Hatching Ducks or The confesions of Hennible who picked at the eggs....

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by hennible, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. hennible

    hennible Crowing

    This Duck Hatch seems endless... 27 days zipped by now it's taking *forever* for these last few to go by... Worse than waiting for water to boil... Time stands still watching ducklings pip and zip...
    So, I'm trying to learn more here and I decided to really monitor these guys, taking notes on what I did, and what the embryos where up to...
    I have a Brinsea Eco 20, this was my 3rd hatch, my first to batches were mixed breed chickens, first hatch 60% hatch rate 2nd 58%. This time I decided to candle without taking the eggs out of the incubator. The eggs are sitting in a cut down egg carton, (air cells up) so I just take off the lid and candle using a small but bright flash light. I started candling on day four, and candled nearly everyday.
    So I messed around during the hatch with both batches of chicks (lockdown), lost two developed chicks during the first hatch (presumably to shrink wrapping). I was more careful the next hatch, adding hot water when I opened the incubator during hatching to get humidity up again (sadly I have no means of measuring humidity other than the tracking the air cells so I can't say how well it works), I didn't lose any chicks during that hatch, all my loses were early on.
    I add water when it's low, keeping both channels filled. I keep the vent half way open for the most part. I also keep my eye on the relative humidity outside (on a weather app)
    Ok so there's a tiny bit of back ground information to go with the following notes:
    here are the 8 eggs I started with, I added 1 extra egg the day after the others went in....

    -Day 7 all 9 eggs are developing

    -Day 8 Centre egg went in a day late but some time between day 4 and 8 it caught up in development??

    -Day 10, Down one egg, blood ring present. One of two collected first, approximately 4 days old at time of set. Moderately soiled.
    Ducklings very active and moving "freely" inside eggs. They look like there bouncing for fun... Centre egg set one day late still seems to be as developed as the other seven.
    candling inside the incubator

    -Day 13, all 8 eggs doing well.

    -Night 16, marked air cells in pencil. Labeled centre (late set) egg. All eggs active.

    -Night 20, all egg doing well.

    -Day 22. Re-marked air cells (look good)
    Numbered eggs 1-8. All active.
    ( egg #1 is the late set egg )

    -Day 24, there's been a sudden jump in the size of several of the Air cell, but not all. So I move the eggs around in their holders in case it's related to location. Egg labeled #8 appears to have an internal pip...
    Eggs numbered 8, 5 and 3 appear to be pipping internally.
    For the eggs with air cells on the small side, I am going to try to aid evaporation by water candling and/or misting.
    Water candled eggs one and two. egg one was set late. Both eggs active during water candling. Some entertaining movements. The eggs are sitting low in the water, nearly covered. Hoping to increase evaporation to aid in Air cell growth.
    I will repeat water candling a few times today. (spraying is not a great option, as the other eggs would be hard not to avoid, plus the water test is more interesting).

    -Day 25, All eggs seem viable. Air cells seem very large on all but two (#1, #3)

    -Day 26, Air cells are all quite large now. Added surface area to water channels ( I used egg carton tops ) to up the humidity.
    -Night 26, all eggs active. Air cells good ( trying to catch up the smaller air cells seems to have worked ) most have pipped internally.

    -Hatching starts!

    12:30pm on the 27th day of incubation first external pip egg #8
    2:30pm Pip on egg #5
    Up humidity a bit with hot water
    Pip seen on #6 and # 7at 9:00pm during candling.
    -Day 28
    All ducklings moving and inside their Air cell. #2 has a discoloration when candled along the edge of the air cell that the other eggs do not have. It's a rusty colour.
    Added hot water to compensate for opening incubator
    Next morning 7:30am
    #3 and #4 have piped
    Waiting on eggs #1 and #2
    A quick candling (8:30am) reviles all ducklings to be alive. One peeped (#5), Added hot water again.
    Egg #8 making progress unzipping.
    Quick candling at 12 o'clock everyone is working on getting out spritzed eggs and added hot water.
    Unzipping continues on eggs number 3 and 7.
    5:42pm still unzipping no pips on eggs #1and #2, though they are working on it
    9:00pm eggs number 1 and 2 have pipped everyone's still going strong, did a quick candle heard some peeping, good progress is being made on many of the eggs. added hot water and spritzed eggs again, all visible membranes look good, very white.
    Noticing a yellow discolouration near where the ducks are working on their shells, (I can see their bill in silhouette tapping away)... Similar to the rust colored area I noticed on egg #2, which appears to be gone upon candling again.
    11:00pm egg #6 has large opening now, can see the bill popping out.
    I suspect the yellow/rust areas are membranes that are oxidizing/drying out.
    *Come on ducks lets go already!*

    I'm hoping to get numbered leg bands on these guys, that correspond to the numbers on the eggs. The point being to see if I notice anything about the ducks that may relate to hatching observations.

    3am #6 out
    -Day 29, 8:00am
    5,8,3 are out now. No way to tell them apart, so not tagging legs at this point. Moved them to brooder. Candled remaining eggs, they are still working on getting out. Sprayed eggs with water, added hot water to the channels.
    10:40am all eggs making progress. I broke the membranes for them, tiny holes, with sanitized blunt ended scissors (Moustache scissors).

    2 Ducklings are grey with yellow bibs, 2 are black with yellow bibs, no correlation to the eggs they came from (3 were white eggs, 1 blue).
    12:30, eggs are all still going. Can see inside. There appears to be a second membrane on the interior that is quite yellow/brown and colour, and translucent. Exterior membrane is white. Ducks look active, and are vocalizing.

