Help with Broody Muscovy's babies hatching.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kkrogman, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. kkrogman

    kkrogman New Egg

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    May 12, 2016
    Hi

    I'm new to Muscovy ducks. I bought 2 females and 1 male. One of them nested under the chicken house so it is hard for me to see and access the nest.

    I noticed today that 5 babies were outside tryiyg to get up the little ramp into the chicken house.
    Do I need to have food and water on the ground or can they climb up the ramp? Will the mother help them?

    about 6 hours later I check the nest as best I could and noticed the mother kicked out about 7 of the egg from the nest. 3 or 4 had a small hole in them and I could see the ducklings beak but they were dead. There are 2 or 3 left on the nest I can see moving and trying to hatch. They look like they have zipped (I think it is called).

    So my questions are this. (sorry for the confusion, just so much going on)

    • How big of an incline or ledge can a duckling get up? Will the mother "lift" them?
    • Will the mother help the babies hatch out of the shell?
    • Should I be helping the last ones I see struggling? So many looked to have died right at hatch. (it is very hot and humid out)
      • keep in mind 6 have hatched, but 1 got stuck on his back and died and I found another one on his back and he is questionable. My wife is babying him right now.
    • I was hoping the mother would do most the work. What do I need to do to help the rest of these survive with the mother raising them?


    Thanks for any advice you can give me.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    @Miss Lydia

    @Orca5094

    @WVduckchick

    I am not a hatcher nor are my ducks, but I have tagged some people who may be able to help.

    @Going Quackers

    There is also a Muscovy thread or two around - see if you can check in on one of those threads.

    Sometimes duck mothers don't get with the program right away, and they need help caring for their littles. I don't know that they would give their ducklings a boost up a ramp. Ducks generally cannot handle ramps as steep as what is used for chickens, I know that.
     
  3. tmorgan46

    tmorgan46 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This year was pretty bad for 'Scovies not making it all the way to hatch. I'm not sure what causes it, but for both natural hatching, letting ducks do what they do best, and incubator, we had quite a few that almost made it and then expired. As for the eggs that are pipping, I'd set up a brooder with a heat lamp and place the eggs there and if there isn't any progress by tomorrow night, then maybe lend a helping hand by carefully removing more shell. Little piece at a time. It's not uncommon for them to take a few hours off and rest. But they do move enough so you can tell if they are still alive or not. Talking to them quietly and not startling them helps as well. It's a stressful time for both the duckling and the humans rooting them on! Where your duck built her nest, is it secure? If not, how much to make it predator proof? Ducklings will take a few days to really get their strength up to a point where they can navigate a ramp. And I think there may be more of a problem going down it than up it. How high from the highest point to the ground? if they were to fall, like all babies that are made of rubber, they'll bounce a bit. (Not really, bad humor there) But I wouldn't want to risk that. Momma ducks don't do much but coach and that is through their voice and an occasional peck with her bill. They won't lift them, at least that I've ever seen or do much in the way of helping the way you and I would like to see. The other option is to gather up the eggs and ducklings and put in a brooder and take over until their adult feathers start coming in. If you take them now, the ducks will reject them if they're gone for a day or so. If you opt for that, then you'll need to get starter crumble, non medicated, some brewers yeast and a small container of nutridrench. You can get all or almost all of that from your local feed and tack store. We've done both this year as well. We've taken over day old ducklings, incubated a clutch and finished another for a Momma that gave up. We also have let a few of our ducks hatch and raise their ducklings until they're a few weeks old.
    I hope all this makes sense, if not, please let me know and I'll clear up anything I've said incorrectly or confusing.
     
  4. kkrogman

    kkrogman New Egg

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    May 12, 2016
    tmorgan46,

    Thank you so much for the response. I have been researching (mostly this site) and I there is a great article with pictures on here all about helping a bird hatch. It is just really sad to see babies pip and then die.

    So to update anyone interested.
    I can't get at the nest without using a shovel, so it makes it hard to intervene. I found 1 on his back dead and another on his back in sad shape. I couldn't tell what happened, but I found out the next day that my rooster started to attack the babies that are still alive. I put a fence around the end of the chicken house to keep the mother and babies separate from everything else until the babies are stronger.
    I can't tell if the 2 or so that looked almost hatched finished hatching or not.
    But I looked at the nest and the mother had pushed something like 7 out to where I could reach with the shovel. The other live ones I could see moving were still in the nest and she was sitting on them.

    I didn't want them to smell and everything else, so I put them in the garbage. After reading all about the actual hatching process, I was fascinated and about an hour later I took one to show my wife. I noticed the one moved his beak!! I couldn't believe he was still alive. When I collected them from where the mother pushed them, they were already I'd say at least 70 or so degrees. Cool to the touch. But I thought I'd try anyway, so I made a make shift hatcher and put him in. Out of the eggs kicked out of the nest, I found 3 that were alive. I just couldn't believe it. 2 had pipped all the way through and 1 was only through the first membrane. One had been pipped through, but had been dead for long enough that the flies had already laid eggs. The other eggs looked as if they had been dead for days.
    Anyway, I helped the furthest along one yesterday and he died within an hour or so after opening up the end of the egg.
    I now have 2 left. The one still has a few blood veins, so I don't want to rush it. The other one I just finished helping out of the egg. He is still wet and moving around. Though it is hard to tell if he will make it. I only wonder how much damage or energy loss occurred when they where cold.

    This is all new to me and I hope I am not just prolonging the inevitable death of these poor little ducks.

    I will let you know if these last two survive.
     
  5. kkrogman

    kkrogman New Egg

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    May 12, 2016
    [​IMG]
    Here are my two little babies I saved! I can't believe they were cold for probably 5 or more hours. They seem to be doing well. Both are starting to eat and drink on their own.
    Thanks to all the help and BYC articles! Without your help I would have helped them way before they where ready. It was realy neat to see the whole process from the blood veins going away.

    One other question, how long does it normally take for a duckling to start walking on their own and to not be so wobbly? They laid on their side and flopped around with their eyes shut for a good 12 hours at least. Is that normal? After about 18 hours they started to show interest in water and food.
    Thanks again, my babies are actually eating and drinking!
     
  6. tmorgan46

    tmorgan46 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 22, 2015
    Stafford, VA
    I'd say they're right on schedule. I think I've seen on a few occasions that ducklings are set for 3 days or so from the yolk sack. And they aren't near as fragile as we might think they are. Make starter crumble and water available, they'll start to go after it in the next day or so. We had one poor little thing that was wobbly for days! I never thought he'd make it, but he's a great young drake and growing like a weed!!! Congrats on the save. And its a very satisfying experience to witness and participate in.
     

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