Egg pipped before lock down


Mar 23, 2018

I am totally new to ducks and was tempted by my daughter to get an incubator to hatch. We had 6 Welsh Harlequin Eggs. One did not develop so we are now on 5.

Wednesday night was day 26 so we went to 'lock down' as advised. When we opened the incubator to remove the automatic turner all the eggs were peeping and chatting and one had already pipped. We put them back and upped the humidity. The eggs continued to rock and last night (day 27) the pipped egg had started to tap a bigger hole and has now broken all the way round one side.

We can not hear if they are still peeping inside as the incubator is too noisy as off this morning all the eggs have stopped rocking and there seems to be no further progress, it will soon be 48 hours since the 1st egg pipped and 24 since he tapped all the way round. I have been told NOT to open the incubator and it is a really difficult one to see any great detail inside - such as whether any of the other eggs have pipped.

I am like an expectant grandma! How do long do i leave them? Especially as they were not really due until tonight?
The reason for the PIP is so that the young chick can get more Oxygen. Uping the humidity keeps the inside eggs membrane layer from drying out and shrink wraping around the chick and suffocating it.
If there is one that has Zipped all they way around, that suggest it was ready to hatch, but may be taking a smoke break. Still, if its been 48 hours on that one, I woud pull it and investigate by taking a sharp needel and flaking away part of the Zip to see if its still alive in just one small area. If it is you should really put it back in and keep waiting for it to hatch on its own.
Sometimes chicks will die in the shell at this piping stage for various reasons and.... well theres not much you can do about it!

You can injure more pipped/zipped eggs and chicks doing the above "Egg Surgery" than saving them as there is a thin memebrane just under the shell and if the chick is not ready (though zipped) that membrane wil still have blood vessles/veins suppling it until its ready. Tearing the membrane and vessle, will cause bleeding, thus weaking the unborn chick.
Sometimes they may zip and usually pip before absorbing all the yolk, so you may just want to wait and see. If they die, get some more eggs and try again.
Incubation Temps has a lot to do with it! One or two degrees (+ or -) can cause a chick to pip/zip early or late. 48 hrs after piping/zipping is enough waiting (i think) so you might try the egg surgery after 48 hrs and help the chick out of the egg. 48-72 hrs suggest you will find dead chicks... but Just in case, go slow and if you draw blood or see it move, relax and make the call yourself on whether to put it back in or break it out of the shell.
48-72 hrs suggest a weak chick.

You dont want to chip away 30%-50% of the shell and expose the membrane on a live chick and put it back in (unless your humidity is 75%) as the membrane will still dry and cause shrink wrapping the chick.
Thanks to your advice before the weekend we now have 4 ducks! Sadly the egg we talked about didn't make it but your advice to give it time meant i didn't rush in and open the incubator and risk the other eggs. Now the fun will begin. They have already had their 1st supervised paddle! Thanks

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