When to manually pip Muscovy egg?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 11, 2012
First, yes, yes, yes, I know that a broody mother is better than incubating eggs. So no need to say that.
Second, yes, yes, yes, I know that ducks "should" be left in their eggs to die if they're not strong enough to get out themselves. So no need to say that.

(I put that up front because I read those comments so VERY often when I'm trying to find information.)

Now...I have about 7 eggs left that I candled and there is movement. Problem is that they are on day 39 now and still no pip. I "think" I can see an internal pip but not sure. I had two pip right on time. One quit and died, the other I helped out but he's still very weak and has wry neck. I suspect this is because I didn't manage humidity as precisely as recommended and/or the eggs were possibly exposed to cold (I had a momma duck laying eggs on our front porch but would leave and the temp was getting down to sub 40 so I took them in and kept them for a few days at room temp and then started incubating them on 3 Dec.)

So, back to the question - at what point should I make a small hole in the airsac end of the egg for the remaining ones that are alive? And, I'm a little confused about this, but the two that did pip, pipped straight out of the side of the egg NOT the airsac end of the (which I suspect is part of what made it difficult). Right now, they are in the incubator, I have a wet rag in their and have misted them daily. It's humid enough that the windows are foggy and the temp is right around 99 degrees.

I'd really like to get a few more ducklings to help out my injured one (named Grendel) and provide some company.

Thanks in advance.
From what I've read, pipping the egg for the duckling can actually be detrimental, and slow down the hatch even more.

I'm not necessarily opposed to helping a baby out once they have pipped, but from what I've seen, the pipping has to happen on the chick/duckling's timetable or it can make things worse. From what I've read, the carbon dioxide levels have to get to a certain level for the chick/duckling to want to pip, and if you pip it for them, the CO2 levels drop, which can make things tougher.

I don't know though, it's a tough call.
I'm leaning toward letting them do it on their own timetable but as the mortality rate with this incubation is extremely high if I can do anything to swing it in their favor, I want to. I guess I can wait a few more days but at 7 days beyond 35, I'm just not sure...

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