Did the mother duck kill her duckling, or turf it out while alive?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Kimmyh51, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. Kimmyh51

    Kimmyh51 Chirping

    Nov 16, 2015
    I have a duck who was incubatin eggs and today they started hatching. I checked them around lunchtime and three were pipping and one had alreadymbroken the shell.
    Two hours later The mother left the nest so I decided to take advantage and see where they were at, and immediately noticed one egg was gone but no duckling. I found the duckling, half out of the egg (head out) dead a good two metres away from the nest where the mother had clearly put it. I panicked and took the two other pipping eggs out and too inside to hatch under a heat pad.
    Whe I looked at the dead ducklingmore closely I saw a good sized yolk was unabsorbed. I dont know whether the duckling died from this (must have done so pretty fast to have gotten the egg un'zipped' so fast) or whether the mother duck might have either thrown it out still alive, or killed it. The veins were still full of blood around the membrane of the egg and the yolk also had veins around it.

    Can anyone with more experience in this than me give me any ideas as to what might have happened to tha duckling?

    i am worried about putting the other two eggs back with her and wold not forgive myself if they died after I did that.

    Its a good few hrs later now and one duckling has almost finished hatchig, its head and a foot are out and I can see th egg yolk is fully absorbed. The other is still hatching, bu loos to be a good few hrs away yet.

    Th one I found dead I was surprised that it had progressed so fast fro when I fond it with just the first chip in the egg shell earlier.. But it didnt look like the egg got broken, it was in the position of a duckling after it gets its head of the shell itself, and there was no shell or blood on the duckling, except a bit of blood on the egg tooth.
    It just seems to me that for a ducklin pippin so strongly, and then gettig out of the egg so fast, it would be unlikely to have died so fast, even though it had an unabsorbed yolk.... So st the moment I am plannig to raise th ducklings. However i feel really bad about taking them from her after she has sat on them all this time. I have raised rescued ducklings from a day or two old, so Im confident I can care for the ducklings. Its the mother I feel bad for... But not bad enough to put them back under her if there is any risk to them by doing that.

    I also have not raised any ducklings that have imprinted on me, which i assume these little guys will, before..

  2. Kimmyh51

    Kimmyh51 Chirping

    Nov 16, 2015
    Anyone got any thoughts on whether it died (must have been almost instantly after getting head out) or mother put it out, presumably because of the unabsorbed yolk?
  3. Firekin1

    Firekin1 Songster

    Apr 5, 2014
    Nova Scotia
    It could have died on its own and she kicked it out. Birds usually have a sense of what's viable and what's not (though not always 100% of the time). That's why you'll find dud eggs kicked out of the nests as well. For whatever reason the duckling came out early, but it doesn't mean the others are at risk. If you removed them there's the possibility she won't take them back so if you do decide to try and give them make sure you have a heat lamp, duck starter, and a brooder ready just in case she rejects them.
  4. Kimmyh51

    Kimmyh51 Chirping

    Nov 16, 2015
    Its weird cos she never recovgnised the eggs that did go bad (as in were starting to smell so I took them away.

    There are two that have hatched out. One is a lot floppier than the other, and what surprised me about both is that they both have virtually from the second they got out of their eggs, seemed very hungry and thirsty, much more so than the other ducklings I have had hatch out under ducks and chickens. The cant yet find their food alone, especially the weaker one, so I am also wonering why the seem so hungry (shouldnt they be living on yolk sac) and what will happen if they go back to her now and arent eating. As it will i guess take them another day or so to figure out how to get to their food bowl and i wont be able to help them if they are with her as she wont let me near them.

    I took them out to her this afternoon for two reasons. One to see if she might recognise them as hers, and secondly in the hope if the ducklings can see her a few times in their first 24 hrs they will imprint,on her, as i think they are imprinting on me.

