Why do eggs get abandoned? Are eggs ok?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by davekrista, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. davekrista

    davekrista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A few months ago my husband and I got our first chickens. We now have 12!!

    Now we are presented with an opportunity to "take in" 4 abandoned duck eggs. How different is raising ducks then it is from our hens? From what we are told, the eggs were abandoned by the duck mommy and also a hen had been broody and sitting on them and has since abandoned them as well. I have a broody hen so I am considering having her sit on them until they hatch, which we are told will be in another week.

    Is there a reason why ducks and/or hens abandon eggs? Is there something wrong with the eggs? I only know about my chickens and i'm still learning as I go, but I'm trying to decide if adding the ducks will be right for us. Any advice and/or tips are greatly appreciate.
    Krista
     
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I would candle those eggs first, but otherwise give it a try. It's better then doing nothing.
     
  3. davekrista

    davekrista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If we decide to take them in, (which I am leaning toward yes, hubby isn't sure yet) we will pick up the eggs tomorrow evening after he gets out of work. I have heard of using a candle to see if its fertile, but what exactly do I do and what do i look for?

    The person we are getting them from has a bunch of ducks and chickens, roosters, geese and they can't keep any more. They will be a mixed breed, black sweedish x indian runner mixed with one of a number of other breeds, so who knows what they will look like. IF this person has all these, I would hope they would have already made sure they are in fact fertilized?
     
  4. Featherland

    Featherland Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can candle the eggs using a small powerful flashlight in a dark room. There are charts that will show you what you should see. You could google those.
     
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    You can candle with a bright flash light in a dark room. You just want to make sure they are fertile. If there is one week left, then most likely it will all be dark in there. Here is a reference chart:
    http://www.metzerfarms.com/Candling.cfm
    Ducks can be fun. Sure they are messy, but they are really good at pulling weeds and eating bugs. Their eggs are really good and they are 5-10 times higher B vitamins then chicken eggs. They are also great for baking. I would say go for it.

    Make sure you have extra niacin on hand once they hatch. Commercial feed is never high enough in niacin for ducklings, so you should supplement them with it the first 12 weeks by mixing it into the drinking water. It is safe for the chicken so no need to try to keep them apart. Niacin is available at Walmart in the vitamin section and is really cheap too. You mix 100mg per 1 gallon of water. The ducklings get this water daily until 10 days old and after that weekly until 12 weeks.

    You can also offer an electrolyte vitamin mix for the first 10 days to assure a good start.
     
  6. davekrista

    davekrista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the great info. I just got off the phone with the lady, and she says that she had put a light up to them a little earlier and saw that the beaks had broken through the sacs, so that meant that they would be starting to break through the shells i 2-3 days? Is is ok to transport the eggs from her house to mine at this point?
     
  7. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is that Uxbridge, Middlesex? Or US?

    It seems odd that they are getting rid of the eggs so close to hatch. They must be in an incubator or under another broody now, right? I would be worried if they have been totally abandoned and left to get cold. Might be easier and safer to collect them as day old ducklings than risk moving them so close to hatch time. It is not just heat but humidity that is essential. Lots can go wrong in the last few days. Perhaps someone else can advise on suitable transport arrangements? I guess they might be OK for a 10 minute journey but depends on how far away you live.

    I keep both chickens and ducks together, my ducks having been hatched by my broody hen. They do fine. If your hen is still broody then she will make an excellent mum to them and save you loads of hassle with brooders, heat lamps, smelly house, etc! If she is sitting on eggs now, then you can slip already hatched ducklings under her at night and she will not realise they did not come out of the eggs. Probably the safest way if the current owner has some facility for hatching them initially.

    It is a great experience having ducks. There is a thread called something like 101 things we love about ducks - it makes very fun reading! They are messy though [​IMG]

    Good luck [​IMG]

    ETA: you should feed them on UNmedicated chick crumbs for the first few weeks supplemented with niacin as Kat says. Niacin is in brewers yeast. If you are in the UK, I have some spare if you want it and can post it to you if you like for the cost of the postage. just PM me.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2010
  8. davekrista

    davekrista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ejctm- thanks for the offer. I'm in the US though. I asked the lady if it was ok to be transporting the eggs so close and they told me it was ok. But that was one of my concerns. Its a 20-30 min drive from where we're picking them up to my house. Its on my husbands way home from work which is why we are considering it, but i am definately concerned about transport. The eggs are currently in an incubator, but I had planned on putting under my broody hen with hopes she takes responsibility.
     
  9. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Actually, as long as they haven't broken through the outer shell, now is as good a time as any (before hatch) to transport. They maintain their heat better at this stage than others. Just make sure they are well insulated during the trip so they don't lose any more heat than necessary.

    However, it would make more sense for her to go on and hatch them and let you adopt them as soon as they're 24 hours old. If they start breaking through the outer shell before you can raise the humidity adequately, they could end up stuck in their shells. And if they've already broken into the air cells (as she indicates they have), then there is a HIGH probability that they will have pipped the shell by tomorrow night. At that point, it's a matter of two days at the most before they hatch... so why is she in such a hurry to move them out?

    Very odd...
     
  10. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, I just realized you already answered my question--you want them as eggs so you can put them under your broody. That makes sense. I haven't worked with broodies, so I don't know enough to advise, but I think it's possible to put babies under a broody as long as you do it at night. But don't take my word on that...

    If you really want them as eggs, is there any chance you can pick them up tonight, to minimize the chance that they will have broken through the shell when you get them?
     

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