Welcome, Ducklings!

NOTE:  This post was written 4 weeks ago, I am updating it today. 

Well, by the sheer grace of God, my duck eggs made it all the way to their hatch day!  I patiently waited till Christmas Day…no duck.  Then I figured, well, I couldn’t QUITE remember what day I had begun to incubate the eggs under Henny Penny originally, so I could be off by a few days, plus the fact the eggs were chilled, could mean they may hatch even a few days later.  Well, finally, by Sunday, the 27th, I had a pipped egg.  This means that the chick has made a tiny hole in the egg and cracked the shell just a bit.  It can take 24 hours and sometimes even a bit more before anything else happens, since at that point, the chick is now breathing outside air and is rapidly absorbing the last of the yolk while the blood vessels in the egg are shrinking and receding.  So, I waited.  And waited.  And waited.  

Nothing, but some peeping from Duck A from his shell.  Then, at about 9:45am on the 28th, Duck B pipped his shell while I was watching.  It was really cool! But, no progression from Duck A.  

So, after 24 hours had passed (@ 8pm on the 28th), I decided to see what was going on with little Duck A.  Turns out, he was a ‘breech’ duckling.  There is a large air sac in the egg which a chick first enters before breaking the shell.  In Duck A’s case, he was facing the wrong way, with his little head between his legs, so he could not penetrate the air sac.  So, he was a stuck duck.  I very carefully removed a bit of the shell as well as opened the underlying membranes until I saw a little blood.  So, I stopped, and returned him to the incubator.  It’s not uncommon for a malpositioned chick to die from simply not being able to break out of the shell.  Now, Day 3.   

By Day 3, Duck B was well progressing into his hatch.  He had already broke a big chunk from his shell:  

Duck B has now made a larger hole in his shell and is preparing to make his escape

  

Poor Duck A was making no progress at all, so I knew it was time to really help him out.  I peeled off a lot of the shell, removed some of the white, tough membrane and then peeled back a little bit of the inner membrane.  Then I covered it with a damp paper towel (to keep the humidity up) and set him back in the incubator.  Not an hour passed and little Duck B began ‘zipping’ around his shell:  

Duck B is almost out!!! Duck A is beside him still stuck, and wrapped in a paper towel.

  

Then, with a final push, Duck B made it out!  He was jumping and flopping all over the place.   

Duck A is very much stuck and in a backwards position in the shell.

 It was sooooo exciting!  There has to be a God…should you have any doubts about that, you need to incubate yourself some eggs…it is just amazing.  

And now it is January 22nd.  The ducks are now outside in the ‘big duck’ pen and are bigger than you could possibly even imagine.  The adult ducks and especially the geese pretty much wish the babies would evaporate into thin air, but they’re getting along OK. Oh, I forgot…I bought 8 more baby ducks a week after my 2 little black ducks were born.  So, ten little peepers!  I love my ducks.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Bobbye West says:

    Amanda that is so cool. That really takes me back to when I was a tiny girl and my older sisters had ducks and chickens that we had in a homemade incubator in the hallway going downstairs. I bet your little girls love having you as a mom with all the great little projects you are doing. Memories for a lifetime..

  2. Sarah says:

    That is so interesting!! I would have been freaking out as if I was actually birthing the little ducks myself!! Hmmmm, still no update on the craftiness!! Starting to get slightly disgruntled!! Just kidding, really enjoy the blog, keep em coming.

  3. beingmaisie says:

    Well done on your ducks hatching and i fully agree with you that there is nothing like it. I have just hatched 4 eggs, 3 yesterday and 1 this morning and the buzz is huge. You are just willing them to break out and you can get to meet the inhabitant.
    Whoo what a great day i had yesterday.
    Good luck if you do anymore.

    Gill

  4. beingmaisie says:

    Sorry meant to say that mine were chickens not ducks but the thrill is the same i should imagine.

    1. msdoolittle says:

      Thanks! Yes, it is quite thrilling to see a tiny baby emerge from such a little egg. Congratulations on your hatch!

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