Unexpected ducklings, different ages

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by KCNC06, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Songster

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    I'm sure my questions have been asked before, so I apologize in advance if these are dumb or "duh" questions. I'll try to keep the backstory short.

    On June 11 (two weeks ago tomorrow) we ended up with 8 unexpected ducklings. One of our Pekin hens had a pile of eggs under the coop, but (foolishly) we didn't expect anything to happen with them because she left the nest every night, willingly, to go into the house with the other ducks and chickens. (I realize allowing them to stay together at night may night be ideal but the ducks moved in with the chickens and decided they were going in the house at night. Everyone seems happy about it so I'm not going to argue with them.) Anyway, since no one was sitting on the eggs at night, for like 10 hrs maybe, I didn't think they could develop. It was getting into the low 70's at night around that time. Anyway. The night of June 11 we found one wet duckling "running" around the yard after the ducks and chickens went to bed. Then I looked under the coop and found 7 more eggs that had pipped. I brought all the eggs and duckling into the house and made a temporary incubator for the eggs. The hatched duckling got wrapped in a cloth and tucked into my bra to keep warm. Most hatched fine on their own. Two pipped away from their air cell, one with the back of his head towards the air cell and one was completely breech with his butt towards the air cell. The one that had his head near the air cell eventually hatched out on his own but I had to help the full breech. Followed instructions I found on here and everything went smoothly. All 8 ducklings seem to be growing great...albeit a bit spoiled. Their brooder is in our master bedroom...they run to me every time they see me.

    Now that I'm failing at keeping it short (sorry!), I'll get to the questions part. After finding these ducklings, I checked the yard for more nests. Didn't find anymore hiding but did find a chicken and duck sharing a nest inside the coop. I managed to get them away so I could candle the eggs and didn't find any that had obvious development. That was June 12, then on the 16th, we found 3 dead and 1 dying, fully formed ducklings out of shells, and one dead part way out of a shell. I decided to take the rest of the eggs inside and put them in an incubator. I've never hatched eggs in an incubator before, had to go buy one... absolutely silliness. Anyway. I have no idea how I missed 5 ducklings that were so close to hatching when I candled on 6/12. I didn't see a single egg with anything dark in it.

    I can't remember how many eggs I brought in, but only have 2 in the incubator that are developing. One was just starting to show veining on 6/16, the other looks a good deal older. I could see his head and feet and he moved around a lot. I've been calling that egg Bill Bill. He looks like he's about ready to hatch now, hardly any to in his shell and air cell growing nicely. The other duckling is developing nicely too I think. I've never seen a duckling that early in development so he looks very odd to me. Sometimes I could swear it looks like there are two eye spots that move around when I candle the egg. I've tried getting a picture but my phone camera refuses to cooperate. I keep telling myself that one of the dark spots is something in his body. The spots are the same size...are there usually two dark spots that you'll see when you candle duck eggs?

    I'm prepared to move Bill Bill into a hatching incubator if he needs higher humidity or anything once he's ready. I'm guessing incubating eggs this far apart in age (I'm guessing close to 2 weeks) probably isn't ideal but my other option was to let them get killed by their moms. If all goes well and Bill Bill hatches, can he go in the brooder with the big (2 week old) ducklings? They're sweet for the most part but VERY energetic too. It'll probably be another couple weeks before the other egg is close to hatch time so I'm not sure what other option I have for Bill Bill. The one duckling that needed complete assistance hatching is a bit smaller than the other 7 and they don't bother him at all so maybe they'll play nice?
     
    MROO likes this.
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    No you can't put the new baby with 2 week olds..
     
    HuffleClaw and MROO like this.
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    You can set up a brooder with in the brooder, that way they can all see each other and then when Bill Bill is older he can go in with the others and you’ll have his brooder set up for the next one. They can all share heat this way too.
     
    MROO, FowlWitch, slippednfell and 2 others like this.
  4. Duck mommy 2019

    Duck mommy 2019 Chirping

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    They’ll kill him...
     
