Stuck with assisted duck hatch

Ashley80

In the Brooder
11 Years
Dec 22, 2008
73
2
41
Lesmurdie, Western Australia
I've been incubating some Pekin duck eggs along with some chicken eggs (I set the chicken eggs exactly 7 days later than the duck eggs). 48 hours ago the chicken eggs begun to hatch and 24 hours ago the duck eggs all pipped but two of the duck eggs pipped at the wrong end. I read a few posts on here about ducks dong this and after watching them for 24 hours most of the other ducks had hatched but the two that pipped at the wrong end hadn't progressed. I had to open the incubator anyway to get the 48 hour old chicks out so I broke a little bit (about 3mm) of each shell to start a zip but in both cases I hit blood pretty quickly so I wet the membrane with a cotton tip, misted the incubator and put them back.

Now I'm a bit stuck, all the instructions I've read say to keep trying to extend the zip a little every hour or two but there are other eggs still hatching in there so I can't keep opening up the lid.

I didn't take that much off the shell, so is there a chance they will still Zip themselves? Any advice from a duck hatching guru's would be appreciated.
 
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PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
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Conway SC
I've been incubating some Pekin duck eggs along with some chicken eggs (I set the chicken eggs exactly 7 days later than the duck eggs). 48 hours ago the chicken eggs begun to hatch and 24 hours ago the duck eggs all pipped but two of the duck eggs pipped at the wrong end. I read a few posts on here about ducks dong this and after watching them for 24 hours most of the other ducks had hatched but the two that pipped at the wrong end hadn't progressed. I had to open the incubator anyway to get the 48 hour old chicks out so I broke a little bit (about 3mm) of each shell to start a zip but in both cases I hit blood pretty quickly so I wet the membrane with a cotton tip, misted the incubator and put them back.

Now I'm a bit stuck, all the instructions I've read say to keep trying to extend the zip a little every hour or two but there are other eggs still hatching in there so I can't keep opening up the lid.

I didn't take that much off the shell, so is there a chance they will still Zip themselves? Any advice from a duck hatching guru's would be appreciated.
Time will tell---eggs are different. """I had to open the incubator anyway to get the 48 hour old chicks out"" Where did you get this info---that you "Had" to take them out by 48hrs?
 

Ashley80

In the Brooder
11 Years
Dec 22, 2008
73
2
41
Lesmurdie, Western Australia
'Had' might be the wrong word. I'm aware I could have left them longer but the chicken eggs still in there are likely to take another few days to finish hatching (officially we're on day 20 for the chickens) and there was a lull in activity so the only eggs with exposed membranes were the 'problem' ducks I took my chance to do it.
 

sumi

Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
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Jun 28, 2011
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I've had a duckling pip on the wrong end of the egg once and it wasn't ready to complete the hatch for days. It was a nerve wrecking, but interesting hatch. It pipped externally on the Saturday afternoon, by Monday evening I zipped the shell enough so the little one can get out with some effort, leaving the membranes intact. Early Tuesday morning it hatched by itself. From that experience I learned to be patient and let them take their time. As long as they can breathe, they will be o.k. for now. Just keep the humidity high enough so they don't dry out and get stuck in the eggs (around 65%) and leave them. If you open the incubator for some reason, for example to remove hatched chicks, dampen the exposed membranes with a wet q-tip, to help keep it soft and damp. The ducklings may need assisting at some stage, when they are ready, but for now just leave them, it's early days still.

What I used as a guide when hatching ducklings and timing the hatch progress is that they can take up to 24 hours to progress from internal pip (into the air cell) to external pip, after which they would rest for up to 24 hours again before zipping, which could take a few more hours. So i.e. from first pip it could take up to 56 hours before the duckling is out of the shell. Now, since your ducklings pipped on the wrong side of the egg, they skipped the internal pip stage, which should be combined now with the normal expected time it will take them to progress from external pip to hatch. So I'd keep an eye on them for 36-48 hours before helping again. IF they show signs of distress (not to be mistaken with normal annoyed "get me out of here!" cheeping, I would investigate and see what can be done.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 
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PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
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Conway SC
'Had' might be the wrong word. I'm aware I could have left them longer but the chicken eggs still in there are likely to take another few days to finish hatching (officially we're on day 20 for the chickens) and there was a lull in activity so the only eggs with exposed membranes were the 'problem' ducks I took my chance to do it.
I truly feel this way----Its your Incubator and you can operate it any way you want. I was just making sure you were not mis-informed. I promise you that chicks can stay in it for 3 up to 4 days after hatching with no problem. I would break someones arm(LOL) if they tried to open mine before day 22(for chickens)---unless all eggs have hatched before then. Many times I have had some bantam eggs to start hatching early of day 19----they stay till day 22 or longer if I am not at home. Good Luck on your future hatches!!
 
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sumi

Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
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Yep, sit on your hands, go for a walk, bake some cookies... Check on the ducklings every 5 minutes
wink.png
I know, this is the hardest part, waiting and wondering when is the time right to start investigating. I've done a good couple of assisted hatches and I found the best, best thing you can do is wait as long as possible before you go in there. Time is your friend here. While you're waiting, here is a wonderful article on the topic of assisted hatches. It's about chicks, but apart from the timing it can be applied to other poultry types as well:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/step-by-step-guide-to-assisted-hatching
 

Ashley80

In the Brooder
11 Years
Dec 22, 2008
73
2
41
Lesmurdie, Western Australia
Thank you, I'll have a read. It's 6.50am here and over night the rest of the ducks all hatched, the two upside down pippers are still breathing in their eggs. Half a dozen Polish eggs have also pipped which I guess is a good thing because it'll force me to wait until at least this afternoon before doing anything.
 

Ashley80

In the Brooder
11 Years
Dec 22, 2008
73
2
41
Lesmurdie, Western Australia
Ok so it turns out all I had to do was wash my floors, put dinner in the slow cooker and fold a mountain of laundry! Both upside downers have hatched, they definitely had a harder time popping out since the hole was so much smaller than if they'd popped from the right end but they've done it!! Thank you Sumi for talking me off the ledge earlier :)
 

sumi

Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,154
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Wonderful! I'm happy to hear to hear that it went so well
smile.png
Any chance of some pics of the little ones?
 

MANNA-PRO

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