Dead ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Just Fluff, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. Just Fluff

    Just Fluff Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2008
    I have Welsh Harlequin ducks and two of my hens were sitting on a large cluster of eggs. Because of where they were, I moved them about a week ago. They were in the main coop with chickens, so I had no way to make sure the ducklings were able to get food or water. I put them in the other half of my coop in a small pen so that I could put food and water out for them and protect them from the other birds and potential predators. I had 4 hatch out, but when the first two hatched out, the next morning, one was headless. That is a big part of the reason that I moved them.

    I put both of the hens and the eggs and remaining duckling in a small dog crate and put them in the other pen. Two more hatched out, so I now have 3 healthy ducklings. The one hen gave up on sitting, so I removed her and let her back out with the other ducks. So far, no more have hatched out. I checked them today just visually and by weight and they all seem to have a developed duckling inside. I cracked two of them open that I had dated and were about 40 days old. There were ducklings inside, but they both were dead. I fear that the rest of the clutch is going to be the same. There are about 12 eggs left. All are newer than the two that I cracked open, but I believe for the most part they should have hatched out by now. I honestly didn't date them all as I had planned as it was difficult to get to the nest where they were laying them originally.

    Two questions: should I give it another week at least to see if some more hatch out? What are the possible causes of them forming but then not hatching? Should I not have moved them? Is the crate too hot? (It is a regular plastic type dog crate that one may use for shipping puppies or kittens and there is no heat in the coop.) I was really looking forward to hatching out these ducklings and am very sad that they are dead before they have hatched out. They appear to be fully formed. Are the eggs too hard for them to get out of maybe? Should I try incubating another batch? If so, what is the best incubator for ducks?

  2. QuackSpeak

    QuackSpeak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 1, 2017
    I'm so sorry! [​IMG] I can't answer any of your questions, as I've never hatched duck eggs before, but hopefully some other BYC members can help...
    @Miss Lydia
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Once you moved them, is the Hen still setting them ? Or has she abandoned the nest?

  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I am very sorry about the duckling. I don't use a bator so i can't help you there but we do have many that use them,




    @FoodFreedomNow Just to call on a few.

    As for waiting a while longer for the rest of the ducklings to hatch if they are. I'd give it a few more days. Mama duck will want to bring her ducklings that have hatched out to eat and drink I'd advise you keep them separate from the rest of the flock for at least a week or 2 just to give the ducklings time to get their legs under them good where they can keep away from potential danger among the rest of the flock .Once she brings them out she is probably through with the eggs that are left then candle and look for any internal hatching so you'll know if any more are going to hatch.
  5. GoldenFlight

    GoldenFlight Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

    Sep 25, 2015
    I'm soooo sorry about your loss.[​IMG][​IMG] It's hard to know why they died in the shell, but it could have had something to do with the move.... Just don't blame yourself.[​IMG]

    The duckling in the picture wasn't ready to hatch, so it had nothing to do with the egg shell thickness. You could try candling the rest of the eggs to see if anymore are stilling living. Here is an article to help you know if they are living or not.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Just Fluff

    Just Fluff Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2008
    Very diligently sitting on them!
  7. Just Fluff

    Just Fluff Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2008
    I do not have an incubator, so these have only been under the hen. There never was a time when she was not sitting on them.

    I moved them specifically so that they wouldn't be in with the rest of the birds. I knew there would be no way for them to eat or drink if I had them out with the flock as I have about 30 chickens and 7 ducks in this coop.
  8. Just Fluff

    Just Fluff Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2008
    How do you know that this duckling wasn't ready to hatch? There are three at least like this one. What caused them to die in the shell? I am totally new at trying to hatch out ducks, so any information would be awesome!

    I only moved them into the crate, then carried the crate to the other pen, which is maybe 20 feet away in the same building. I didn't handle the eggs roughly, that I know of. I picked them up and put them in the hay in the crate pretty much individually. Did I do something wrong???
  9. Just Fluff

    Just Fluff Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 30, 2008
    Oh, and thank you for the link!
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I cannot tag anyone, could someone please tag dotknott?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by