Dead duckling, Please help. New to Broody ducks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by duckitup, Jun 22, 2016.

  1. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Found a dead duckling in a shallow pool yesterday. I need any help/advice anyone can give be for the next 6 that may hatch to help them survive.

    A little background-
    Long story short. Two Broodys, Hoover & Wendy, have been sharing a nest and didn't wait for a clutch before they started sitting. Sitting started on May 25 or 26th. Did not think the eggs were fertilized but they were. Stopped laying after 7 eggs. So I am expecting 1-2 ducklings over a span of 3-6 daysish. A third duck, Elsa, has been with them the entire time and stopped laying on June 1st but doesn't lay on the nest. (All 3 of them have been separated from the rest of the flock and put in "rehab coop" for treatment of various things since May 12). btw I have NO idea what I'm doing as this was all unexpected so any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Need Help:
    Yesterday a.m. I let them out like normal and counted eggs. All 7 were there and from what I could see without disturbing the nest they all looked in tact. I then went down to the pond house to let the rest of the flock out. By the time I got back up to the rehab coop Hoover was bringing an egg out of the nest and dropped it in the run. It was broken open and she ate the yolk along with Elsa. About a half hour later I went to change the pools in the rehab run and found a what looked to be a fully formed duckling, dead in it. I have no idea what happened. Did it die coming out of the egg? Did they kill it? Was it just a bad egg/duckling and they had to get rid of it? There is no way it could have made it into the pool on it's own. One of them had to have carried it over and put it in.

    My hearts broken. Has anyone experienced something like this? Is there anything I can do to keep the rest safe if they hatch? Should I just trust that the mommas know what they are doing?

    Added strange info: Last night when I put them to bed I checked the eggs again and there were 9! So all three of the girls laid an egg sometime after the duckling died/was kicked out. !!!! Is that normal? The eggs are not marked because every time I tried the marks would come off in a day or two. I know the original 6 were well formed from learning on here how to candle them.

    Should I leave the nest alone or should I candle again tonight and take out the new eggs? Would that just make them all lay again? Would candling at this point hurt the formed ones?

    Please help with any info you might have. Sorry this post is so long. Thank you!
     
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    This sounds too me like its all the hens first time raising ducklings? They sometimes get confused once the eggs actually start hatching..Your real problem is now they are eating the eggs. Take out all other hens and leave one to hatch out the rest..Fingers crossed!
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    You sound like you have a mess going on, I've been there. It's always best to keep broody birds separately or to only allow one to hatch at a time. When they share a nest, especially if they are inexperienced, they often get confused and many times neither one will claim any young.

    Someone is definitely breaking eggs which could continue under the circumstances, it's impossible to say if it was dead before, in my experiences with ducks I haven't noticed them removing bad eggs like a turkey will.

    I would candle all eggs than remove any that are new, and Mark the original, and I might combine them into one nest and only keep one hen with them. You will need to confine the hen and ducklings for a week or so before trusting the mom and giving the ducklings a chance to gain some strength.

    Not all broodies know what to do and not all are good moms. Be prepared to brood the ducklings yourself, especially since your hatch is too staggered. The hen will get off the nest two days after the first one hatches and leave the rest behind, so you might have to pull them as they hatch to keep the hens on the nest.
     
  4. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of them is 4ish and the other one is 2. We got them both a year ago. So I really have no idea if this is their first time or not. The third duck we have had since she was a duckling and I know this is her first experience with it (but she isn't really broody either, just hangs out with them while she is being treated for a respiratory infection, but stopped laying along with the others)

    Thank you for your info. And thanks for responding. I don't know why but my profile dropped all of my subscribed threads and I missed your replies. We lost another duckling 2 days ago. Egg brought outside, duckling dead inside. So sad. They all laid eggs again over 2 days and I pulled them last night after candling. I know for sure that 2 of the originals are alive. Saw movement. The other 3 look obviously developed but I didn't wait to see movement as I was trying to do it as fast and gently as possible. Marked all left behind.

    Setting up yet another "duck yard" is going to be difficult. Do you think I can move one broody duck and their eggs (which would be much easier space wise) or should I really figure out a way to move the other two?

    And, any suggestions on how to pick which broody to leave with the eggs? They both seem really really broody and share the nest completely.

