Help! Why do our ducklings keep dying during hatching?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by tayjamieson, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. tayjamieson

    tayjamieson Chirping

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    Hello,
    I'm in desperate need of some insight, I'm pretty heart broken because this morning we had our 5th duckling die during hatching. We hatched eggs about a month and a half ago and we lost a couple which I understand that the mortality rate during hatching for ducklings is roughly 20%, but this time we have lost almost all of them during hatching or incubating so I can't help but think that I am doing something wrong.

    This morning I checked on a duckling that began hatching yesterday and he was awake, made it out of his shell, he however was still absorbing his yolk. We have had a few ducklings hatch with that and they survived and are healthy normal ducklings. When that happens I have special care steps I take to help them recover within 24-48 hours. So I just went to check on him and found him dead just a couple hours later. I didn't see any blood, nothing really changed at all as far as I can see so I don't understand what happened?

    I'm not sure if this information is related but just in case - this time around I also have 2 eggs that have turned darkish and they are past their due date so I'm pretty sure they have died unfortunately so I will remove those eggs from the incubator, I'm not sure what happened there either.

    I just now am checking the incubator temperature with another thermometer and I was a little concerned because at first when I put the thermometer inside the incubator it was reading 10 degrees cooler than what the incubator said it was. It's been about 15 minutes now and the thermometer is going up slowly so that makes me feel a little better, maybe it isn't the temperature then?

    I want to add that a lot of our eggs have not been able to break the shell and hatch completely on their own. We have always had to help peel off the shell where they pipped and sometimes peel off the white layer that is under the egg shell too. We are always extremely careful when we do this and make sure we do not hit any veins and cause bleeding. We know that it's dangerous but we really do feel like they aren't able to get out on their own and we don't want them to die because they are exhausted and couldn't make it out!

    Lastly we don't own a separate incubator quite yet for hatching and one for incubating eggs, so we do bump the humidity up higher than usual while an egg is hatching and we worry that it could be causing all these problems for our eggs? Also what humidity levels does everyone recommend? I find so much contradicting info online regarding humidity so it would be great to get some clarity from the pros.

    Thank you everyone so much for any help, excuse me for pouring all of these questions out in one thread I hope you can forgive me! I appreciate any help you can give me and I hope everyone is having a great day.
     
    WannaBeHillBilly likes this.
  2. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    I'm sorry for your loss.
    Get 4 thermometers and calibrate them all before you hatch again. Do you have a calibrated humidity gauge in there too?

    What do you feed your ducks?
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  3. tayjamieson

    tayjamieson Chirping

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    Jan 11, 2019
    Mount Vernon, Washington
    Do you think that the humidity and temp. are the cause of the problems we are having? I'm not sure what humidity levels need to be throughout the entire process so I'd love to hear what you do! I tried to get info online but it was difficult to find a solid answer.

    For feed I was using "Nutrena Nature Wise Chick Starter 20%" (non-medicated) but the one duckling we have that hatched 3 days ago was spitting it out and I was worried that it wasn't going to eat so I just bought "Nutrena Nature Smart Organic Chick Start Grower 20%". I thought it was finely ground up enough however the image on the package is deceiving and it was the same size so I put it into a blender and now the duckling has been eating it lol. are those brands OK? I'm always open to suggestions and information on how I can better care for my animals so please don't hesitate to let me know!
     
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  4. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    The eggs you are hatching...where do they come from?
     
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  5. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    Temp and humidity are very important and if you don't have calibrated instruments you really have no idea how close or off your bator is running. Them not being able to hatch on their own is caused by something...it's a guessing game but the first place to start is the temp/humidity...and the diet/health of the parent stock.


    They are dying in the bator or a few days after hatch?
    What is the temp of your brooder?
     
  6. mixedUPturk

    mixedUPturk Loves Hatching

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    Sounds like OPs eggs come from themself and they want tips on also helping the animals make healthier eggs.

    Tayjamieson :hugs:welcome

    I agree with Kiki u need better thermometers def sounds like this batch has had temps too low. Im glad you've found this site and i hope you can find more help w your incubation. Seems like you've done alot of research, if you keep it up you'll get past this.
     
  7. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    What did this last little duckling's poop look like?
     
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  8. mixedUPturk

    mixedUPturk Loves Hatching

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    Tay i went on your profile and read your other thread.

    Again, i really think your temps are too low. What sort of incubator are u using? I saw you have it all sanitized, and set to 99 but some incubators dont stay at that temp just right, it might be falling too low too often if say therea a draft.

    where is it located? I like to keep mine inside a barely used cabniet to help the temp stay as stable as possible.
     
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  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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  10. tayjamieson

    tayjamieson Chirping

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    Jan 11, 2019
    Mount Vernon, Washington
    I have a couple things going on - I have had 2 eggs that turned black on the day of or after they are due and they didn't hatch so at some point they died I just don't know exactly when or how and I'd like to figure it out. Thats why I mentioned that we have had to help every duckling crack through the shell/membrane because they couldn't break it themselves and seemed to be getting exhausted.

    The other issue is that I continue to have ducklings hatch with an unabsorbed yolk, pretty much every single one was born with it. Luckily most have survived it but we have had a couple die that had it so I don't know what we are doing that is causing that for every duckling :/

    Yes I get my eggs from our own ducks, I have 3 adult male "jumbo pekin" ducks and 3 adult females. They are in a big grassy field all day, only in their coop at night time for safety. They eat mostly what they forage and then they have access to some crumble, for them we currently use Nutrena All Flock Crumble 20% protein right now as well as scratch grains here and there and crushed granite grit. Sometimes we feed them warm oatmeal, scrambled eggs, food scraps from dinner, etc. I switch between 16%-20% depending on the time of year. Is their diet OK? I didn't even think to evaluate that!

    Our incubator is 2 months old so I thought that it would be accurate but clearly I did not know what I was doing! Next time I will be SURE to have thermometers.

    Does anyone have a TYPE of thermometer they use that they highly recommend? Like digital, glass, etc.? and where do you place them?
     
    Texas Kiki likes this.

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