duckling hatchling problems

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by crazyegg, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. crazyegg

    crazyegg In the Brooder

    Jun 12, 2010
    The Volunteer State
    Hey all --

    I'm having trouble with a clutch of ducklings, and I hope you can help.

    I have hatched many chicks over the last couple of years, but these are the first duck eggs I've tried. I incubated them along with my chicken eggs, but I wet them down twice a day throughout incubation and then kept a moist cloth over them for the last few days.

    14 out of 18 eggs were fertile, 11 out of the 14 still alive at 28 days. These are Ancona ducklings, not Muscovies, so I expected a 28 day incubation.

    First problem -- they weren't hatching, even after 30 days, but I could still see movement in the eggs. Some were tapping. I didn't listen to them before 30 days, so I don't know whether they were tapping earlier or not.

    I've manually hatched many chick eggs, and I had previously read that non-hatching was a frequent problem with ducklings, so I opened all the eggs that were tapping. The ducklings seemed weak, but all were alive.

    On day 31 the remaining eggs still hadn't hatched but were tapping, so I opened them as well. They were also alive.

    Only two out of the 11 eggs had even pipped. A few were malpositioned, which I am blaming on loose air cells (these were shipped eggs, and ALL the air cells were loose when they arrived).

    This is now day 32. Only one of the ducklings is acting "normal". One of the ducklings has died. The others are very weak, not able to stand, but moving a bit. I have kept all but two in the hatcher rather than moving them to the brooder, because I don't think they have enough strength to move towards or away from the brooder light. They mostly have their eyes closed, and are mostly lying around pretty limply.

    Today I have been allowing them to drink molasses water every two or three hours. I *think* it is helping a bit, but I can't really tell. Most seem to drink when their bills are allowed to dip into the water (not as far as their nostrils). They are too weak and non-aware to eat.

    Has anybody got suggestions for me? Any input would be appreciated!

  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Give them electrolytes with vitamins and minerals. You should be able to find it at the feed store. If you not find it get Polyvisol without iron from the infant vitamin isle. Give each a drop twice per day directly into their bill. I would also get pedialite water as a electrolyte substitute. Also get niacin (Vitamin B3) from the vitamin isle. Mix 100mg per 1 gallon of water or with the pedialite. All of this should get them going rather quickly. The eggs may have been deficient causing all these problem to start with. You can also get some plain yogurt and mix it into their feed to give them a protein boost.

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