Air cell on side of egg (and other concerns)


11 Years
Mar 14, 2009
Springfield, OR
I posted earlier about trying out my homemade incubator for the first time with a dozen of my own mixed chicken eggs. About a week into the incubation period I inherited a Pekin duck on a nest of 15 eggs, which she abandoned, so I popped them into the incubator too. We are now on day 12 of gestation for the chicks, and I'm guessing the ducklings are at least halfway through development (the previous owners had no clue the duck was setting or when she might have started). I discarded one duck egg that showed no movement after three days, and last night I pulled a second cracked and repaired one that the mother duck had stepped on the first day. It had been doing fine until the last 48 hours when it quit. Everyone else is doing well, but one of the duck eggs has a large air sac on the side of the egg rather than either end. As the baby grows I'm getting more and more worried about how it's going to get out of there and whether there is anything I can or should anticipate doing to help. Frankly, I'm surprised it's survived this long since it seems like such an anomaly. Does anyone have any experience with this?

My other concern has to do with lockdown and increasing the humidity in the incubator. Since I don't know with any authority whether the ducklings or chicks are due to hatch first, I'm not sure how to handle this. If I increase the humidity to 70% or so to accommodate the ducklings, won't I be compromising the chicks if they're not ready to hatch? Since the ducklings' hatch date is a mystery, how can I even start lockdown unless nobody starts pipping until the chicks are due?

I hope I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but I would hate for them all to have come so far and then have something tragic happen due to my ignorance.
Hmmmm.. Not one response?
The ducklings have just about reached maximum capacity in their shells and I know the chicks have a week to go. The duck egg with the air sac on the side is still kicking. I'm leaning towards throwing another incubator together quickly to move the chick eggs into so that if/when I have to increase the humidity for the ducks it won't drown the chicks. Other that that I guess it's just a situation of watchful waiting.
I havent ever hatched chickens and ducks at the sme time- so cant really suggest anything about the humidity issue- But as far as the air cell goes- I have had them pip back to front and they still hatch ok. They dont always pip into the aircell- so dont stress to much about that one- If it is strong enough to hatch it will..But if you are inclined- it may need some assistance when the time comes..

I can usually see some movement at the base of the aircell in my duck eggs just before they pip- sometimes just kind of a shaddow- But when I see no more clear space inside the egg- I watch the bottom of the aorcell for signs of movement and life.
SeaHen, I'll be pulling for your little duckling.

I found your thread through the search: I have a chicken egg with the same issue as your duck egg.

Even when we gathered this egg it was odd... there is no narrow end. I didn't want to put it in upside down, so I'd been leaving it on its side most of the time. We did a quick candle at day 5 just to pull out clears/blood rings and my bottomless egg appeared to have an air cell at one end, so that became up.

Today is day ten for my eggs and I looked through about half of them, marking the air cell and checking for movement. Now the air cell is on the side. For tonight I'm leaving it angled to favor the old up and the air cell side... but when I turn it in the morning I'll have to decide which is more important, air up or end up.
Thanks for your responses SweetMother and Ducky! It's strangely comforting to know I'm not the only one with this experience.

Ducky, I didn't realize chicks/ducklings could pip outside of the air cell and still be okay, so that's a huge relief. I will definitely be standing by in case the baby needs assistance hatching.

SweetMother, I'll be be sending blessings and good thoughts out for your babies too. Please let me know how everything turns out.

This hatching business is nerve wracking!
If you're able to I would make another incubator... that way you can use one as a hatcher without compromising your other eggs. If you can't I would raise the humidity to accomodate the ducks and then drop it again once they're done hatching. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed!
Just to set you mind at ease SeaHen - In my last two hatches...I have had a duckling pip backwards at the small end of the egg- and both survivied. I also had one that pipped right at the top of the egg just behind the air cell and that little one is running around a week old now and very healthy.

Hoping things go well for you too..
Thanks, SeaHen!

This morning I rotated the egg so the end was up and the air cell outline from last night was down... hopefully having a few hours in an intermediate position helped.

Ducky, I hope that chicks are are resilient as ducklings!

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