I Hecked Up. I HECKED Up. (That's Not a Chick.)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Terminal Nostalgia, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. Terminal Nostalgia

    Terminal Nostalgia New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2017
    I was delighted when one of my hens went broody this year and placed six eggs under her in the nesting box.
    Wasn't able to move her to her own run until about ten days in because I needed a second person to help move everything. Should have done this during the night to keep her calm and settled but I didn't think of that at the time.
    Moved her and she immediately went un-broody. Gutted. I'd really wanted to have some chicks.
    It occurred to me after about forty minutes to cover up the entrance to the nesting box for an hour or so to calm her and hopefully kick her back into being broody. Didn't think it would work but it did!
    Wasn't sure if any of the babies would have survived though and I didn't want to risk the hen getting disturbed and going un-broody again by stealing her eggs to candle.
    She's been very diligent though so I've had to hand feed her treats everyday or she wouldn't eat.
    Hit day twenty/twenty one. No chicks.
    Gave it another day. Nothing.
    One more day and we stole her eggs to have a listen and see if any sounded like they contained more than liquid (couldn't get candling right with what we had to hand). To our utter surprise, an egg peeped!
    We rushed it back to the mother and I checked in on it an hour or so later. A pip! Waited all day with no new activity and then checked on it at ten at night. By this point it should probably have been peeping for quite a long time and hadn't managed to make much more progress. Worried it might run out of oxygen before it hatched, I pinched a tiny hole in the membrane. Beak! Hello baby!
    Tucked it back under, thinking that might have been a stupid move as I know membranes can contain a lot of blood but saw no signs of damage.
    Checked this morning and it had only zipped a tiny bit all night. Started getting worried. The egg had been hatching for probably about twenty hours and had hardly made any progress but was very vocal in there.
    Thought it might be time to intervene (mistake). Carefully broke away egg shell above the air pocket level to give it some help, before realising that might mess-up its zipping plans.
    Had to leave for work after that though, nothing more I could do (i.e, no more damage.)
    Came back from work and the baby had broken out a little more but was still mostly in the membrane with just a bit of wing and bea --
    Bill showing.
    A duck bill.
    Oh bugger.

    I remembered then the light blue egg my dad found outside and how I suggested it might have been one of next door's ducks that laid it. He said it was too blue looking and in truth it did look very much like our blue hen eggs. When I gave our broody eggs I gave her a range of colours. As I put the lightest blue under I thought to myself how funny it would be if that actually was a duck egg, and then forgot about it.

    But now I have a duckling that's hatching out on its 25th/6th day and I have no idea what to do! It's still very vocal (and gets very upset if I pick it up.) But I'm not sure if it's A:hatching too early to survive or, B:stuck, because there's still plenty of membrane around it I don't dare touch.

    What should I do? Try and give it a little water? Dampen the membrane? Leave the poor little bugger alone?
     
  2. Benevolent Barn

    Benevolent Barn Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2017
    Ducks are supposed to hatch on day twenty eight, so yours is hatching a bit early, but that is okay. I would help it and then leave it in the incubator for a little bit longer than normal to let it build up strength. It is probably a mallard egg. If it does survive I would take it to a local rehab center so it can be reintroduced to the wild. I recently tried to hatch a wild goose egg, with no success. Best of luck.
     
  3. Terminal Nostalgia

    Terminal Nostalgia New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2017
    We don't have an incubator unfortunately, so it's all up to the hen.
    The duckling will be either half runner duck or three-quarters, depending on who the mother was. We have one neighbour with a pond full of mixed runners and one with a lake full of mallards so if it survives, the duckling will have somewhere to go when it grows up.
     
  4. KayTee

    KayTee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 21, 2012
    South West France
    Now that it is this far out of the shell I would also be inclined to dampen the membrane and help it out, then stick it back under the hen and hope for the best.
    Did none of the hen eggs hatch?
     
  5. Terminal Nostalgia

    Terminal Nostalgia New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2017
    None of them, sadly. The hen crushed (and then I suspect from the yolk on her neck, ate) three of the eggs. Found a fetus under her today, possibly from a chick that died when she left the nest for too long.

    Edit: Gently helped ducky out of the egg and placed it under the broody hen. It went very quiet after that so I'm hoping it's just resting, rather than died.
    Don't know if it would have hatched unaided as the membrane was very solidly stuck to it and took a lot of time and gentle patting with a damp kitchen towel to come away.

    Edit Edit: Checked an hour later and it's still wobbly and can't really stand up properly but boy is it noisy!
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  6. Benevolent Barn

    Benevolent Barn Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2017
    Yay, it is alive!
     
  7. Terminal Nostalgia

    Terminal Nostalgia New Egg

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    Jun 16, 2017
    Just went to check on it and sadly it must have passed away just a few minutes before I did :(
     
  8. Benevolent Barn

    Benevolent Barn Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2017
    Oh no...
     

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