    1:40pm egg 7 has popped out. Blue egg, quite strong markings like a mallard on its face

    Membranes are getting sticky and drying out. One more nearly out, last two may need help because I started messing around...
    5:40pm egg 4 is out, (looks black) eggs 1 and 2 still going.
    9:00, Given that eggs 1 and 2 seemed behind the others I really should have left them alone (in fact breaking the outer membrane was stupid in general). The membrane is drying faster than the blood vessels are retracting/absorbing. So it's becoming an assisted hatch due to human meddling. Just keeping them moist and humid also keeping a close eye on blood vessels. The ducklings are still making the motion for unzipping with their beaks even though their beaks are exposed, seem to be breathing at a rate similar to the others and are periodically vocalizing.
    -Day 30
    Sprayed eggs with water at 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM
    Woke up at 8:00am, egg number one was popped but stuck to the bottom of the shell, removed bottom shell spritzed with water to loosen membranes and the duck made it out mostly under it own power. Peeping loudly now.
    A number two is pretty stuck but upon removing more shall I get some blood and stopped. Wrapped area with blood in wet warm tissue. Going to give him some more time. Added hot water to pump up humidity again.
    Duckling from egg number one appears to be black with the Mallard style stripes on its face
    8:40am duckling number two has pulled its head out and is emerging from its egg. Lots of peeping. Appears to be black with yellow bib. Blood vessel seem to be absorbed. Something looks wrong the backend like the yoke hasn't completely absorbed, or the navel hasn't closed.
    So course of action going to allow them to dry off in the incubator, I will clean the navel with watered down iodine and then put antibiotic ointment on it, I will cover the shavings in the brooder with towels until it closes and monitor whether or not I need to separate little belly button duck from the others (thanks miss Lydia)
    10:40am the opening is about 2mm by 2mm, yoke absorbed, cleaned it with iodine. Placed duckling back in incubator. Both are active and alert between naps...
    1:00pm, I have cleaned the navel twice more with iodine and applied a small amount of topical antibiotic ointment (pain killer free). It looks dry and close to closing, I think I will leave these two in the incubator for the majority of the day.
    3:15pm navel looks closed. Transferring to brooder shorty.
    8:00pm all ducklings look good, eating, drinking and active.

    So a little bit of reflection on my duck hatch. Messing around during the hatch can turn out just fine, as long as you're really limit it to a bit of self education, I'm pretty sure a few quick candling's won't hurt anything as long as you manage to compensate for the humidity you lose, but it is best to leave things alone. Maintain some patients, keep busy... unlike me. Poking at an egg while its hatching is always a bad idea, that gateway pick or poke or prod is going to lead to a cascade of poking and prodding and picking, in my case it led to a partially assisted hatch for egg #1 because of shrink wrapping and an intervention on egg #2, which I started too soon (the membrane was drying out to fast also shrink wrapping #2), which may lead to this duckling having a future infection because of the open navel caused by hatching too soon and it was totally my doing... Any way I got pretty lucky, despite my meddling I have 8 ducklings for a hatch rate of 88.86%. I did learn lots, I have gained an new understanding of why it takes so munch time for an egg to hatch.

    So it's a few days later (ducklings a week old now) and still no infection what so ever on the assisted duckling ( now named Sprocket ) So I am very lucky!.:D

    hopefully this will help someone through their hatch... Its long enough that reading it should have saved you from messing around with your eggs...
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
    CayugaJana and Amiga like this.
  2. buff goose guy

    buff goose guy Songster

    Feb 9, 2014
    Mississippi Y'all
  3. Kaessa

    Kaessa Songster

    Jan 23, 2015
    Fruita, CO
    Great walk-through! I would have SUCH a hard time not "helping". If I ever hatch I need to remember to sit on my hands!

    Sweet babies, too. [​IMG]
  4. Shucks

    Shucks Hatching

    Apr 15, 2018

    I read the assisted hatch page in its entirety four times. After my rescued Muscovy internally pipped, we waited 24 hours before assisting by making an external pip.

    I then waited, per the instructions turns, 12 hours (no activity) before creating the zip line and opening the air pocket. After reading about ducks later I’m freaking out and worried I didn’t wait long enough. I’ve been in tears all day.

    I’ve kept the membrane moist but I just cannot tell if he’s ready and don’t want to jump the gun.

    He moves and chirps still but seems weak. It has now been 48 hours since we noticed internal pipping and 24 since assisted outer pipping.

    His foot is above his head which I think is bad but am not sure.

    Have it in forced air incubator. Temp 98F, humidity 67ish (67-70).

    Please help ASAP.

    Attached Files:

  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General

    @Shucks, welcome to BYC! Is this the article you read? https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/guide-to-assisted-hatching-for-all-poultry.72886/

    With my Muscovies I usually wait the 48 hours before externally pipping for them, then another 24-48 before doing more. For me it depends on what the membrane looks like and what position they are in. You duckling looks like it is has two malpositions, foot over head and head over wing.
    WVduckchick likes this.
  6. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds!

    Feb 9, 2015
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    At the point you have it now, it's a waiting game and keeping the membrane moist. He has plenty of room to kick out when ready, so other than keeping the membrane from getting stuck to the feathers, you shouldn't have to do anything else! He will pop out when he's ready.

    Good luck and great job!!
    casportpony likes this.
  7. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds!

    Feb 9, 2015
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    I wil add, once he works his head out, he may lay in the bottom of the shell for a bit. That's fine, just make sure it isn't stuck to him and that he can get free from it when he's strong enough.
    casportpony likes this.

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