    MROO likes this.
  5. Duck mommy 2019

    Duck mommy 2019 Chirping

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    Send a pic of the setup
     
    MROO likes this.
  6. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Songster

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    I don't have an overly fancy setup. Their main brooder area is a 55 gallon plastic storage container with a hardware cloth lid. I have one of the red bulb heat lamps on them as well as a ceramic bulb which is plugged into a thermostat so it only turns on if the red bulb isn't heating their space enough. I got washable under sheet pads (similar to a thicker, waterproof mattress pad only designed to fit just under a person) for them. Figured this might work better than towels since they absorb more. I've also been letting them play in our bathroom during the day. I block off the toilet area and put a sheet down on the floor so it's not slippery...and it's easier to fold the sheet up to bring the poop and food mess outside. I'm obviously doing a lot of laundry but oh well. I cover the drain in our shower so they can have a shallow bit of water to splash around in. They seem to love that, except for the getting out part. They stand in line waiting to get toweled off (very gently and just enough so they're not soggy) before they can go dry off like big ducks. I have a heat lamp set up in the bathroom too so they can snuggle under it, and I have the A/C vent covered tight with a rolled up towel or flannel sheet so there isn't a cold draft. They have a few little cat toys that they enjoy playing with and have some "Skinneeez" animals they sleep on in the bin brooder and the bathroom. They really seem to enjoy sleeping on a stuffed animal but those don't generally stand up to washing well. The Skinneez toys don't have stuffing so they wash easily and air dry quickly. Seemed perfect for poop monsters.

    Giving Bill Bill a clear bin brooder in the bathroom seems like it would be the easiest way to let them see each other. I don't want him to miss out on seeing other ducks while he's young but obviously want to keep him safe. If he gets around to hatching that is.

    The other weird question I had, about what appeared to be two eye spots in egg #2, but assumed I was imagining things or didn't know what I was really seeing. That might have answered itself this evening. And, I'm guessing the two dark eye spots aren't exactly "normal". My husband and brother have been looking at me like I'm crazy for several days now because when I call them to look at that egg, one dark spot has always disappeared. Tonight my husband was more patient and waited for me to try to find what I claimed was a spot that floated away. Spot #1 has a small bill, opens and closes it like he's billing at whatever. He saw that. So then I slowly turned the egg, pausing and talking to it every so often until the second spot was visible...we saw what appeared to be a little bill just before he opened and closed the tiny bill. We could could still see Spot #1 when we found #2, so it's definitely not one spot moving. Then we watched as Spot #2 floated back over towards Spot #1 and they appeared to be bill to bill almost like they were kissing. I'm also fairly certain I could see what looks like feet/toes near Spot #1, it looked like he was billing at the toes. If we really saw what we think we saw (I'm still half convinced we're wrong), I'm very worried things won't turn out for this egg. If we're seeing two heads...twins don't seem to turn out well. I'm just planning to keep a closer eye on that egg. They're so active, I'd hate to take give up on them and take them out just because the odds aren't good for twins. If things go bad later, we'll just have to deal with that. At least both heads are pointing in the general area of their air cell.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
    Miss Lydia likes this.
  7. KCNC06

    KCNC06 Songster

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    Central NC
    Bill Bill finally came out to join us. As soon as he hopped out of his shell I realized how silly my question about letting him loose with the original 8 ducklings was! But, at the risk of sounding dumb still, how will I know when he's big enough to go play with his older siblings? Obviously not anytime too soon since he's so tiny, but it seems like it'll be months before they're close to the same size. Do I need to wait that long? The older 8 are around 17 days older than Bill Bill the Usurper.
    The other egg, the one with the twins, is still in the incubator. I'm not really sure what to do with it. I don't want to candle too often but also don't want to leave it too long if they die. I looked at it this morning when Bill Bill hatched and still see lots of veins but only a little movement. The dark area is really big so maybe they're not moving much because they're big? I'm sure I saw movement though so it's not dead. I'm not 100% sure how old the egg is. A duck or hen had been sitting on them before I brought them in. I'm guessing it's around 21 days since I could see some veining on 6/16. Should I just let it stay until it turns into a stinker or pips?
     
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  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Once Bill Bill gets his legs under him. I’d introduce him to the rest always with you right there. We had 2 2 week old Runner ducklings when our next Runner hatched and at first the older two wanted to pick on him so I made a small space for him in the brooder where they could see each other but the two bullies couldn’t pick on him. It only took 3 days for them to accept him. While I was waiting for them to be nice I would put him In with them and I’d sit by and watch them interact. Then we had 3 more hatch 5 days later. After 1 night recovering in the small space. They were introduced to the rest and all accepted each other so now they are a group of six an inseparable.
     
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  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Congrats on Bill Bill making his debut! As for the twins in the bator I am not sure but if they are still moving give them a chance. Maybe @Texas Kiki can offer help.
     
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  10. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    The few twins I've seen (on here) hatch have needed to be helped. When exactly you need to start helping...no clue.
     
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