they havent even got their beaks into the airsac- it may be too early to do anything even if they are overdue.   Did you calibrate the thermometer at all?     

I have an Aylesbury- but I have never hatched them so dont really know if there is anything in particular a bit quirky with them.

<(" ) TAYLORDUCKS  ( ")>       
<(" )  Breeder of Harlequin and Crested Indian Runners.  ( ")>

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<(" ) TAYLORDUCKS  ( ")>       
<(" )  Breeder of Harlequin and Crested Indian Runners.  ( ")>

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post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 

I am using 4 non-digital thermometers instead of a digital one, all say the same temperature, so I'm hoping they all can't be wrong, they were all bought new for this incubation so I think they are accurate. I did have a power cut about a week ago which lasted for about 3-4 hours, so that could have contributed. My incubator is not fan-assisted and is basically a polystyrene box heated with a lamp, I'm using a pan filled with water with a sponge in it, and I recently added a damp cloth on top to add to the humidity. And yep it is the same one I used for my chickens, and they all hatched right on time (with the exception of one early one) and they were all perfectly healthy. Thanks a lot for your help, I'm hoping there just a bit slow getting into gear. Do you think I should candle them again tonight to see if they've internally pipped? Thanks again smile

post #6 of 42

I seem to recall still-air should be a smidge higher temp than fan temp? So they might just be a bit behind?

Toadbriar - prints and original paintings

visit the Art Farm!
1 greyhound, 1 boxer, 3 cats, and 1 quaker parrot. Landscape crew: 1 mini horse, 4 tiny goats! 
A gorgeous rainbow flock of Ancona ducks, American Buff geese, & Narragansett turkeys. 

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Toadbriar - prints and original paintings

visit the Art Farm!
1 greyhound, 1 boxer, 3 cats, and 1 quaker parrot. Landscape crew: 1 mini horse, 4 tiny goats! 
A gorgeous rainbow flock of Ancona ducks, American Buff geese, & Narragansett turkeys. 

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post #7 of 42
Thread Starter 

Strange, I was just researching about that, and I think you're right, I think I'll bump the temperature up a degree or two just to be safe. Thanks for the reply.

Also, does anybody know whether day 1 of incubation starts as soon as you set the eggs down, or about 24 hours later once the eggs have heated to their core?

post #8 of 42

Day 1 is 24 hours later, and a low temp will cause a late hatch.

So if the eggs still look right in there, then there is a good chance they'll just be late to appear. The good news is that ducks that take longer to develop normally still hatch out just fine, which is better than eggs that are incubated at too high a temp & hatch out too soon--they tend to have a lot of deformities.

So it sounds like you're in pretty good shape. Good luck--hope it comes out great for you!

Look what the cat dragged in: Curiosity Cat's Urban Unschooling Homestead

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Look what the cat dragged in: Curiosity Cat's Urban Unschooling Homestead

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post #9 of 42

I can't comment on whether to candle or not - I've seen strong opinions about how 'locked' lockdown should be and I am much too new myself to weigh in on the variables! I'm also not sure about bumping the temp - I'd hate for a small adjustment to cause an unexpected spike or fluctuation - but some bators are touchier than others so maybe you can reliably tick it up just one degree? (Mine's a homemade with a water heater thermostat and I adjust it with a screwdriver, so I try not to mess with the sweet spot!)

Wow, what a useless post I've made. roll lol I will say this though - when you're picking up eggs in your own coop every morning, the pressure is OFF and incubating is much less fraught with angst and anxiety! I am crossing my fingers for you - keep us posted please! flhugs

Toadbriar - prints and original paintings

visit the Art Farm!
1 greyhound, 1 boxer, 3 cats, and 1 quaker parrot. Landscape crew: 1 mini horse, 4 tiny goats! 
A gorgeous rainbow flock of Ancona ducks, American Buff geese, & Narragansett turkeys. 

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Toadbriar - prints and original paintings

visit the Art Farm!
1 greyhound, 1 boxer, 3 cats, and 1 quaker parrot. Landscape crew: 1 mini horse, 4 tiny goats! 
A gorgeous rainbow flock of Ancona ducks, American Buff geese, & Narragansett turkeys. 

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post #10 of 42
Thread Starter 

Hey all, thanks for all your replies.

This is just an update to say there are still no pips sad It's not looking too hopeful. In the end my mother said we should candle as one of the eggs smelled a bit bad, so we candled in my bathroom to keep a sort of humidity. The bad egg has been discarded leaving us with two, but there is no movement in them but still clear veins in one, the other it was hard to distinguish, and still no internal pip. My mother thinks we should put a very small hole in the air sac end of the eggs as a way to look inside or encourage the ducks? I'm a bit unsure of this, will it kill the baby if it is still alive? We are worried it might have gotten stuck to the shell if the humidity has not been accurate enough? I don't want to make any hasty decisions, but the sudden lack of movement is very worrying. Thanks a lot for your help.

I'll definitely be investing in a new incubator after all of this.

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