Hoping to save a little life... Question about incubating a duck egg... newbie :)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Lisaa, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Lisaa

    Lisaa In the Brooder

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    Hi, guys. I joined up yesterday to learn all I can - a crash course - about duck egg incubation. I've posted in the ducks section, but thought asking a question here would be a good idea, too.

    I have never taken care of an egg before and know virtually nothing.

    My daughter found a what we think is a mallard egg along the sidewalk outside her school (the whole story is in the new members thread and the ducks thread) and we're now on Day 19 of incubation. I'm using a hova-bator circulated air incubator with automatic rocking racks, borrowed from our 4H office. The egg is on its small end, at 99.5F. I've candled it a few times and the baby is alive and growing. It seems to be the appropriate size according to the number of days of incubation.

    Main concern at this point is the size of the air cell. It's about the same size as it was on Day 1 - roughly the diameter of a nickel. I tried removing all of the water cups to decrease the humidity (it was around 40 percent according to my very old and probably unreliable gauge), and now it reads around 35 percent. I plan to candle it this evening to see if the air cell size has increased, but want to be sure 35 percent humidity is acceptable. (After reading about dry incubation, it sounds like it's okay; though I don't know if the same rules apply to ducks.)

    Can anyone explain the growth of an air cell on a mallard egg? Can I use the air cell size alone as an indicator of proper humidity?

    I'm also cooling and misting the egg every evening. I use warm water, and let it evaporate before returning it to the incubator. It's out for around 5 to 8 minutes each time.

    Any advice and suggestions will be gratefully appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
  2. gabrielle1976

    gabrielle1976 Crowing

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    I dont know did you check the duck section of the forum.. Hopefully someone knows something [​IMG]
     
  3. MamaMarcy

    MamaMarcy Songster

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    Do muscovies live where you are? I mean commonly? If so they incubate for 35 days.

    I personally would leave the egg alone...not candle it so much or worry so much...or remove it cool it or mist it daily??

    And careful with mallards, there's pretty strict laws on interfereing with or owning them from what I understand?
     
  4. Lisaa

    Lisaa In the Brooder

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    Thanks for the responses. Yes, mallards are protected by migratory bird laws... but I just couldn't bear the idea of leaving the egg to be crushed by a school kid or construction worker. It had obviously already been interfered with by being where it was...:(

    I suppose it's even possible it's a domestic egg, and not even a duck (ancona chicken?!), left there by a child or someone... I don't know.

    Our wildlife rehabbers don't do eggs, so to speak. The only conscionable option for me is to try and do what I can for it. If we have a miraculous outcome, and it is indeed a mallard, the baby will go to the rehab people.

    I don't see many muscovies around our lakes and rivers. Lots of mallards, though. That's just my best guess - that it's a mallard egg. It's the size of a larger hen's egg, but a pale olive greenish color.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  5. Lisaa

    Lisaa In the Brooder

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    Yes, I posted in the duck forum. Hoping to get some help there - or even just find someone to hold my hand! Lol.
     
  6. MamaMarcy

    MamaMarcy Songster

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    Mallards are known to lay eggs randomly [​IMG] My parents find them by their creek a few times a year, just a random egg laying in the lawn.

    It'll be interesting to see what hatches out :)
     
  7. MamaMarcy

    MamaMarcy Songster

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    honestly if I found a random egg laying around I'm sure I'd have done the same thing [​IMG] and if I hatched out a mallard I'd probably keep it and just say it keeps hanging out in my yard LOL
     
  8. Lisaa

    Lisaa In the Brooder

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    Here's the crazy and mysterious thing about this egg - it was sitting on a tiny sawed off tree trunk (the school landscapers had recently cut down a dead tree) and the trunk was no more than 3 inches across. The egg was sitting upright, on its end, held up by a ring of mud carefully pressed all around the bottom of it. I'm no expert, but how could a duck manage to do that!? It looked like a little monument... which makes me think a child might have been involved. Plus, the egg was found right in front of my kids' school, on a busy street, right next to the sidewalk. I've never seen ducks around there and I walk that way twice a day. Really weird.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  9. Lisaa

    Lisaa In the Brooder

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    Just a little update, guys. Now on Day 22. I've read some conflicting info about the length of wild mallard incubation - from 22 to 28 days. I guess a lot depends on the environmental conditions in the wild? Even read an old thread here about mallards hatching on Day 25. Can anyone advise about how long I should wait to stop turning the egg and put it in lockdown? The air cell still seems too small, but I'm hoping it might have a growth spurt [​IMG] over the next day or so. I'm trying dry incubation to encourage air cell growth, and humidity has been staying around 38 to 40 percent, if my gauge is correct (which is questionable!)

    Should I just sit tight and wait for an internal pip, and then go into lockdown? Would it hurt anything to stop turning the egg at this point?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012

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