Help me learn from our mistakes!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by MrsDuck, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. MrsDuck

    MrsDuck Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 6, 2010
    Western WA
    So a few of you followed the drama over hatching the "one egg left". Whew! Glad it ended well. But there was a lot of heartache before we reached the last egg point, and if we ever decide to let Lady Duck sit on eggs again, I'd like to have things turn out better. Can you help us learn?

    Here's what I've managed to figure out...

    1. If you even suspect there might be a rodent in a 10 mile radius, shock and awe is the way to go. Hold nothing back and keep going until you certain that the rats in the neighboring cities are quaking in their nasty little rat boots. And in the meantime, lock those eggs up tight! (With the mama duck and food/water for her, of course.)

    2. The drake shouldn't be allowed near the nest. He doesn't get it, even if he's being very sweet and sitting in the house with her to keep mama company. (But starting when should I keep him out?)

    That's about all I've come up with, though. I suspect that the very hot, dry weather that hit here right at hatching time was part of the problem, given the eggs that were pipping all on one side. Their house is cedar, and raised about 3 inches off the ground - I sprinkled water on the roof and on the ground underneath the house to help keep it a little cooler, but I don't know if I could have done anything else about the humidity. At one point when I looked at an outdoor meter, it was 97 degrees in the shade and 22% humidity. Lady Duck got up for a swim twice a day - not sure if more often would have made a difference. 22% is pretty low to overcome, even for a wet duck.

    They have straw in there, and that's what she uses to make a nest. Is it possible that there wasn't enough, so she was squishing the ducklings on the wood bottom? She did not line the nest with feathers - do they normally?

    This was her first clutch - is she not a "natural mama," did she just not understand, or were the odds too stacked against her due to un-knowledgeable owners? Do you think she'd get it right if she tried again (next spring at the earliest!)?

    What'd'y'all think?

    Mrs. Duck
  2. MysticalMom

    MysticalMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2009
    I wish I had all the answers for you. I know your experience was a rough one. But what I can tell you is that it took some of my girls awhile to get the mother hood thing right. We had squished eggs and ridiculous nest, girls who got lazy, girls who pecked them open, ALL kinds of mishaps before they finally hatched babies. Some girls just take awhile. I'm sure she'll get it right eventually. It's my belief that if you let a duck be a duck she'll be a duck. Hows that for deep? [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  3. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    The only thing you could have done is get an incubator and take the eggs away. Even then they not all of them will hatch. The drake has to be removed for a long while, especially after they hatch until they are about 3 months old. They can turn rather mean and kill ducklings. Duck eggs sometimes have fat membranes, which makes hatching hard. I had one die in the shell after pipping because I've missed somehow the time frame as to when to help out. I was pretty sad when that happens. Young ducks may become overwhelmed and just screw up, abandon the nest, kill the eggs. They usually get better the following year. Let her go broody in spring when it is not that hot, that way you don't loose the humidity battle.
  4. MrsDuck

    MrsDuck Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 6, 2010
    Western WA
    It's good to know that just because Lady Duck had some trouble with this clutch it doesn't mean she won't ever be a good mama duck. We never really intended to do the duckling thing, but now it seems like we should have another go at it. Especially since the neighbor really wants a pair!

    Thank goodness humans are better the first time around. Don't get me wrong, I certainly don't do everything right as a mom, but at least I haven't squished my little one!

    MysticalMom Said

    It's my belief that if you let a duck be a duck she'll be a duck.

    Don't you mean if you let a duck be a duck it'll go just ducky? [​IMG] Hehe. Actually, that's what I was hoping would happen. And I'm glad to hear that one rough batch doesn't mean that it can't go well in the future. Boy did we learn a lot about duck eggs and how they hatch, too!!​

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