Ducklings not pipping externally (Please Help!! This is my first time incubating eggs)

shawluvsbirds

🦆Lord luv a Duck!
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Apr 17, 2017
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I put my Pekin duck eggs on lockdown yesterday because they had started pipping internally. All of them were alive and I could hear them tapping on the shell. I checked them today and I haven't seen any progress. I have read in different sources that if there isn't an external pip within 24 hours, you need to create an air hole so they don't suffocate. I did this earlier today, which would have been 24+ hours after the internal pip. They were all alive and tapping when I did this and also chirping. This has been the only time I opened the incubator during lockdown. As of now, it's been 48+ hours since the internal pip and I'm still not seeing any signs of an external pip. I've been keeping the humidity between 70% and 80% during lockdown. Before lockdown, I kept it between 50% and 55%. Do I need to intervene? I'm afraid to open the incubator but I haven't seen any progress. Is it supposed to take this long to externally pip? When I was making their air holes, I noticed that the eggs were really hard. I know duck eggs are tougher than chicken eggs but could this be a problem? Again, when I made the air holes today all ducklings were moving and tapping the shell and most chirped. Please help! This is my first time incubating.

**Update: Is it possible that they are treating the air hole I made as the external pip and so now they're in the rest period (breathing, absorbing yolk) before they completely hatch?
Chances are they are perfectly fine.
Ducks are slow hatchers.
Don't worry too much about opening the incubator. Just Add water as necessary if the humidity does not rise back up after you close it.
If you feel like they are in trouble and you are going to assist, follow these instructions.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/guide-to-assisted-hatching-for-all-poultry.72886/
 

MGG

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Feb 7, 2020
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I put my Pekin duck eggs on lockdown yesterday because they had started pipping internally. All of them were alive and I could hear them tapping on the shell. I checked them today and I haven't seen any progress. I have read in different sources that if there isn't an external pip within 24 hours, you need to create an air hole so they don't suffocate. I did this earlier today, which would have been 24+ hours after the internal pip. They were all alive and tapping when I did this and also chirping. This has been the only time I opened the incubator during lockdown. As of now, it's been 48+ hours since the internal pip and I'm still not seeing any signs of an external pip. I've been keeping the humidity between 70% and 80% during lockdown. Before lockdown, I kept it between 50% and 55%. Do I need to intervene? I'm afraid to open the incubator but I haven't seen any progress. Is it supposed to take this long to externally pip? When I was making their air holes, I noticed that the eggs were really hard. I know duck eggs are tougher than chicken eggs but could this be a problem? Again, when I made the air holes today all ducklings were moving and tapping the shell and most chirped. Please help! This is my first time incubating.

**Update 1: Is it possible that they are treating the air hole I made as the external pip and so now they're in the rest period (breathing, absorbing yolk) before they completely hatch?

**Update 2: I just checked on them and I can see movement in one of the air holes and a few eggs are moving a little.
Exactly what day are they on? They sound fine. I don't like safety holes because it allows the baby to get lazy and they don't have to externally pip. Almost always safety hole babies are late hatchers, and most of my safety hole babies quit since they were able to get lazy and just sit there and die. Then I quit doing them. They're totally unnecessary with birds like that, and you'll lose more due to safety holes than suffocating. Don't do safety holes for ducks unless they're Calls or have been internally pipped for 48+ hours with no progress. The 24 hour guideline is for chickens only. Just leave them alone for now. They'll be totally fine. Do not open the incubator. Let us know how it goes. I know it's hard, but sit on your hands. Ducks very rarely need help. They are incredibly slow yet strong hatchers. I bet they won't externally pip until tomorrow (It's 11:30 pm here) and they probably won't hatch until Wednesday. Unless it's already day 28.
 

Steph21

In the Brooder
Oct 2, 2020
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Exactly what day are they on? They sound fine. I don't like safety holes because it allows the baby to get lazy and they don't have to externally pip. Almost always safety hole babies are late hatchers, and most of my safety hole babies quit since they were able to get lazy and just sit there and die. Then I quit doing them. They're totally unnecessary with birds like that, and you'll lose more due to safety holes than suffocating. Don't do safety holes for ducks unless they're Calls or have been internally pipped for 48+ hours with no progress. The 24 hour guideline is for chickens only. Just leave them alone for now. They'll be totally fine. Do not open the incubator. Let us know how it goes. I know it's hard, but sit on your hands. Ducks very rarely need help. They are incredibly slow yet strong hatchers. I bet they won't externally pip until tomorrow (It's 11:30 pm here) and they probably won't hatch until Wednesday. Unless it's already day 28.
It's 11:30 pm here and they are on day 26.It will be day 27 at midnight.
 

MGG

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I read the whole thread now. BirdsBeesTrees gave good advice, and I know she's a very experienced and knowledgeable "hatcher", but I personally would wait to open the safety holes. I've had bad experience with them, and I know I did them right. Knowing what day these ducklings are on will make all of the difference in advice.
 

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