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Farming Friends Forum » Incubating and Hatching Eggs

Duck egg not hatching

(9 posts)
  • Started 8 years ago by jamiecockburn
  • Latest reply from campbell ridge

  1. I have a few eggs in an incubator(6 eggs). They arent due by my calendar until the 21st. The first egg starting piping(not sure if thats the right term, it broke through the shell and was moving and chirping but couldn't see the duckling yet) on friday night the 17th one other egg was moving but hadn't broke the egg yet. The first duckling hatched on saturday morning around ten and is doing great. The second duckling has broken the egg shell as of saturday night but hasn't progressed from there. Should I keep letting it try? The others aren't even moving yet but were candled and alive last week. Should I leave it? I can now see the tip of the ducklings beak but nothing else. It has been thirty six hours since the first hole. thanks in advance

    Posted 8 years ago #
  2. campbell ridge

    I would suggest you pick a little of the shell away, leaving the membrane or tear it a little as well. It's an exhausting time for the babies - having just experienced it myself, I helped the last one out, that was hatched two days later than all the rest and she is doing fine. I don't know if she would have survived, had I left her.
    Here is the duckling as we helped it out of the shell.

    Here is the duckling with the others, as you can see doing fine.

    Sarah L
    Posted 8 years ago #
  3. Hi Jamie,
    All the books and research says that you shouldn’t help ducklings out of the shell and that opening the incubator can affect the rest of the eggs hatching. I have not had to help quail hatch as they managed to all hatch at the same time and relatively easily. I have however had to help many a guinea fowl and more recently ducks out of their shell with some success.

    From experience I have found that if a duckling has not hatched itself within a few hours then I have found that they can die in the shell as the heat in the incubator dries up the shell and membrane which sticks to the duckling and makes it difficult for the duckling to hatch.

    If you do decide to help the duckling out, remove the egg from the incubator quickly and cupping the egg in your hand to keep it warm carefully start to pick off the shell from where the egg has pipped as this is where the ducklings beak is. I have always had to work quickly although you have to be very careful that the blood vessels in the shell don’t bleed as this can kill the duckling.

    When I help a duckling out I try to pick the shell off the head part first and work my way down. I never take all the shell off as the duckling is attached to the shell at the base. I usually take the top off and try to make sure that the ducklings head, wings and body are free. It is important to make sure that the duckling can move about because once it goes back in the incubator the membrane and shell dry out and can get stuck to the duckling.

    I then put the duckling and attached shell back in the incubator and let the duckling wriggle free in it’s own time.

    I had to do this for 6 of the 7 ducks I now have that are fully grown adults and are producing fertile eggs. They are very heralthy but 6 of them would never have made it without my assistance.

    Another thing to consider is once you have opened the incubator the temperature and humidity will be affected and this could stop other ducklings from hatching.
    If you decide that you are going to open the incubator I would just check that you can see movement from the duckling otherwise you will have affected the incubator conditions and the duckling could already be dead.

    Hope this is useful. Good luck and let us know what happens.
    kind regards
    sara @ farmingfriends

    Posted 8 years ago #
  4. Well I helped the duckling hatch last night. He seemed to be really just giving up. The original pip hole was just one little hole, and he hadn't made any progress in almost two days. I did just as you posted and he wriggled out on his own. The problem seems a little strange to me. He has one eye that is probably three times the size of the other. He will drink as long as I put him by the water but has yet to gain his balance and move to the drink on his own. His sibling is doing great and really eats and drinks and I think this helps. The other eggs are moving but have not hatched yet. Has any one else ever seen this. I think today the eye seems to have reduced in size marginally. I don't know if this happens alot or not. I will try my hardest to keep him alive and see if we can make it through this but things aren't looking well for the poor fellow.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  5. campbell ridge

    Oh dear poor little mite. How do his eyes look this morning? It could be that a foot was jammed hard up against one side of it's face causing pressure. I've not heard of this before. Very gently and swiftly, dunk his whole beak into the water to help clear out his nostrils and mix up some chick feed with water and place it in the palm of your hand inbetween the cracks of your fingers (they peck in dark crevices) to encourage eating.
    You could try a dropper to give water , which is what i did with my little one above, who is now keeping up with the rest of the flock after a dodgy start.

    They need water and lots of it interspersed with food, then water, food, water, sleep etc

    I have no idea about incubators etc as mine were brooded by the adults so can't give advice regarding the other eggs.
    Fingers crossed that he will soon pick up when he gets food and water inside him.
    Good luck

    Sarah L
    Posted 8 years ago #
  6. He seems to be eating and drinking some. His eye has gone down considerably but is really cloudy. I am assuming he will be blind in this eye. I think he must be eating and drinking for him to have made it this long and only seems to be getting stronger. I will keep you updated. Thanks for replying.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  7. Hi Jamie,
    I am sorry to hear about the duckling's eye. I wonder if the eye needs bathing to reduce the swelling. I have read about watery eye in ducks which says there may be white patches and an antibiotic can be effective. I wonder whether you could call your vet for advice. I don't know whether they would charge for this but they maybe able to give advice over the phone. My vet gave me advice about my pigs over the phone.
    I am glad the duckling is getting stronger.
    Kidnr egards
    sara @ farmingfriends

    Posted 8 years ago #
  8. matt7

    Hi, this is my first time trying to hatch ducks, i know they are alive but from what i read Mallards are one of the specied that are supposed to start piping around 19-21 days, is been 22 should i be worried about them yet? and is it ok to open the incubator to flip them at this time?
    i really need help here, Please

    Posted 6 years ago #
  9. campbell ridge

    Hi Matt I see you have been answered on another post. 28 days is the incubation time for all ducks except muscovy, which take up to 35 days. 21 days is for chickens

    Sarah L
    Posted 6 years ago #

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