Howdy all. About early November my littlest and youngest female Piper (Who was a year old Dec 18th) started laying eggs. My drake and Piper (who is behind him) is my posting pic up there with my name. They are Australian Pacific Black ducks rescued by me as eggs, Piper hatched in homemade incubator Dec 18th 2011 and Wist the drake hatched 20th April 2007 also from homemade incubator. Piper made a nest and laid about 10 eggs. This set off a chain reaction - My Pekin Syanne, Part Pekin Ephinny and Mixed breed (god knows what) Varia all began to lay in the same nest. See the big girls on my profile page. They are easily 4 times the size of my drake and I wasnt sure he was even breeding them. When the big girls stole the nest Piper started another lay under a tree. Her original eggs all died - Developed to a point that when candled you could see mostly dark inside - and I assume they died because the big girls werent interested in them AND were making them too hot, as pacific blacks prefer cooler temps. Her Nest 2 all died very soon after the embryos took, visible as a runny black spot. I was unable to incubate throughout Dec as I work in retail and got slack about checking the nests and dating the eggs. Thats what I get for trusting ducks to 'do it right!' Since christmas Ive cleaned out the nest multiple times. The three big girls all lay in the one nest but only the pekin sits full time. She started this about mid dec. If the other girls feel like sitting they sit ON TOP of her! I started by cleaning out newer eggs and leaving her with the ones that were developing. Without fail, every single one has died just before hatch time. Ive changed tactics now, when I clean out the nest, I take older eggs that havnt had any inner changes, and leave her with fresh ones. When I crack new eggs, most are fertilized, sometimes even with a split nucleas so I know they are starting to grow, what I cant figure is why they are dying. I had believed it was the heat - we have suffered weeks of high temps and the pekin never gets her fat white butt off the nest! A few weeks ago I took some to incubate myself only to have the same thing happen to me even with hourly monitoring and temp control. Im now worried about the interbreeding, so what Im asking is If an embryo begins to grow, does that mean its viable? I assumed yes, but with babies dying in the shell near hatch point Im starting to think its genetics at fault. Any information any one could give me would be much appreciated! Cleaning out the nest at least once a week is vital, by the end of the week (and thats, every week since early dec) there is easily 50 eggs in the nest. He keeps breeding them, they keep laying, but we arent getting any babies argh! Piper has not laid again but I feel she is going broody again now. Im on full alert looking for her eggs, her and the drake being the same breed I know they have the greatest chance of hatching, also, Ive been rescuing these pretty ducks for years and to have my own purebred flock has always been a dream of mine. Im getting to the point now where I dont care WHO the mum is, I just want ducklings! Every farm around me has signs out front, saying 'ducks for sale' so everyone else is succeeding except for me! It is all the girls first year of laying. All are only a year old, Piper as I said, rescued egg, big girls were purchased from a private breeder late July. Big girls might be less than a year actually, as when I purchased them in july they were still quite fluffy and downy.