Originally Posted by khaosity
*SIGH* Well, unfortunately, the night took a horrible turn. Things (mostly) seemed to be going well until about 2 am. I had figured out that I had about 15 min between moistening times and that worked out well for a couple hours and then when I came in at 2, five had just quit breathing. I think I was only gone for 10 min that time, too. Anyway, I tried everything I could think of but only 2 started back up again. I'm not exactly sure what went wrong. The humidity was high and they were under a wet towel, propped up by shot glasses so it wouldn't touch anyone's mouth, and all the membranes were still wet. No clogged nostrils as far as I could tell.
The temp has fluxuated a few degrees since it got progressively colder throughout the night, so maybe that was it, ...but my money's on the humidity.
Can it be too humid? I was careful not to get any water in the babies beaks or nostrils. The ducklings did seem to be... a bit swollen though. Like they filled up a bit more of the egg than they did when I opened it. Kind of hard to say thou, but whatever the case, I feel awful as I'm (mostly) sure it's something I could have prevented/helped, had I been more attentive.
So I've been sitting in there with them since, never leaving them alone for more than 5 minutes or so, which I know is still enough time for things to go wrong, but I've had to break away for a few obligations. Anyway, that's why it took so long to update. That and I was hoping for a better outcome and thus better news to share. It took me quite a while to give up on those 4.
The 2 others that weren't doing well after that incident, perked back up for a bit, but have since gone a little ways back downhill again. Maybe they're resting for a while? Def still breathing and even twitching pretty strongly at times, but not as often as the other two live ones.
The ..."beakless" one stopped moving about 10 minutes after my last post. I had chipped away as much as I could of the shell but that wasn't very much as there were veins everywhere. Same with the membrane; just too many tiny veins. I had to stop twice because I saw a tiny drop of blood (no gushing, thankfully). Earlier I swore I had seen the beak and then it disappeared behind the yolk but then I wasn't so sure and I didn't dare rupture the yolk. Anyway, hope this doesn't offend anyone but after it was clear it was a goner, I kinda had to see what had happened and turns out, that was the case. Tucked behind the yolk. Gah!
So, needless to say, I'm super sad and feel horrible. I was definitely ill-prepared for this and also learned some of it as I went, and some what I learned towards the end would have been quite useful at the start. But hey, there's no replacement for experience, right?
They were beautiful babies, too. They're all half cayuga/pekin and half rouen/pekin but our rouen only had two and neither one made it.... *sigh* Anyway...
I figure that if I can save at least a few then this mission hasn't been a complete failure since I know none would have hatched on their own. There are four* left that all have definite signs of life, so I haven't given up yet.
(* in addition to the 5 I didn't mess with because I'm fairly sure they're a few days behind...but I haven't seen/been able to detect/heard any movement in the last two days... )
So 2 are mostly out of the shell, but they haven't completely absorbed their yolk either. It's down to about the size of a small gumball (nickel or so) on one, but I can't clearly see the yolk on the second baby yet. They're going strong, peeping loudly, and stretching out. I'm keeping a very close eye on them just to be sure thou. They're not trying to kick away from the yolk or anything, just stretching for now, and are still in a small portion of the bottom of their shell, but again, I'm watching them (as closely as I can).
The two that are now iffy are wiggling and peeping every now and then but not with the same vigor. I've pulled away as much of the shell, and then the membrane, as I could for the time being (been advancing that slowly throughout the night) but they just don't seem to have the same want for life that the first two do. So I'm basically just trying to keep them alive until they can soak up more yolk and blood and we'll go from there. They can breath well since their beaks are out fully. Hopefully they're just resting and they'll perk up soon but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much. I did try working them with q-tips but there's still a lot of thick veins and I'm afraid if I pull them out fully, they might nick a vein while stretching or something and bleed to death. As it is, most of the upper end and a little to the side has been chipped away and peeled back. I don't dare go much further for now, but they do seem to be hanging in there and seem to be absorbing the yolk/blood. Hopefully, anyway.
Speaking of hopes, I'm really sorry to have gotten anyone else's up. This is not only my first assisted hatch, but my first hatch at all; and my broody did all the work for me until she decided it was spring break two days ago. I guess you probably gathered that from previous posts, but yeah, I'm stumbling blindly in the dark here, lol. Just very, very carefully. Mostly. As much as I can.
But again, I'm not giving up yet and if I can get any of these other 4 to fully hatch, then at least it won't be a total loss.
I'll update again as soon as I can. Thanks for your help and support (and patience), everyone. Means more than you know.