Desperately Trying to Hatch Ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ColleenRyan, May 9, 2018.

  1. ColleenRyan

    ColleenRyan Songster

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    Hi guys,

    Some of you might have read I had three pet ducks and I'm almost convince I've narrowed the predator who took my babies to an owl. I live in NJ and this winter I heard their scared quack and my boyfriend checked on them and a huge Snowy Owl was sitting on their hutch staring at them. Apparently they've been a huge problem in my area.

    Losing them has been so hard. I never knew I could love a duck just as much as one of my dogs or cats but I had been letting her keep her eggs. I know some are probably too old but I took them all anyway.

    I got this incubator: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073XD9GZ1/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    It was delivered last night, I let it run for the recommended three hours and the temp and humidity has been totally consistent. I rotate them at 2-4 times a day (still haven't found a consistent response on that) and theyre sitting pointy end down. I have the temp / humidity gauge i bought in the incubator with them (i don't care if it breaks from the moisture eventually I just want to make sure everything is perfect for the eggs).

    I also got this to candle the eggs:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N153NVH/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I know you're supposed to wait but I only took the eggs inside this Saturday when my babies were taken. The eggs range in age from about 3 weeks to the day she was taken. I have all the ones I thought were newer in the incubator (i fit 9) and i have the rest inside, taking them to my friends farm tomorrow so her ducks will sit on them.

    When I candled I saw what looked like a yolk and one little spot. The spot means it's fertilized right? She was acting very broody and loud lately but i JUST learned about all that entails. It makes total sense, they wanted babies.

    Now I feel like its my mission to get at least one duckling from this. Please share any information you have.

    How often can I open the incubator?
    How long should it be opened for?
    How often do I candle?
    When will I see (if i see) live ducklings forming?
    When (if) they hatch or start to hatch what can I do to help? I read about a "lockdown" where you raise the humidity to about 60% the last few days.
    Do ducklings just need the heat lamp, food and water when they're born? I got my babies when they were only about three days old so I'm assuming it's not much different.

    I'm a musician and I'm home for 85% of the day (sometimes I only work from home) so I will do ANYTHING to try to make this work. I loved my babies so much the least I can do for them is give them what they clearly wanted.

    If you're able to help I will be forever grateful. Please don't hesitate to message me directly. I will even give my personal # and send as many pics of the set up i have. I must sound crazy but I'm so worried it won't work.

    Sending all my love to anyone who has fallen in love with their animal baby and has lost them. It's the worst feeling ever.
     
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma Premium Member

    Okay your going to get a lot of other replies..;)
    This is what I do though.
    I hand turn my eggs once in the incubator three times a day and I have a forced air incubator so set at 40% Humidity..99.5 to 100 temp..
    I Candle around day 7 to day 10 as you will see veins and an embryo in the eggs..I toss all the Not fertile then..
    I watch air cells to make sure they have gotten bigger and if not I drop Humidity the last week and then once bigger I up Humidity again..Lockdown I aim for 60% Humidity till hatching starts...:frow
     
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  3. ColleenRyan

    ColleenRyan Songster

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    If he humidity fluctuates slightly (just when you need to refill the water pan) that won’t ruin anything right? The incubator does a fantastic job at keeping the temp totally steady. So at day 7 if there are none of the spider like veins they’re lost causes? The air cells are located opposite the pointy side? How do I check the air cell and should I mark it to track it’s growth? I’m sure I can find a photo on google of how big the air cell should be. This is all 100% new to me and I wasn’t planning on ever hatching ducklings myself I just didn’t know what else to do after losing my loves
     
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma Premium Member

    I would wait till day 10 before tossing eggs and humidity fluctuations are not so big of a deal in the setting stage as long as it remains close to the set humidity..
    Candle and as long as the air cells get big and drawn down you know things should be okay closer to hatching..Ducks take 28 days to hatch..
     
  5. ColleenRyan

    ColleenRyan Songster

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    Yes! 28 days is marked on my calendar. What if some ducklings hatch first? Do they stay in that hot and humid incubator or do I take him / her out and into their temporary house with water / food / heatlamp as soon as I see? Is there anything new ducklings need me to do to help them break out or clean off? They seem very independent and smart from day one from what I’ve read
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma Premium Member

    I let mine dry about an hour till they find their legs and then into the Brooder..They will eat a few hours after hatching so I supply a wet soupy mix plus dry and water for them...
     
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  7. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member 6 Years

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    How often can I open the incubator?

    Honestly, as often as you want, within reason. I open mine at least once a day to get in there and candle, turn eggs if I need to, etc. Once or twice a day won't hurt anything.

    How long should it be opened for?

    As long as you need to get stuff done. A mother duck will get off the nest for a half hour each day, so having it open for that long won't hurt anything.

    How often do I candle?

    I like to candle a lot. I usually start at around day 4, just for fun and to check, and then I candle again whenever I feel like it. I candle on day 10 to see what's developing and what's not so I can discard the infertile eggs, and then I check again periodically in case any stop growing so I can discard those as well.

    When will I see (if i see) live ducklings forming?

    A lot of times you can see something by 5, but give it until day 10 to be safe. This candling chart from Metzer might help you.


    When (if) they hatch or start to hatch what can I do to help? I read about a "lockdown" where you raise the humidity to about 60% the last few days.

    At lockdown, you stop turning and raise the humidity. I usually shoot for about 65% for the humidity at this time. Most of the time, you don't need to do anything to help, and they just hatch out on their own. However, occassionally you end up with one that's malpositioned etc and could use a bit of help to get out. If that happens, you can refer to the Assisted Hatching Guide for All Poultry.


    Do ducklings just need the heat lamp, food and water when they're born? I got my babies when they were only about three days old so I'm assuming it's not much different.

    Yes, they need a heat source, which a heat lamp works fine for, a food appropriate for ducklings such as a waterfowl starter, an all flock feed, Naturewise makes a feed they call Meat Bird that is appropriate for them, or you can use a chick starter, but if you did you would need to add additional niacin. And of course they do need water. You could add Nutri Drench or electrolytes to the water to give them a bit of a boost as well if you'd like.

    Additionally, since this is your first time incubating, you might find the Beginner's Guide to Incubation helpful, as well as this article about determining what your humidity should be, since humidity varies for everyone.

    And just a couple other things I noticed from your first post :) You said that the incubator is keeping the temperature perfect - did you calibrate the thermometer you're using to monitor that to make sure it's actually accurate and correct? That's very important to do. Your hygrometer should also be calibrated to check for accuracy.

    Eggs should be turned an odd number of times a day when you're hand turning, so that they spend the night on a different side each night. 3 times is fine but more is better if you can do it, since turning helps facilitate the growth of the chorio-allantoic membrane.
     
  8. house.of.ducks

    house.of.ducks Songster

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    Don’t help them get out of their shells or they could bleed to death. It’s better to just let them do their own thing when it comes to that
     
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  9. ColleenRyan

    ColleenRyan Songster

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    thank you so much for letting me know that. i had no idea.
     
  10. house.of.ducks

    house.of.ducks Songster

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    No problem :)
     
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