Helping Call Ducklings Hatch
Some people are against helping, but I do help, especially with call ducklings. Call ducklings, especially the good quality ones, have round heads, short beaks, and short necks, which, contributes to difficulty during the hatch. Let start from the beginning.
After I put my call duck eggs into the incubator, I wait 10 days, and then I mist and cool the eggs daily. I cool the eggs for about 5 minutes each day, and mist them with lukewarm water sometime during that cool down period. I do this from day 10, up until the duckling pips through the air sac.
Once the duckling pips through the air sac, I wait around 14-18 hours, and if there is no pip through the shell, I make a small hole in the large end of the egg so that the duckling can breathe. The air hitting the membrane also stimulates the yolk sac to absorb, and the veins to dry up.
Then I wait another 6-12 hours. If I hear the peeping of the duckling starting to slow down, or not pip as vigorously as it was, then I will help earlier. Then I slowly, using my fingernail or a toothpick, start to break off the large end of the egg. If you see any bright red blood, STOP. Put the duckling back into the incubator, and wait 3-4 hours before starting up again. Once you get the large end of the egg off, you will be able to see the membrane. If it looks rubbery and white, then take some q-tips soaked in warm water, and wet the membrane down. If the veins in the membrane look full with blood, put the duckling back, and wait another 3 hours. Keep repeating until the veins are almost all empty.
Once the veins are mostly gone, I proceed to slowly stretch the membrane over the egg, so that the duckling is free from the membrane. Then I slowly, and gently, take the ducklings head and pop it out of the shell. Then I stick the duckling, still in the shell, back into the incubator, for him to finish the hatching process himself.
Sometimes this is necessary, especially with show quality call ducklings. Since the ducklings have short necks, large round heads, and tiny beaks, sometimes the only thing that they can do is break the air sac, and then they need help getting the rest of the way out.
Also, when I help call ducklings hatch, I add some vitamins and electrolytes to their water for the first 2 or 3 days.
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