HELP! Duck eggs pipping early!

cursocale

Chirping
Mar 7, 2017
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Hello, I've got 10 duck eggs incubating in a Brinsea Maxi Advance II - they were due to go into lockdown on Thursday, with hatching day on Sunday. I've come home after 2 days away, and 6 have internally pipped/are pipping, with one who has already externally pipped (it's Tuesday). 3 look fully developed, but I couldn't see any movement or disturbance into the air sac (although I did just note one of them rocking).

I've got the humidity up to 75% and i've turned off the auto turner. I've never had them be this early before and just want to check that this is the best course of action? Especially for the three that haven't yet internally pipped (I don't have a separate incubator).

Also, it doesn't say in the manual, but should I take the turning tray out? I feel like it will stop the eggs from rolling around too much, but i'm also worried about little flappy feets getting caught if they happen to pop out while I'm not here (unlikely but possible, as I do have to work a few days this week).

Any help appreciated, thanks guys!
 

cursocale

Chirping
Mar 7, 2017
29
31
79
I wanted to update you all... I have 7 healthy duckos from the 10 eggs :) :) Two died before they internally pipped, and one was weakly internally pipping for several days, so I intervened. Sadly that one died this morning. She perked up for 12 hours after I created a small breathing hole and even peeped this morning - but then just got weaker and weaker today, and there was nothing I could do as she hadn't absorbed the yolk sac or the blood vessels :(

So my babies all hatched Thursday morning, Thursday night and Friday morning in the end - all pretty close together and several days early.

Just updating for anyone reading this who may be looking for more info on their early duckies!
 

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HeatherKellyB

"One day or Day one"
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
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Hello, I've got 10 duck eggs incubating in a Brinsea Maxi Advance II - they were due to go into lockdown on Thursday, with hatching day on Sunday. I've come home after 2 days away, and 6 have internally pipped/are pipping, with one who has already externally pipped (it's Tuesday). 3 look fully developed, but I couldn't see any movement or disturbance into the air sac (although I did just note one of them rocking).

I've got the humidity up to 75% and i've turned off the auto turner. I've never had them be this early before and just want to check that this is the best course of action? Especially for the three that haven't yet internally pipped (I don't have a separate incubator).

Also, it doesn't say in the manual, but should I take the turning tray out? I feel like it will stop the eggs from rolling around too much, but i'm also worried about little flappy feets getting caught if they happen to pop out while I'm not here (unlikely but possible, as I do have to work a few days this week).

Any help appreciated, thanks guys!
What breed of duck? Do you have another calibrated thermometer in the Brinsea? If they are incubated at a higher temp, you can see early hatches. As far as the turner goes, I usually remove mine but one time I did place shelf liner down over the turner right before hatching. You'll have to be careful because in this incubator if the turner is in you can't have any type of liner going to the edge of the turner because the lid won't close.
 

cursocale

Chirping
Mar 7, 2017
29
31
79
Thanks everyone! OK, so over night, two more externally pipped. I'm at work today, so gone for 7 hours or so - I've cut a liner from cardboard and put that it just in case one hatches while I'm not here, making sure that it's fully inside so that the lid can close. I put the eggs very close to each other because it feels like they would roll otherwise... I'll see if I can get a non-slip plastic liner today.

I had to take them out of the incy for 5ish mins as I cut the liner. I wrapped them in a doona - hopefully they will be ok. A few of them are chirping away!
 

cursocale

Chirping
Mar 7, 2017
29
31
79
What day number of the 28 day cycle is today? Did you count the days yourself or is this the count on the incubator?
Thanks for your reply :) So this is day 4 (to go) on the incubator, but day 5 in my count (as I've read on here that you start the count 24 hours after they are put in the incy, but my incubator didn't do that - it's hella confusing!)

I'm aware how long ducks take, which is why I was sooo surprised to come home to a pip today. Still, though I would expect the first one to be out in 48 hours? And the rest maybe a day or two behind that? So that has them all out by Saturday - the day before I calculated hatch day to be... And most of them hatching 2-3 days early (Thursday/Friday).

They are a total mixed bag breed-wise - a mix of khaki/pekin/appleyard - and probably more in there too!

I had a separate thermometer and hygrometer which was within 0.5 reading of the incy (37.5 on incy, 37 on thermometer). The humidity was bordering on the low side for most of the hatch, so maybe that's why they are early? I had trouble stabilising it at 55%, so it would drop down to 40-45%.

So I don't have a liner.... But if I take the turner tray out, will they not just slide into each other on the smooth plastic?

Thanks again for your reply :)
 

BirdsBeesTrees

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Premium Feather Member
Mar 10, 2019
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You need something on the bottom so they won't slip around and get splayed legs.
Ducks hatching early should be ok. Were they outside or inside and got warm for several days before incubating?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,261
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Southeast Louisiana
I'm not familiar with the Brinsea Maxi Advance II so I can't speak from experience with it. I don't know how much of a danger to little feet, legs, wings, or neck that turner is. That's going to have to be your judgment call. I looked at the Brinsea manual for that incubator, I could find no information about that. You might call or e-mail Brinsea and ask them. Another reason I like to remove my turner is that it can get really messy during hatch and can be hard to get clean. That one doesn't look too bad as far as cleaning goes.

About the early hatch. Yes, you say "one" 24 hours after the eggs go in. An egg does not have a day's worth of development 2 seconds after it goes in. It takes 24 hours at incubation temperature for it to have a day's worth of development.

Muscovy duck eggs generally take 35 days to hatch, with all other ducks the target is 28 days. But that 28 days is not a law of nature, it is just a target. I don't hatch duck eggs, mainly chickens and a very few turkeys, but it is not unusual for eggs to hatch two full days early or late, either in an incubator or under a broody hen. There are different possible reasons: heredity, humidity, how and how long the eggs were stored, and just differences in the eggs. One very important factor is the average incubating temperature. If the temperature is a bit high they can be early, if it is cool they can be late.

On my first hatch with chicken eggs a couple of eggs were externally pipped when I went into lockdown, three full days early. That hatch did fine, by the way. I calibrated the incubator and found it was running a bit warm so I adjusted it. The next hatch in it was two days early, but a hatch under a broody hen was also two days early. That was pretty common in that incubator or under a broody hen, the chicks always hatched a day or two early. I think heredity had a lot to do with that, more than temperature.

Sometimes my hatches are over within less than 24 hours, even if they are early. I've had some hatches drag out well into two days. One of my more frustrating in an incubator was that a chick hatched late in the evening. No other egg even pipped for about 24 hours. When I went to bed a couple of eggs had pipped. When I woke up the next morning another 16 chicks had hatched and the hatch was over. I had a broody hen hatch an egg late on a Monday. I don't know how the rest of her hatch went as far as timing but she did not bring her chicks of of the nest to get food and water until early Friday morning, 3-1/2 days later. I was starting to wonder what was going on there too but the chicks were fine. Each hatch is different. Some are easy, some really worry you. With your duck eggs consider 28 days to be the target but you are not always going to hit the bull's eye. I figure any egg that hatches within a full day either way of the target to be right on time. Even then, they are not always right on time and still do well.
 

cursocale

Chirping
Mar 7, 2017
29
31
79
Update!! Our first little pipper is out :) Hatched Thursday morning, and a full three days early...


Started zipping late last night and after three hours of struggling to stay awake, I tweezered a little hole to make sure little ducky was OK. After seeing yawning and chewing I left her alone overnight and woke up just before she started fully zipping this morning. Now having a well deserved nap between my boobs :)

I've got 5 out of the 9 remaining eggs now pipped :)
 

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