Incubating duck eggs without an incubator

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by BreenaAndTony, May 26, 2017.

  1. BreenaAndTony

    BreenaAndTony Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 1, 2016
    Hey ya'll!
    I have a few questions about incubating duck eggs with no incubator. So, my muscovy hen is a great mama. She goes broody often and has given me many beautiful ducklings. But.... I have a Pekin hen (never broody) who tends to lay eggs in her nest with her. By the time there is a full clutch, half are pekin and the other are muscovy. It's never been a problem before. Usually the Muscovy hen will lay on them no problem. The pekins hatch about a week sooner. In fact she has also hatched a couple chicken eggs right along with the rest. They hatch even sooner but still it's not been a problem... Until now :hit. The Pekin eggs hatched fine, but as soon as they finished hatching she gave up on the rest of the nest. All the Muscovy / Hinny eggs were left alone and cold while she and her new Pekin babies went exploring. At first I left her alone because she was still coming back to the nest every so often to sit. After 2 days she was only sitting at night. Her eggs were definitely not going to make it at this point if I didn't step in. So, I brought the 12 eggs inside. I candled them but didn't see much movement if any so I dropped each of them in a warm glass of water and watched for the slightest little bump. Out of the 12, 10 of them showed life. I done away with the 2 that had passed and began bringing their temp up slowly with a lamp. I don't have an incubator so I put them in an empty fish tank, covered the half with no lamp and prayed I could keep there temp regulated. I've been turning them every so often and misting them with water and couple times a day. But, I my first little pip happened 2 days ago. He seemed to be shrink wrapped by the membrane so I pulled back on it slightly until I seen blood so I stopped. I've read here and there to keep them moist with a damp cloth wrapped around the eggs. I've read not to do that because it's too much moisture. Right now I have the lamp on them with a warm damp wash cloth laying over them. Is this good, bad????? :hit I feel like I may lose this battle if I don't get the right instructions at this point. I have several more pipping and I don't want to lose them. Please if you have any advice or answers, I would be ever so thankful.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I would keep the moist paper towels or sponges around, and assist as necessary. In an incubator you usually bump up the humidity during the hatch. Hot lights are drying so you want to offset that. I am definitely surprised that the eggs survived at all.
     
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  3. BreenaAndTony

    BreenaAndTony Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 1, 2016
    Thanks, I can use all the advice I can get. The first has come completely out of his egg but is very weak and not doing much at all. Almost like he pipped to soon. He is still very swollen where his yolk was and he's not trying to walk at all. Just kicking his feet. :( Hmm. Guess I'll just see how it goes. The others are pipping one by one but no one else has made an effort to unzip. Think it'll take longer for them to hatch because I'm doing this with no incubator? I have to say that I'm very surprised at how well the temp is staying regulated. It's staying between 96 and 100.5 I'm checking it every hour sometimes more if I just happen to walk past. I'm just not sure about the humidity. Fingers crossed :)
     
  4. SunshineMary

    SunshineMary Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 11, 2016
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    My Coop
    Although it is so difficult, I would back off and not do anything to get them out of the shell yet. Their development may have slowed down a bit from not being warm enough once their mama stopped sitting consistently.

    I wouldn't wrap them up in a washcloth, but I would keep wet washcloths by them.

    Don't give up on that weak little duckling just yet, either. I have had some ducklings hatch that looks so weak and pathetic I thought surely they would die, but by the next day they were up and running around and looking just fine!

    Good luck and let us know how it goes with your new babies!
     
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  5. BreenaAndTony

    BreenaAndTony Out Of The Brooder

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    The little fella is tumbling all around the tank and seems to be getting a little more energy by the hour. One of the Pekin babies were like this. It hatched last and was on the ground in front of the nest cold and wet with dirt caked in his eyes. After a few days of good ole TLC he's as good as new. Much smaller than the rest but just as lively. As for the rest of the eggs, I didn't wrap them. I draped a warm damp wash cloth over the whole clutch. Within an hour it's almost dry so I know the lamp has to be drying them out as soon as they pip.
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    You can take a sour cream container, put a folded square piece of paper towel on the bottom and put the one struggling in it under the heat, to hold him upright and to give him the ability to push himself up. It works wonders on weak legged poults and chicks.
     
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