I need advice on my duck eggs!!!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by aimsm, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. aimsm

    aimsm Hatching

    Nov 21, 2016
    I'm a newbie to this site and over the last 5 days I have devoted all my time and effort into learning about hatching eggs. I am from sunny (humid and terribly hot) Queensland Australia.

    So here's my story:
    I had 3 females sitting on eggs, all within about 2-3 weeks of each other. (I had no intentions of them ALL sitting on eggs!!!) They all kept swapping nests and moving them around the hut. Eventually after a month, one nest starts hatching ducklings, it was beautiful. Then a second nest started hatching ducklings and then became problems! A total of about 11 hatched. The other mother ducks started killing off the babies, slowly one by one. It was awful. Every couple of hours one was pecked to death to eventually only 1 still alive. Then the new babies that started hatching were also being pecked to death. Some were still in the shell half in. I ended up taking the duckling that was left. I also checked the eggs to see if any were hatching, two were in the process of hatching and I took those ones too. They are all alive and thriving.

    I believe because I had stirred them up so much, they stopped sitting on the nest for a full day. About 5pm (Sunday) they still hadn't sat on the nest, so I took all the eggs that were sitting on one nest. I heard one chirp and could hear scratching and saw some movement- but only for a short period. I rang around and got my hands on an incubator and put them all in. There were a total of about 30 eggs!!! (I have never incubated eggs).

    The next morning (Monday) I candled them all and many were full, others not at all full, and some mid sized. Some were moving, others not. There were a lot of cracked and bad smelling eggs and some that looked black! I threw the eggs with no movement, but first I dissected them to see what was going on. Oh, and the one that was chirping, stopped moving and no sound. I opened a small hole in the shell and he had been shrink wrapped. The other full ones were also shrink wrapped with no holes in the membranes, and all yolk fully absorbed. The smaller ones looked around 10 days old, while others were around 15 days old. My biggest problem is I really don't know exactly how old each egg is!!

    I have a total of 10 eggs left in the incubator all moving and bouncing around, except for one full term egg. I did the float test and only about 5-10% of the egg was floating. (I read that this means he is full term) Last night (Tuesday) I thought he may have been shrink wrapped too, so I put a small hole in the air sac to see if he too had died like the other full term eggs. I could see movement and I could see the yolk. (I was hoping not to see the yolk). I did not pierce the membrane, but moistened it with Vaseline. I wrapped it up with moist paper towel and put it back in the incubator (still Tuesday).

    (Wednesday) So my question, when do I put a hole in the membrane? Obviously he is not ready to come out yet! Does the yolk have to be fully absorbed before I open the membrane? Is he doomed to die because I have made a hole in the shell? I don't know what to do with this poor little guy now. Please tell me what to do with him, I want to give him a chance at life!!

  2. aimsm

    aimsm Hatching

    Nov 21, 2016
    By the way, my mother ducks are Muscovy cross Pekin.
  3. luvmyduckies

    luvmyduckies Songster

    May 12, 2016
    Upper Sandusky OHIO
    I wish I had some advise for you as it all sounds very stressful and heart breaking. I hope it all works out and will be watching .
  4. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Songster

    How's the little fellow doing now - any progress? He needs to absorb as much of his yolk as possible and the blood vessels need to shut down...these take time. On the other hand, you're clearly concerned that he may just give up if stuck in the shell for too long.

    Not knowing how old the duckling is poses a problem - he may not be at the point of hatch yet. I'm a bit surprised that your ducks were able to produce fertile eggs because Muscovy/Pekin crosses are usually sterile. See info from Metzer Farms: http://www.metzerfarms.com/MuleDucks.cfm.

    You'll have to play this by ear - try to allow the duckling time to absorb the yolk, but if it looks like he's shrinkwrapped or you become concerned because his movement slows or stops, you can follow the assisted hatching instructions here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/step-by-step-guide-to-assisted-hatching.

    Good luck! I'm rooting for the little guy. :fl

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