Hatching Help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DonaldFan, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. DonaldFan

    DonaldFan Chirping

    Aug 16, 2011
    San Diego
    Hello everyone,
    when my duck, Abby started to lay eggs and wouldn't stop (got to near 30) I became worried. She already suffered from lead poisoning from before I got her and she had been in my care to treat her at home (I worked for the vet she belonged to) so she would not have to live at the hospital. All the egg laying was taking a toll on her so another BYC member that lives in my area gave me fertilized duck eggs from her girls. Everything was going great for 2 weeks and Abby was happily sitting on the eggs. Then the heat wave started and she refused to sit on the nest. Using this site my husband made a incubator and we brought the fertilized eggs inside. Two days ago (Wed night) Abby passed away - the heat and lead poisoning had taken their toll on her. The next day, one of the eggs had it's first cracks and fluid had been coming out. We were so excited! Then the power went out. It was hot enough naturally that day that the heat never went below 90 but the temp had been 100. Although the egg/chick was progressing before the temp dropped and the egg is covered in cracks it has since showed no signs of change. Is this normal or could the drop of temp adversely affected it? I'm holding myself back from helping it as it is tempting but everything I've read says to leave it alone. BTW - by the time my husband got home from work he found a way to hook up the heat lamp to the car and stayed up all night to make sure the light never went out and occasionally starting the car to make sure he didn't kill the battery - I LOVE THAT MAN!

    What kind of signs should I be looking for?

    If the remaining eggs are okay how long should each take to hatch?

    When should I help if at all?

    Thank you in advance for the help.

  2. mandelyn

    mandelyn Crowing

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    That's sad about Abby, poor girl!

    The egg that's cracked... is there peeping? A duck bill sticking out? Covered in cracks... are they pushed out cracks?

    It can take 48 hours from the first pip hole until they're out on their own, so no help at all unless:

    It's been 48 hours.

    The chick cries in distress (the peeps change from "chirp chirp I'm here" to a louder, more insistent chirp)

    Or if the humidity dropped too low from not enough water added, or too many lid openings, and the chick has become visibly stuck to the shell/membrane.

    DO NOT help if you start and blood comes out of the membrane in a surprising amount. Dab it with a damp paper towel and put it back, it isn't ready yet. As the yolk gets absorbed during hatching, the blood does too. Too much blood when you try to help means it's not quite time yet, more absorbing needs to happen.

    The eggs will either hatch or they won't, no amount of help or worry will force something out of the egg. You have to wait until they've made a good effort and can't seem to finish (24-48 hours). If there is no sign of anything, you can try to candle and see if there is movement.

    Oozing fluid is not a good sign... when they start pipping and chipping away, you might see a little dab of dried blood.. but not actual fluid.

    Have you candled the eggs to know how many should hatch?
  3. DonaldFan

    DonaldFan Chirping

    Aug 16, 2011
    San Diego
    Thank you Mandelyn.

    You were correct that the oozing fluid was a bad thing. From that statement (and the fact that the others didn't quite match - no movement or sound, etc) I opened the egg expecting to find the worst. Didn't expect a completely rotten egg. I think the membrane just started cracking on it's own and once the fluid came out the weight of it made more cracks - obviously it was rotting completely from the inside out.

    I've read up about candeling and have seen great pictures but I still am not sure what I'm looking for. Of the remaining 5 - 4 of them are dark w/the air pocket. From what I've read that is normal for this stage. They really should have one more week left so the cracking of the first egg was a big shock. Of those 4 one has a darker shell like the first did so I"m not sure if it is any good. The other remaining looks completely different and I have seen veins in it, still. Since they came from different ducks I'm wondering if it is just a little behind.

    In the meantime I've cleaned out the incubator of the rotten egg ooze so that if there are any viable ducklings I won't contaminate them. I am also going to search Youtube for videos about candling hoping that I can tell more from that. So far no sounds. If they are a week away from hatching is it too soon for chirping? After we candle them one more time my husband and I are going to leave them alone unless something starts to smell wrong again. Like Mandelyn said, they will hatch or they won't regardless of what we do so it is best to just let nature take it's course.

    I have to admit that it is rather nerve racking, though. I'm sure all of you that have done this for the first time have felt the same. We did warn our son not to be too upset if nothing hatches, right. Next time we will know more and won't be trying to incubate the eggs half-way through.

    Out of curiosity - are chicken eggs easier to hatch or about the same? I know the big difference is humidity but wondered if there are many other differences. Just curious.

    Thank you again,

  4. Nikkumz

    Nikkumz Songster

    Mar 24, 2011
    actualy the biggest difference in chicken eggs and duck eggs is the time frame, duck eggs take about 28-32 days and chicken eggs only take between 19-23 days ish

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