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Help, duckling not sure it will live or not.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by cocoblue181, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. cocoblue181

    cocoblue181 New Egg

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    I had to help one of my runner ducks hatch and i had to help it out of the shell, but it never unzipped so the head looks funny and so does the legs. Its moving around but will it straighten itself up?
     
  2. dotknott

    dotknott Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No way to be sure other than wait and see. best leave it in the incubator until it's all fluffed up.

    Make it comfortable and if needed separate it from the other hatchlings. Ducklings can easily trample a disabled member of their hatch.
     
  3. cocoblue181

    cocoblue181 New Egg

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    Thank you :)
     
  4. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have found that it can be helpful to put a weak duckling in an egg holder to help hold its legs under it while it works to strengthen its neck. Sometimes a duckling will flip on its side or back on a flat surface if it came out of the egg too fast without the gradual muscle strengthening that takes place during hatching. Just like human babies need to go through a series of steps before they walk, ducklings need to strengthen their muscles for balance and coordination but they do it so quickly that we don't often catch all the steps they take before they are walking around.
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Not a hatcher, so I have a question - at this early stage, does nutrient supplementation ever help?
     
  6. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have tried force feeding nutritional supplements too soon and it seems to create more potential for problems if the bird hatched out weak. There is the increased risk of it aspirating before it learns to swallow and then if you do get it into the stomach the bird's limited energy goes towards digestion rather than building muscle strength. Since birds are hatched with their early nutritional needs supplied for the first few days of life, they don't seem to be ready to handle the forced nutrition so young. The stress of the forced feeding seems to put the baby at a higher risk of stressing to death too. When a bird is a couple days old it is more equipped to handle being force fed and at that point it needs the nutrition to survive.

    Immediately after hatching babies need rest and gradual strengthing. They need the head and neck strength that develops during independent hatching so with assisted hatching I try to mimic the egg shape as much as possible to let them unfold naturally. Whenever I am not sure what to do for a baby, I try to follow their normal developmental schedule as much as possible, hoping Nature will aide in survival.

    I know there is a strong desire to do something to help a weak bird but I have found that letting them rest is best. I sadly have had babies die in my hands when a forced feeding went wrong and it is a horrible feeling to think I caused it to die. Until the baby can hold up its head and swallow on its own, it is best to hold off on the forced feedings.
     
  7. dotknott

    dotknott Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I believe it can, but I can't say for certain.

    I've still had ducklings that have died in their first 48, but a few that looked to be in rough shape that pulled through.
     

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