    Anyway at first she just hissed at me, but when i put them under my teeshirt t warm them and they started doing typical duckling chirps she got all alert and started digging around in her nest looking for them. I decided to see what happened while they were chirping and she was digging if i put a small soft toy a similar size in her nest but the only thing i had was a small round black angry bird toy, which she threw out and then did allow into her nestbut kept looking around it for the ducklings. It was heartbreaking and I was ready to put the ducklings back in whe her digging about got a little more agressive and I couldnt help wondering, is she looking for her ducklings, or looking for an "intruder" in her nest. So didnt put one in. She is pretty fiesty and i know if i put a duckling in there and she goes it, even if I act immediately because she will,be leaping about and lunging at me and aything in my hands there is a fair chance the duckling will get injured
    On top of that the ducklings arent showing any interest in her, apart from one time one started to go towards her.
    She has not made a single "mummy duck" noise towards them and at first i as sure she didnt see them as hers, however after the chirping incident where she was digging in her own nest looking for a duckling, I feel like she started to maybe recognise them.

    On one side i am worried for the weak one under her even if she recognises it fine, simply in terms of getting nutrition, It was just splaying out flat, or with its head downward and not doing anything but sleeping (while its sibling was trying to start a one duckling party!). So worried it might die
    Also worrid she might turn on them later evem if she seems fine, especially te weak one, because she prob turfed out the other one that wasnt 100%. Both ducklings came out of the eggs with a little bit of cord and tiny lumps of the last of the holk sac, i think they all were a bit early, maybe cos its mid summer here and had a number of very hot days while she was incubating them (i even found an egg froma different duck that was never sat on which looked like it started to incubate just sitting there)
    So thee are a few logical reasons not to return them. But I also feel bad, really bad, for taking her ducklings off her, and it just feels wrong.

    Do you think there is any chance of getting them to go with her in another day or two, given they are already starting to imprint on me. There is no one else i can have eed and care for them in the meanwhile

    I tried to fin some videos of similar (khaki campbell) ducks and ducklings and was going to play those to the ducklings to try and get them to i print or at least remain open to imprinting on her. And i played so,e mp3s of mums,and ducklings talking that ive used to calm orphaned ducklings who would always chirp back to them. These guys didt make a peep then when i spoke to them they start to chirp back.

    I was thinking of trying t record her on her nest and leave it recording to see if she talks to her remaining eggs, and play that so they can see and hear her

    Does anyone out there hav any experience with getting ducklings that have or are starting to i print on a human, to i print on a mother duck instead and how many days in? These guys are not yet 24 hrs which is why i was sitting out with the. Other with them nefore, hopingmto if Nothing else have them start i printing on her

    I REALLY feel bad about taking these ducklings off her, as i dont think any of the eggs i put under her a viable... And i cant even give her fresh eggs,as all my other ducks are not laying due to molting.

    Any ideas on what I ca do to try and leave the door open for both ducklings and mum to possibly reuniting thrm in another day or so once the two ducklings are both able to walk and get to food ok. And are a little stronger and tougher in the vent she attacks them.

    I am miserable about what i have done to my broody duck.

  5. What can happen is a Hen will sometimes set eggs, but for some reason they do not recognize the peeping and hatching as their Babies and will kill them....I do not think you did anything wrong...Your hen just did not understand what to do.....
    The next time she tries hatching she might be a great Mother or act the same way?

    Sorry it went that way....
    Congrats on the two Ducklings....

  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    @Kimmyh51 I had the same experience new mama, had 2 eggs viable under her when the first started to hatch she attacked him caused injuries to his lil head thankfully I found him before she finished him off and while I was setting up a brooder the other one didn't make it so I raised a single duckling inside and he is almost 6 yrs old now imprinted on me and my husband still and the best duck friend I have You have done the right thing by taking the 2 especially the one taking time to recover from hatching. Next time this mama duck brooded she did a fantastic job hatching 8 and caring for them. Hopefully yours will too.

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