Baby ducks just died


In the Brooder
Jun 6, 2020
Hi everyone! This is my first time on this site and I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction as to what could have gone wrong. I had Pekin ducks in lockdown and noticed that my incubator leaked some water last night. I had a wet washcloth inside for added moisture this time as I noticed that it was losing humidity fast with the last hatch. I was keeping humidity between 65-75 but had seen it go to 80/81 at one point. I had the vents completely opened. I took the wash cloth out last night and realized that when I quickly put a light up to one egg, it was dead. It must have quit about 2 days ago. There was something pretty green inside too. Today is day 28, the other duck was into the air cell and was pecking at the shell. I expected to find a crack but when I checked hours later nothing. Fearing the worst, I candled and found him dead too. I’m devastated and can’t figure out what’s going on. His abdomen was protruding. What is this? Sorry for graphic photo but this breaks my heart!


In the Brooder
Jun 6, 2020
Thank you. We have been having the worst luck and I am wondering if I’m doing something wrong all of a sudden. Our chicks were hatching and some died with yolk sacs still very present. 2 ducks had only one eye at hatching and another batch of chicks that we hatched (some had their intestines out when we saw they passed). I figured that this was because maybe the person that gave the eggs to us but these Pekin eggs were from someone entirely different and bought online so it’s too much of a coincidence. We are using 2 different incubators- one for hatching and incubating and they are all thoroughly cleaned after each use. I can’t figure it out.


9 Years
Jan 14, 2013
Norfolk, NY
Recently hatched ducklings with an incubator. Researching, I read temp or humidity fluctuations during critical points in development will affect the embryo. I was lucky: most hatched. However, that’s unusual. Hope I got a good Mom in this group.


5 Years
Jun 29, 2015
Maryland; Carroll County
I just hatched 7 ducks (Welsh Harlequins) out of 8 eggs so I have some recent experience.

Need more info to understand your scenario though:

1. How many eggs were you incubating and did you treat/wash them before incubation?
2. Where did you get your eggs from?
3. What incubator did you use?
4. Have you had any experience with hatching before?
5. What was your incubation temp and humidty set at before lock down?
6. Did you verify these settings with a thermometer/hygrometer?
7. How often did you turn them?
8. Did you perform cooling?
9. When and how often did you candle?

Humidity does play a significant role but it having humidity too high during development will reduce the air sac volume which is not good. Having humidity too low during lockdown will make it difficult for the duck to break through the egg. The egg should be losing weight (i.e. gaining air sac space) as the development proceeds.

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