questions about ducklings with mama duck

CalBells

Songster
7 Years
Jun 3, 2012
156
26
111
San Francisco East Bay
Hi all,
It's been a long time since I've posted on here! I have 3 runner ducks, two that are turning 3 years old tomorrow actually. (happy Hatch-day girls!) One of them went broody for the first time this spring. We bought fertile eggs from Metzer (where our girls are from) and stuck them under her. We knew runners aren't supposed to be the best mothers, but she has done wonderfully! She's been really committed and has literally run from food to water and back before running back to her nest the 1 or 2 times she left it per day. She's obviously lost weight in this time, but has done great! So here are my questions:

1) Five of the Seven eggs hatched yesterday with our first pip on Monday. Today is 27 days. How long should we wait for the last two eggs to hatch? They don't have an obvious pip yet, and I haven't candled them recently as I didn't want to disturb mama or the hatching ducklings inside.

2) Yesterday when I found babies in the morning I locked mama in the coop to make sure no cats or other ducks disturbed the babies. I put food in there with her, but since she hadn't touched the meal worm treats sprinkled on top, I know she didn't leave the nest box all day to find the food, there is a half wall that makes it so she can't see most of the coop from her nest. This morning she popped out the nest box door after pushing some bedding over her eggs when me and the kids peeked at her the babies, and when she came back in the front door she finally found the food and water I left for her yesterday. However the babies have not found it yet. So, do I need to teach them to find the food and water, dip their bills in water like I did with our day olds when we were brooding them inside, or can I just count on mama to teach her babies before too long? I'm a little worried she won't leave the two eggs in the nest to show the babies where the food and water is.

I'm probably worried over nothing, Mama is doing such a good job! but I thought I'd see if anyone with more experience with "natural brooding" had any advice.

As a reward for reading this wall of text, here is a picture of the 5 babies that have hatched! 4 chocolates and a black runner.



And a video from yesterday of the first two that hatched Monday night:

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Amiga

Overrun with Runners
11 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,822
551
Southern New England
Oh, precious!

I don't really know the answers - I think you have legitimate concerns - might you try asking over on the Broody Duck Thread? If you put an @ in front of a name it will let that person know you mentioned him or her.

Like @Miss Lydia has had broody ducks hatch eggs, and I believe @Going Quackers has, also.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/850706/the-broody-duck-thread-for-2014/1150
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
114,826
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Congratulations on those adorable ducklings, and yes mama will show the babies where food and water is. They will not eat for the first 2-3 days though they live off the yolk sac. You need to candle those last 2 eggs though because if they aren't going to hatch why keep her on the nest when she can be caring for her ducklings better. Listen to the eggs too when internally pipped you can hear peeping that will be fun for your kids. She may give up on her own but you can never count on broodie's doing the right thing when eggs are involved.

Keep the pics coming and let us know about the last 2 eggs.
 

Going Quackers

Crowing
9 Years
May 24, 2011
7,839
975
371
On, Canada
Congratulations on those adorable ducklings, and yes mama will show the babies where food and water is. They will not eat for the first 2-3 days though they live off the yolk sac. You need to candle those last 2 eggs though because if they aren't going to hatch why keep her on the nest when she can be caring for her ducklings better. Listen to the eggs too when internally pipped you can hear peeping that will be fun for your kids. She may give up on her own but you can never count on broodie's doing the right thing when eggs are involved.

Keep the pics coming and let us know about the last 2 eggs.

Yep, yep....

nothing more to add lol just nodding in agreement! good luck!
 

CalBells

Songster
7 Years
Jun 3, 2012
156
26
111
San Francisco East Bay
Thanks all. Last night we candled those last two eggs, and they were duds, we opened them up and found that though they had started developing, they had obviously stopped a while ago, there was a lot of gross goo and not much obvious embryo, though one was further along than the other.

Mama is doing great with her 5 babies. Really I'm amazed at how protective and involved she is, they say runners aren't great mothers, but she is sure proving that wrong for herself! Thanks for your reassurance all. The babies are way more active today, running all around the coop with mama running herd on them. They have found the food and water and are making a glorious mess. Our coop has a clear roof so we can watch mama and babies without disturbing them too much. She really hated it when we had to lift the roof to clean up and give them fresh food and water hissing at me and herding her babies into a corner behind her body.
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
114,826
134,372
1,962
Mountains of Western N.C.
Thanks all. Last night we candled those last two eggs, and they were duds, we opened them up and found that though they had started developing, they had obviously stopped a while ago, there was a lot of gross goo and not much obvious embryo, though one was further along than the other.

Mama is doing great with her 5 babies. Really I'm amazed at how protective and involved she is, they say runners aren't great mothers, but she is sure proving that wrong for herself! Thanks for your reassurance all. The babies are way more active today, running all around the coop with mama running herd on them. They have found the food and water and are making a glorious mess. Our coop has a clear roof so we can watch mama and babies without disturbing them too much. She really hated it when we had to lift the roof to clean up and give them fresh food and water hissing at me and herding her babies into a corner behind her body.
Sounds like she is doing a great job. and these breeds can really prove those who say they aren't good brooders and mothers wrong. I'm happy to hear she is doing such a great job and the little ones are doing so good. Don't forget we insist on more pics.
 

CalBells

Songster
7 Years
Jun 3, 2012
156
26
111
San Francisco East Bay
Babies are doing great! I went on a camping trip with my daughter's girl scout troop this weekend and could tell they had grown while we were gone. Here is them having their first bath yesterday afternoon. They were pretty upset until mama got in the water with them, then we saw a little more preening and splashing.

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Here they are with mama in the tub:


 
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Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
114,826
134,372
1,962
Mountains of Western N.C.
Babies are doing great! I went on a camping trip with my daughter's girl scout troop this weekend and could tell they had grown while we were gone. Here is them having their first bath yesterday afternoon. They were pretty upset until mama got in the water with them, then we saw a little more preening and splashing.

0.jpg


Here they are with mama in the tub:


They are precious and you could sure tell mama was worried finally had to get in with them lol she is beautiful too. So happy they are all doing so well.
 

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