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Help with first duck hatch

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by AliceGee, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. AliceGee

    AliceGee Out Of The Brooder

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    I've hatched chicks under broody hens heaps of times but never ducks. My Swedish black hen is on 7 eggs and she's at about day 27. I know with my silkies when it's getting close to hatch day they'll stop getting off the nest, is this meant to be the same with ducks? My Swedish black is still taking a few breaks a day, not for very long, she just wets her feathers, has a drink and gets back on, is this normal? Or should she have stopped getting off this close to hatch? It's spring in Australia so it's warm but I thought she'd be losing the humidity every time she hops off?
    Thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I suspect it's important for her to wet her feathers . . .

    @learycow

    @Lacrystol


    @WVduckchick

    are hatchers . . .
     
  3. AliceGee

    AliceGee Out Of The Brooder

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    Yeah I think I've read somewhere wetting her feathers is important, I just wasn't sure if it's normal/ok for her to be getting off this close to hatch. Thanks for tagging them :)
     
  4. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Sorry, I've only had one broody duck, so I can only give my experience. I think she still got off the nest once each day, even those last few days, but she didn't get in the water much at all for the last couple of weeks. She would stand beside it and wash her head, but she didn't swim. But it was early summer and very humid here, so I would guess that is why.

    My thoughts are that she knows what she is doing, so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

    Good luck, post some pics when they hatch please!
     
  5. AliceGee

    AliceGee Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks very much! I will! :)
     
  6. Lacrystol

    Lacrystol Hatching Helper

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    She needs to take a swim, the reason why she does this is to keep the feathers wet and sit back on the eggs, this will raise humidity to help them hatch. Unlike chickens, chickens will poop and pee on the eggs, ducks won't do this, they rather use water. Let's just say they are smarter and cleaner. LOL but ALL normal.

    Just don't touch the eggs unless she ABSOLUTELY trust you. I've had several call duck hens leave the nest because I disturbed the nest. HUGE no no for me. Just sit back and get ready for some babies that will soon be following her. WOO HOOO
     
  7. PINOAK RIDGE

    PINOAK RIDGE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, as Lacrystol, stated she needs to get her feathers wet. Her natural instincts are telling her her eggs need increased humidity, so she wets herself then sits back on her nest. Mother nature gives animals the instincts to know how to be successful. Looking forward to seeing pics of mom with her newly hatched brood.

    Hope this helps. Good luck & enjoy your ducks.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. AliceGee

    AliceGee Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks very much for the advice! One's hatched so far! She's not the tamest, most trusting duck so I'll leave her until the rest hatch and they have a chance to dry off before I get some pics! I had considered taking them off her when they don't need heat anymore and hand raising to get them nice and tame, is that a bad idea? Around what age can they go without heat from their mum or a heat lamp? It is spring here so The coldest it gets to is about 62-66f at night.
     
  9. PINOAK RIDGE

    PINOAK RIDGE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Personally, when mom's hatch out ducklings, I like to have them raise them up. I figure they did the hard work of incubation, so let them enjoy their babies. Many duck moms are devoted.

    Ducks are a flock animal, hence happiest and most secure when in a group. If you just want to hand rear them I suggest at least 6, in a group. Ducks in the wild are one of the few species that actually have a chance of survival, even if they lose mom at an early age. Their flocking and natural instincts serve them well. They do not require "teaching" in order to survive. When they get cool, they will huddle together. Too hot, spread out. They quickly learn thru dibbling what is good to eat and what isn't. They do not even need to be taught to fly, it's natural instinct.

    Either way, if you hand rear them or allow mom to raise them, the more time you spend with and around them allows them to see you as a "flock mate" or family. You can sit by them and provide them with snacks so they have positive experiences interacting with you. Getting down in the grass, on their level, associates you with them and not a large predator towering over them, which is what their natural instincts tell them.

    Talk to them, so they get to know your voice. Since ducks are so social, many tend to be chatty. Ours have food and water 24 x 7, but as soon as we exit the house, they start talking and with many call ducks it's LOUD! We walk over to each pen/paddock, greeting them & then they are quieter and relaxed, they just wanted to say hello and have their human interaction. They will soon be able to associate your tone of voice--happy, nervous, relaxed, excited, danger & etc. Eventually even a few words, if you are consistent in conditioning them. Many people have special words for feeding, water and penning. I.e. din-dins, snackies, swim-swim, bath, bedtime and etc.

    A duckling’s environment should be 90 degrees the first week and then one may drop it 5 degrees every week. At 6-8 weeks, when they are well feathered, they can stand temperatures down to 50 degrees so long as the temperature doesn’t drastically fluctuate. They need to have a pen large enough, that the heat source is located on one half. Make sure they have enough room to move away from the heat, so they don't overheat &/or dehydrate. Water is a key part of waterfowl. Many ducklings perish from well meaning humans due to over heating and dehydration. Many people say not to allow ducklings to have access to swimming/bathing water, as it will kill them. We've raised about 120 breeds and varieties of domestic and exotic waterfowl for almost 30 years and we practice "wet brooding" where our ducklings have access to swimming/bathing water from day one and have raised thousands of waterfowl. It can and is done responsibly by knowledgeable breeders. One must remember that ducks are ducks. We, as humans, shouldn't be trying to make them into little humans, dogs or believe that they "think" like people. They are ducks and have thousands of years of natural instincts that have served them well. Let's appreciate them for what they are.

    Hope this helps. Good luck and enjoy your ducks.
     

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