Help! I've rescued 12 abandoned duck eggs...

karekare413

In the Brooder
May 24, 2015
13
0
24
The mother either gave up or was scared off. It was cold (40*+) for two mornings & I thought for sure they would be dead. I called the local wildlife rehabilitator & she said the mother wasn't coming back & I coujd dispose of the eggs after a few days. She was kind & helpful but limited in advice because they are federally protected. I made a homemade incubator & hoped for the best. That was yesterday (5/23). Today, I hear chirping in the eggs & tonight three have started to crack. I knew when I candled them that they were pretty far along & I couldn't give up on them. Sure enough, at least 4 or 5 are moving inside the eggs. I went to a feed store & got a small waterer & feeder. I have a large box ready for their move when they're born. I have a light (it's in their incubator now) & a heating pad (also in the incubator right now). I have non-medicated duck crumbles ready to go. I've read advice on this site & others for days to prepare. But I still don't feel prepared. I'll call the rehabilitator when they're all born. I hope to keep them warm enough & away from my cats. But I have to return to work on Tuesday morning. I'll have to punch a lot of holes in the box & lock them in a room. QUESTION: should I keep the heating pad in the bottom of the plastic bin (towel under & on top so it doesn't overheat)? The light I have is ideal but can't be mounted above. I need to make sure they don't bump it because I have to mount it in the side & hope the plastic doesn't heat up. The light is encased with the front of the bulb exposed. I didn't want to pay a lot of money for a "house" & bulb if they aren't staying long. I'm looking for advice. What else do I need to know for the first 24/48 hrs of their lives??
Thanks!!
 

duckmeister

Songster
Oct 13, 2014
485
108
171
Red Bluff, California
if they came from a populated area, park or the such, they are possibly feral domestic duck eggs.

If they for sure are wild duck eggs, then it's against the law to have them or hatch them without a federal permit. Could be big trouble. Hope others on the forum have more information.
 

karekare413

In the Brooder
May 24, 2015
13
0
24
I live in a very residential area. Not the country. There are plenty of ponds & creeks. And there is no designation between wild & feral. Ducks are a federally protected migrating bird. I've spoken with a state wildlife rehabilitator. I can't raise them & I don't want to. Only need to know what to do for the first 24/48 hrs until she gets here to relocate them.
 

Kroelies

Songster
Apr 21, 2015
491
89
106
Netherlands
Is your humidity high enough for hatching? It should be around 65% and can be raised by sprinkling warm water over the eggs and adding water surface (shallow bowls) in the incubator. Some ducklings take 2 days from making the first crack in the egg to get out, so don't be worried if they take a pause.

If you are sure the heating pad won't burn them and they can't dig it out I think you can leave it in. Maybe ask a family member or a friend to check on the ducklings?

Good luck with these babies, great job on helping them!
 

karekare413

In the Brooder
May 24, 2015
13
0
24
I have about 6 with cracks. I have always had a bowl of water in the box where they are being incubated. I'm wondering if I should lightly mist them to help soften the shells or take out the water now? Or less water in the dish? The cracks appeared last night & haven't changed. It's not been a full 12 hrs yet since the first cracks.
400
400
 

Kroelies

Songster
Apr 21, 2015
491
89
106
Netherlands
If you think they could drown in the dish then take some of it out. I think misting would be good. Is the incubator closed at the top? That way the humidity can stay high. If the humidity is too low the membranes in the egg will dry out and this makes getting out difficult.

The cracks should be at the round side of the egg (like on your first picture). If they are on the pointed side they can have trouble getting out and sometimes they need help. My quickest duckling hatched 24 hours after making the first crack in the egg, so it's completely normal the cracks are unchanged. They'll continue when they're ready
 

karekare413

In the Brooder
May 24, 2015
13
0
24
The dish is only there for humidity purposes. I have another large box ready to go when they hatch. I did mist them a bit ago. I can hear them & see movement. It's still warm in the box & I still have the heating pad on low. I think I need to be patient & know they'll come when they're ready. The box has always been covered with a towel. Honestly, I threw this box together as a last resort to save the eggs. I am still in shock they've made it this far! I'd hate to see something happen to them after all I've done to save them. I truly appreciate yours & others comments. This has been exciting & stressful. :)
 

ChickenQuail007

In the Brooder
Mar 16, 2015
49
1
32
At what age will the ducklings be when the wildlife rehabilitator comes? Don't spend too much time with them because they will imprint on you and that may cause problems later after they are rehomed
 

ChickenQuail007

In the Brooder
Mar 16, 2015
49
1
32
Wait for all of them to hatch first. Dispose the infertile eggs and for the eggs that haven't pipped yet, candle it and if you see lots of black stuff, it will hatch soon.
 

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