Helped Out Hatchings -- Ducklings Weak (Update: One Just Died)

Lamar Estate

8 Years
Mar 3, 2011
St. Paul, Minnesota
The 5 ducklings I helped hatch (shrink wrapped) on Friday morning still seem weak. One still hasn't absorbed all of its yolk (marble sized left). The other 4 are not even coordinated enough to stand up and walk.

I've been dropping beads of vitamin and electrolyte water on their bills.

They are peeping and wiggling around. I want to think that they are fighters.

Do I just give them more time to get stronger, or do I realize that maybe nature didn't intend on them to be with us for very long?
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No reason to give up hope on these little ones. You saved them as they were shrink wrapped- but also - to save their lives you had to alter the natural hatching process they go through. Turning to unzip- and pushing helps them to gain strength. Also- having being shrink wrapped- they would have struggled for a long time to try to move within the membrane- so that would have weakened them. Give them more time- but watch the little one with the unabsorbed yolk the closest as it will be the weakest one.

Fingers are crossed for you and your little ones... Sorry your first attempt at hatching ducks didnt turn out a more positive experience for you. Incubating is wonderful when everything goes right..and heartbreaking at other times. You have done well though - They are lucky to have you as their carer now as you obviously want to do the best for them now they are hatched.
You could try dipping their bills into the electrolyte water...use the concentrated dose, and try to encourage them to drink this way. That way they might actually swallow a little. Don't give up hope just yet! It took me three days to get "Nano", shown in my avatar, going...
Thank you for the messages.

I just lost one of the ducklings.
I feel just sick about it. About an hour before I found her (I don't really know if it was a girl) dead, she was taking beads of vitamin + electrolyte water from me and was peeping. I had her still in the incubator (along with the one with the yolk still attached), but really thought she would make it. She worked very hard to push the remaining shell off--she seemed so determined to see the outside world.

During a good hard cry, Beaker came out of her nest box cubbyhole to see me. I guess she decided she had enough of sitting on her eggs. I knew she'd get bored. She's now cuddling with my husband.

I'll keep trying to give them the vitamin + electrolyte water.
There is nothing you can do but wait. Keep them warm, and give them water with the electrolyte mix etc every 4 hours. Just one beak full at a time. They don't need much at this point, because they are still working off the yolk. Lots of resting time. The next 24 hours are critical. They should be fine after that. I once had to keep one for 2 days in a warm place by itself. Make sure the incubator has all air holes open, if you use it as an ICU. One problem with using an incubator is that the duckling cannot get away from the warmth. That can be a disadvantage. Nothing to worry about in the first 24 hours.
The one duckling is finally absorbing the yolk, but still has a way to go. It peeps and moves its head a bit, which gives me some sense of comfort.

The smallest duckling seems to be doing the best. It can walk around pretty well. The other two still end up on their backs and most of the time they can't flip over (just like a turtle on its back).

Who knew these little critters could make us so emotional?

BTW--I'm so happy to be part of this forum. Most people don't understand the feelings we have towards our ducks.
They are not crested ducks, are they? Flopping onto the back is usually a sign of neurological problems. Crested ducks are know for that issue. Neurologial problems can also arise from vitamin deficiencies in the egg. Well lets see what happens in 24 hours. It may all resolve by itself.

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