Mallard Egg Advice?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by rescueduckies, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. rescueduckies

    rescueduckies New Egg

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    So we "rescued" some duck eggs that were being cared for by a friend's broody hen while we were chicken/duck sitting for him. We NEVER would have intervened, except for the fact that we didn't realize the eggs were beginning to hatch until one of the ducklings fell out of the nesting box and was killed by the rest of the flock of chickens. We decided that was enough duck trauma to last us a while, so we took the remaining ducklings and the three unhatched eggs home and put them in a relatively crude incubator at home (I can post pics of it, if needed.) The incubator has worked surprisingly well, and one of the three eggs has already hatched, and we have another that has just today pipped (I should mention that our friend didn't put all the eggs under the broody hen at the same time...he put them in one a day as his duck laid them, so this has made things very difficult as far as estimating when they will hatch). I expect things with our pipped egg to go fine, but here's the deal: the third egg, when we took it out from under the hen, was dented/cracked on one side. I assume the hen inadvertently stepped on it or some such thing. The outer membrane was still intact, however, so I warmed up some beeswax (the only wax we had on hand) and tried to seal the hairline cracks and the dent. I candled the egg later that day, and there was an active, seemingly healthy duckling in there! Fast forward to about three days ago, I candled the egg and saw that the air sac has been getting larger (as it should?), but that there was no movement in the egg, save for one little bit of shadow that was moving/pecking/bobbing on just one side. Today, there was even less movement. I would like to save this little guy, and I have done as assisted hatch before (our first duckling to hatch here struggled), so I'm wondering what to do/if I should do anything? I am guessing that the crack in the shell let more moisture escape than should have, and maybe he's a bit sticky/having trouble getting through the inner membrane to internally pip. Maybe I should cut a rescue hole in the shell into the air space, since what can I really hurt at this point, when the other side of his shell is cracked? It may be too late already, but I wouldn't feel right if I didn't make an effort to help this little guy out. I will post pictures today after work, but ANY thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    On the hatching forum there is a He Said She Said Who's Right Who's Wrong No One thread . . . lotta hatchers there.

    @dotknott
    @Lacrystol
    @WVduckchick
     
  3. dotknott

    dotknott Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just keep watching. Don't make a rescue hole unless there's an internal pip and it hasn't externally pipped after more than a day.
     
  4. dotknott

    dotknott Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Another thought. Is it possible that the crack was a mispip that was then dented?
     
  5. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds! Premium Member

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    I agree, I wouldn't make a safety hole before seeing an internal pip. That would just cause the membrane to draw up even faster. At this point, I think you've done the best you can do, you just have to wait it out and see if it pips internally.

    Also the beeswax was a good idea, but I expect it might melt away. I've not tried it, but have read that candle wax or even scotch tape can help. So keep an eye on that wax.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.
     
  6. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds! Premium Member

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  7. dotknott

    dotknott Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Beeswax has a melting point in the mid 100's so I think it's fine. (consider that bees build hives in climates that get warmer than incubator temps)

    I've used beeswax from my hives to seal hairline fractures before, though I usually just rub it on the affected area. (Obv. Not really possible for a dent.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
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  8. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds! Premium Member

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    Good to know. Thanks! :)
     
  9. rescueduckies

    rescueduckies New Egg

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    Alright, thanks. I'll keep watching. This afternoon when I checked on it, there seemed to be much less movement. To be honest, I really couldn't tell if there is an internal pip or not, it didn't look at all like our other pipped eggs. The dent is most certainly a dent, not a dented mispip, it doesn't appear to include any of the air sac, and according to the duck egg candling chart I have and my amateur eye, it wasn't more than about 18 days through when I first candled. The dent measures about an inch by 3/4 of an inch, so pretty sizable. I'm sure most people would have seen in and taken it out of the running, and I would have, too, if I hadn't candled it the day we got it home and seen a very, very active little guy (or girl) inside.

    Hopefully the pictures of the candled egg show up below; the cracks in the egg have been a black/brown color because of the way I cut a piece of beeswax off the block, using a hot utility knife. However, it seems like they are getting darker around the cracks. Again, this guy was moving as of late last night, surprising as that is...

    [​IMG]
    Cracks visible in the egg around the dent.
    [​IMG]
    Side opposite the dent, obviously a lot going on in there, but nothing I can identify.
    [​IMG]
    This is the site of all the action. You can see the air sac expanded in size (note my red pencil line and 'x' indicating where I believe the beak is, the yellow line barely visible below it was the position of the air sac last time I candled.
     
  10. WVduckchick

    WVduckchick For The Birds! Premium Member

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    I'm not really sure what to think of your candling pics. The second pic looks like it has quit, but the 3rd pic does resemble an internal pip. Do you have any idea how long it was cracked before you pulled it? I mean, I don't check my broodies eggs every day, so is it possible that it was cracked for several days?? I'm wondering if maybe the membrane totally dried out inside.

    Any more action?
     

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