    Thank you
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Most broody birds resist being relocated. Are there others besides the broodies who have access to the nest? It might not be the broodies eating eggs either. I had a chicken go broody on the floor, every time she got off the nest other birds would eat her eggs. You could try putting something around them to protect them. I had to fence my hen off in place, than let her out daily until hatch. Many times I find it easier to hatch and brood myself. Broody hens, no matter the species, can be hard to deal with sometimes. You may have to try some stuff to see how it works.
     
  6. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have quite the mess going here. There are 3 girls in the temporary enclosure (rehab) together. Wendy and Hoover (the broodys) and Elsa. Hoover was first put into "rehab" because of bumblefoot. Wendy was put in there with her so she had a buddy. Treatments didn't work and Hoover had surgery to amputate her toe. The day of Hoovers amputation I started noticing Wendy panting while Hoover was in surgery. So when I went to pick her up I brought Wendy in for an exam. Vet thought we caught a respiratory infection very early so we started giving her antibiotics. All is fine with her now. And Hoover is doing great as well. Just before Hoovers surgery she started staying in the coop a lot. I had been collecting eggs everyday but after surgery I began to leave them because it seemed to keep Hoover resting while she was recovering. She and Wendy both stopped laying after 7 eggs. I didn't even think the eggs were fertilized since they had been away from the flock for 2-3 weeks at that point. We did not intend on trying to have ducklings. But, after about day ten I thought I should remove the eggs and replace them with fakes. Before I did I candled them in the off chance they were fertile. Surprise! they were. Elsa was brought into the mix just before Hoovers surgery because she was showing signs of slight bumble as well. Elsa is the only one being treated for anything now, still fighting bumble and now as of 3 days ago yet another respiratory infection. (I swear everything is clean and good and well ventilated. Vet did a house call and says everything looks great. He attributes the infection to be due to the crazy hot then cold weather we have had) Elsa stopped laying eggs when the others did. She doesn't sit on the nest but she does hang out with them a lot in the coop. She isn't cranky.

    So anyways, Hoover has been broody since surgery. Wendy went broody on the same nest shortly after. They sometimes will have all the eggs in one nest and sometimes they will split them up in to 2 very close nests. They share the responsibility. They only leave the nest 2-3 times a day. Sometimes only one will come out at a time and others they both will come out for 10 minutes or so.

    The first egg that I found, the duckling wasn't in and I didn't see them remove it. But I did see Hoover bring the empty egg out and peck at it a little and so did Elsa.

    The second egg no one ate but they did remove the broken egg from the nest and put it in the run. It had the duckling and some yolk in it. (I didn't see it happen).

    The Rehab coop is too small to partition off. Prob 4x4 inside and a 4x4 enclosed run attached. They have a run outside of the whole thing that they have access to during the day but get locked up at night. The secure area is probably too small for 1 duck and a hand full of ducklings too. So I don't know what I'm going to do. or what is best. It's either choose a broody and move her to another more appropriate sized area for ducklings or move Elsa and one broody without eggs to somewhere and hope that the ducklings hatch and all works out in the little coop. I can set up a brooder if need be but I can not incubate eggs. I don't have the stuff for that or know anything about it.

    Wish me luck! And if anyone has any quick ideas about makeshift enclosures I'm all ears.
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    So could you leave one hen and remove the other two? They won't be happy, but that's what I would do. They could just be clumsy and breaking them, they could be removing dead eggs that aren't incubating correctly due to too many hens. I've noticed in my chickens that too many broodies too close to each other messes all of them up. Wishing you luck for a few ducklings.
     
  8. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll have to build another enclosure. I'll talk to the boyfriend when he gets home from work to see if he has any ideas. I really don't want to just stick them in the garage, that just doesn't seem fair but maybe I can come up with a new run out side for them and bring them into the garage at night in a dog kennel. They all seem to get a long extremely well. From what I can gather ducks aren't very much like chickens in that they don't really have a staunch pecking order. I've never had chickens though so what do I know. I hate to separate them but if it is what is best I will figure it out. I know ducks hate being a lone but maybe if they are broody it is different.
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Do what makes you comfortable, they are your ducks and you know what's best for them. I merely was making a few suggestions. If it's too much trouble than keep them together. It's possible they are just having a bad go at hatching. Always trust your gut on things.
     
  10. duckitup

    duckitup Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. And thanks for all of your advice and ideas. Wish I knew what my gut was saying. [​IMG]
     

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