Duckling mass death diagnostic

Jemima Duck

Chirping
Jun 10, 2019
91
186
91
Hello BYC, I hate to have to write this message out because I'm bordering on crying. 7/7 ducklings that made it to hatch have died shortly after hatching.

Important information:
*The eggs were from young birds, they had only been laying for a few months. They were small, to the point that about 5/7 could not turn themselves, though they were only a little bit smaller than they should have been. I assisted under sterile conditions, making a small hole for the ducks-that-could-turn's beaks, then after having no progress with any other eggs for a day, I opened the other eggs and very very gently untucked their head from under their feet (not sure if they were malpositioned due to the eggs not being big enough). After doing this, every single duckling was alive, with a few moving about a lot, and others seemingly very weak (which to me, told me they were well and truly trapped).
*When opening the eggs to assist the ducklings, they were all slightly shrink wrapped, not extremely, but all definitely to some extent.
* When I started assisting the hatch, every single duck had absorbed, or very almost absorbed the yolk sac, and their membrane didn't bleed.
*I had been using a tried and true method that a breeder I had bought from used; she dry incubated, but sprayed the eggs with water and turned them three times a day. This seemed to honestly work better than my last hatch (of which 3 survived to hatch), giving me 7/9 eggs that survived to hatch (though I feel like I should add that one wasn't fertile, and the other had a crack that got infected).
*After helping the ducklings out of their eggs, they all seemed to dry solid, so I very gently wiped some of them and sprayed water on them so that they could open and close their eyes etc.
*As mentioned above, I had had an unsuccessful hatch before, having 2/8 eggs hatch, then one dying three days later after seemingly having no vent. The remaining duckling is currently still alive and very healthy luckily..
* After waiting for the ducklings to dry off, I opened the incubator, and to my horror 6/7 were dead... The remaining one has spent the past two days with me (I put it in the brooder a few hours ago), until just now where I went to the brooder to find it on it's side, dead.
*I don't think it was an issue with temperature because my room is the warmest on the house, and also the fact that the chicks were thriving until it came time to hatch.
*Looking at the duckling that's just died after surviving two days, it has developed a pink tint to some of it's beak... Which it definitely didn't have when it was alive.

I'm honestly devastated. I feel like it was my fault, despite everyone in my life (even the people who are blunt) saying it was just nature.
It makes me concerned that the ducks I intended to breed regularly from have bad genetics? Though saying that, they are rather big runner ducks.
I have probably accidentally left some information out, so I will be eager answer any questions asked as I cannot bear to loose any more lives when I hatch next (which won't be until spring now).
 

BarredRockMom

Crowing
6 Years
Jun 9, 2013
579
1,457
277
Pennsylvania
Gosh I'm sorry that you have had this loss happen. I have no suggestions, input or advice, as I have never hatched any eggs. Just sorry that what should be such a happy time has turned out to be so heartbreaking.

I hope that you are able to figure out if there was an issue, what it was & how to correct it for next time. I know that you did your best and it always stinks that there's a learning curve, especially because it usually means that someone gets sick, injured or dies.

Hang in there!
 

Jemima Duck

Chirping
Jun 10, 2019
91
186
91
Thank you guys, it means a lot to be met with love instead of criticism, especially with it being so raw still :hugs
 

BarredRockMom

Crowing
6 Years
Jun 9, 2013
579
1,457
277
Pennsylvania
You'd be hard pressed to find criticism about this, especially the way you described it. We have lots of different viewpoints and experiences here on BYC and not everyone sees eye to eye, for sure. But what Chicken or Duck Mom or Dad couldn't help but feel incredibly sad right there with you?

Nuts & bolts, step by step analysis comes later, (by folks who know lots more about it than I do!) and even that won't be judgemental, I'd wager.
 

Jemima Duck

Chirping
Jun 10, 2019
91
186
91
You'd be hard pressed to find criticism about this, especially the way you described it. We have lots of different viewpoints and experiences here on BYC and not everyone sees eye to eye, for sure. But what Chicken or Duck Mom or Dad couldn't help but feel incredibly sad right there with you?

Nuts & bolts, step by step analysis comes later, (by folks who know lots more about it than I do!) and even that won't be judgemental, I'd wager.
Thanks for the reassurance, I love this forum, everyone seems so supportive (even if they don't see eye to eye like you said)! I'm glad there's a place for people (like myself) to both obsess over, and get help regarding our feathery friends.
 

Jemima Duck

Chirping
Jun 10, 2019
91
186
91
Hello, bumping this thread because I can still not stop thinking about what went wrong with the incubation. I'm concerned that if I don't know what went wrong, I'll make the same mistake again.
 

Jpat

i like ducks 🦆🤪
Premium member
Apr 30, 2018
4,072
17,398
722
Nova scotia
The fact that they made it to hatch means the conditions werent 100% bad. if your ducks are laying good sized eggs ide go for it again

Some people are realy lucky. My sister hatches silkie chickens and gets amazing hatch rates from a crap chinese incubator, while i calibrate thermometers, carefully watch humidity and use a thermostatic relay heated incubator and sometimes i get crap hatch rates

Ducks themselves incubate eggs with their fat buts and do just fine. what i mean is there are soo many variables that its easy to have a realy bad hatch. But dont get discouraged!

What kind of incubator are you using? where in your house do you use it?
 
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