VERY UPSET!! 4 Dead Ducklings W/Deformities


9 Years
Aug 28, 2010
Cedar Springs, Michigan
I'm so upset right now! I didn't wait as long, but I guess I wanted 1/2hr to long! I just opened up that last egg(16) that I heard chirp and rock 1/2hr ago, that I mentioned on my previous thread, and once again deformed head/bill. So out of 6 babies total I was incubating only 2 came out normally and healthy and early on day 26. Eggs 10,13, 16, 18, were all deformities. I expect many more losses out of the 8 eggs mom is incubating that I will be bringing in on Wednesday for lock down, my flock is dwindling down in a hurry.
I would leave eggs with momma and let her hatch them out-she's the incubator at the right temps and humidity levels-she sits on them patiently-even when one is hatching she wont move to check-why would you take her eggs away from her to hatch out yourself when she has been looking forward to them just as much as you have? Im sorry for your losses i truly am-Ive been there-but I read your other threads with all the candleing/handling/and pulling them out of bator-its not good for the chicks-they NEED a steady temp- humidty at all times to hatch out properly. The babies in the eggs are so pliable-beaks/bones and all when hatching-the deformaties could be as a result of trying to hatch out but couldnt do it from too much tampering...Im not bashing at all trust me its all coming from my heart as I know yours is broken-let mother nature do the work-I have learned this the hard way as you are right now-Id love to prevent another heart ache for you
I truly would-be patient very very patient....I am not an expert by ANY strech of the imagination but Ive stopped doing what everyone else warned me not to do-and I love them for it!
I'm not at all upset at you or taking it as bashing. Through this I've learned what not to do, and learned to take peoples advice very, very seriously now no matter how excited and intrigued I am to see what is going on in the egg I won't do this again, I've only been able to candle momma's eggs once a week, so we'll see how these babies turn out. But the reason for the possible pull of momma's eggs is I'm here in Michigan and the days/nights are getting colder to the point nights are getting down into the mid 30's and the babies can' stay warm enough. If anything, and I hope she will go back to laying as long as I keep the igloo with her, would be moving her into our basement(yes I know the mess and smell) and let her hatch them in our basement where it is warmer and away from drafts, and if/when the babies hatch and momma would leave and they are wet, they won't freeze, or if she goes and swims doesn't come back with freezing cold water on them and then lay them and freezes them that way. I just don't know what to do, I'm to the point that "DA_NBED IF I DO, DA_NED IF I DON'T". But one thing for certain is, this will never happen again, this is it on babies now that I know for certain momma carries a bad deformity gene. I'm taking all th constructive critism as not punishment, but a learning tool. So thank you!
In all defense she has been patient and did not open the hatcher, even after the first 2 hatched. She left the hatchlings in for a hole day with the other eggs. At that point I asked her if the other rocking eggs had externally piped yet. They were rocking for over 24 hours and hadn't piped. There were no other eggs that had piped, so I felt it was safe enough to check. I would have told her to sit tight if others had piped so they would not have gotten hurt with the humidity/temperature drop. I do not think they got deformed from trying to pip, their bills and skulls are way to hard for that. I agree that candling all the time is bad, and I do not believe that it has caused this. Momma duck has a deformed leg, and it seems that it is a genetic defect. There was no way of knowing this. I agree she has made mistakes and did not listen to all the advises we have given. Trust me I gave a plenty of negative warnings, and she knows. She has learned the hard way to better listen. I warned her about winter hatching, and now she tries to figure out what to do. Same warnings about candling, over handling, intervening, and the list goes on. She could move the mom and the eggs to the garage and let her have the motherhood feeling, or put them into a controlled environment and hope to give them a good start. She needs to decide on that one for herself.
And that is the thing, it's a tough decision but one I have to follow my gut on. And my gut so far is leaning on Katharina's advice is to pull them from momma. I feel bad to do it, but I want to give these babies a better chance to survive, then hatching and dying a slow miserable death by freezing to death. Then there is that small part of me wanting her to have that motherly experience and hearing her calling and defending her eggs like she is now is keeping me from that decision right away because of the fact she has sat this long, so patiently, faithfully, dedicately to have me just up and steal her babies? But as Katharina pointed out, it happens in nature all the time, she will get over it in a few days. And it's not like she will never be reunited with her babies, she will be when they are old enough to go outside and survive. But, then again if I pull the eggs, I won't have to separate her and the drake, they can stay together through out winter. My husband is coming home from Afghanistan on Thursday for R&R and he plans on helping me make a better shelter for the ducks for winter then just the dog igloo. So, I think I've already made my decision, pull the eggs. That is what my heart is telling me to do, it has been for some time, but I was going back/forth on this topic now for what?? A week or so now?
I know you were a saint-I lurked the whole time-and I applaud you and your patience-me I wanted to drive and sit on funnybunnies hands hahaha--nothing but love funny bunny-I have ducks and have never hatched them out-this is why I didnt pitch in with advice-It is a hard decision-but if I can add my own two pathetic cents-it would to move momma in basement now. I have moved broodies only to watch them abandon their nests-its heartbreaking-the further into incuabation the more dirupted the mom will feel- or stick to your original gut and pull eggs for lockdown...sit on your hands or I will drive over there to smack them -sit on them or super glue them to the wall:)
I wish you nothing but the best for this next hatch and will be watching and cheering you on!
Thank you, I will cut my hands off once they go into lock down. And if they pip and hatch, leave the babies alone if there are other eggs pipped, if not, quickly remove the babies and continue, and by end of day 28 and there are ones that haven't pipped, leave well enough alone. Mother Nature will take care of her own. Is that ok?? As long as no other eggs have pipped if ducklings are born it's safe to quickly remove them like I did with these 2? I promise you all, on the life of my 2 little 1/2 pints that I will leave them alone!! I won't even candle them when I move them. But , I can't help it I do have a heavy heart today. But I look at these precious babies that did make it helps my heavy heart become a little bit lighter. Especially when I see them imprint themselves on my boys.
Momma duck will probably hatch them fine, and they will be warm underneath her. Only they may decide to explore a day or two later and that is when you have to worry. Taking the babies after they hatched and momma bonded may be even harder on momma duck too. Ducks hate changes so moving the nest may also stop her from sitting on it. That's why I think let her have the eggs for the few more days and then pull them out. She will be fine and you can reunite them once they are older. Even though I have to say she wont know that they are hers. They will be room mates to her.
That is what I was thinking to, if I let her hatch I'd have to take them any way to keep them safe and warm from the enviroment and it will stress her out beyond belief, that would rip my heart to shreds to see that and hear her calling for her babies, so it would be easy to take them before hatch then after. She never noticed when I took the bad eggs from her before.

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