Mallard Eggs

mama_duckMay 18, 2006

Earlier this month I became the care-taker of 10 mallard eggs (their nest destroyed by construction). My husband, kids and I have been getting lots of info on the net and have made a homemade incubator & kept the eggs warm and turned. They are very close to hatching - all the ducklings have "pipped" internally and we can hear them tapping on the shells. I would love any advice on getting these little guys through their first few days. I can get a rehabber to take them "if they survive" but they don't want them too young because they aren't set up for the really young ones. I can also take them to a children's farm nearby once they are older as well.

I'll be waiting to hear!!

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pauls931(8)

I've raised mallards for a while now and keeping the chicks alive is pretty easy. Get non-medicated feed from your feed store and grind it up and put it in a little dish in a box with the chicks after they hatch. Give them a shallow water bowl. Put some straw or grass in the box too so they have traction to walk. Then if you have a heating pad just put it under the box (you don't always need to use heat lamps). Then sit back and watch them grow. Also after the chicks hatch, they will be very weak and may not do anything but lay around for a day before they start moving around. If the chicks are healthy, they should hatch on their own so you should not help but every time I did help a bit, it didn't hurt. Good luck, I may have oversimplified it, but it's not that hard really, Just a box with a heating pad under it with some food and water...

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 5:17AM
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mama_duck

Thank you! I keep telling myself that everything will be fine but I'm worried I'll harm them with all my good intentions!
Right now, they have all been tapping on the shell for a full day - one is even peeping inside the egg. Are they ok? Should I be helping them by poking a small hole for air or should I just leave them to it?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 8:14AM
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pauls931(8)

Just let them be. I think they can pip for about 5 days. At some point they will make a hole big enough for their head to come out. After a while, they will literally split the egg in half. If you help them too early you will notice a part of the yolk still connected to their belly so it's best to let them be. However even when I helped on get out too early, they will still absorb the yolk and become normal healthy ducks. However it's best to let them do the work on their own.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 9:53AM
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mama_duck

So my eggs are hatching - 3 so far. Looks like 7 of the 10 eggs will be hatching. People are telling me I should be feeding them a bread & milk mash for the first 5 days or so. (?)
They are still in their first 12-24 hours and haven't shown much of an interest in drinking or eating although they seem pretty active (and noisy!) - this morning I dipped their bills in the water before I left for work. I got some non-medicated chick starter from the feed store - its pretty finely ground...do I need to wet it? The eggs are all in various stages of hatching so i'm wondering if I should just wait for them all to arrive before I start worrying about making sure they are fed.....
I know, lots of silly questions....

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 9:01AM
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benslilfox

I have a drake and a female mallard and don't know much about eggs. I found an egg in the middle of my yard this afternoon and "Daisy" won't go anywhere around it. "Donald",my drake he kind of leaned up against it early this afternoon and that was it. So I watched them all afternoon to see if they were sitting on it and neither of them would. I went looking in the rest of my yard "hunting" for eggs and I found her nest with 8 other eggs in it. It is now 8pm and she's not on her nest I picked up the other egg I found earlier and put it with the rest of them. That egg was ice cold. The rest of them were not as cold. What do I do? Do I wait and see if she does go to them? Do I bring them in and put them in a box with a heating pad underneath? Do I wait and see if she's going to lay more eggs? HELP!!! How long do I wait till she sits on them? How do I handle this? Is it to late? Please help me.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 10:08PM
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billie_ladybug(5b)

Let her be. If she rolls an egg out of the nest it means that egg is no good for hatching. Make it with some bacon or fry it for the dogs/cats. As far as the rest of them go, she will start setting them all at one time, so they will all hatch about the same day. Do not worry, she knows what she is doing. It's natural for her.

Billie

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 11:46PM
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benslilfox

Does it make a difference that I put that egg in the nest? It was on the far side of the house and when I first seen it, it looked like she just had it. They both were laying buy it and donald (my drake) layed up against it but not on it. Should I take it back out? Would that make her stay away from the nest? It's been real cold at night and she wouldn't go near the nest. Last night it was down in the early 20's.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 12:38PM
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billie_ladybug(5b)

If the eggs are not frozen, they are fine. Shell will crack if they freeze, it will be obvious. If they are not frozen, it means that she is sitting on them just long enough to keep them safe, but not start incubation until she has a full clutch (12-15 depending on the bird). If she sends an egg out of the next, leave it out. Just because this is new to you, does not mean she does not know what is going on. Ducks have been laying eggs and raising young since way before we started bothering them. You might check your water source when they hatch though. Manmade ponds have steep sides that ducklings cannot get out of where as natural ponds are very gradual and little ones can walk right out. Also, the ducklings will get oils from mom's feathers that will keep them dry while swimming. If you raise them in a incubator, she will not take them back, in which case do not let them go swimming until they have their first feathers. I took my pet ducky swimming when I was little, very sad :-(...

Billie

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 1:06PM
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benslilfox

I have a little pond and for right now it is empty due to winter. What do you suggest to put in the pond for them to get out with? My father in-law put like a strip of very flat carpet half way in the water to give them the grip they need. I don't know if I like that idea since there are dyes and chemicals in the carpet. I do have water for them to drink and when it's warm out i have a mister that they love. How many eggs do they usually lay a day. I heard they usually lay one a day. Her mother usually produced 12 or 13 eggs. O should I take that egg back out of her nest?

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 2:12PM
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mallard_question

we have a female and 2 male mallard ducks living at our pond. 2 days ago we found an empty egg shell discarded at the pond's edge. Today we found a whole egg just laying there. So then I went back out to check on things and she was eating the egg. Is this normal? She appears young and this might be her first year.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 12:50PM
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benslilfox

from what I understand from what I've learned is that some mallards do that and that is normal. just like when they have ducklings and sometimes they kill them. If I'm wrong someone one this site will let you know. I have a mallard and this is her first time as well. She goes nuts sometimes. If she's destroying the eggs like that, that means they're aren't any good, from what I'm told. I wouldn't worry to much about it. She might not know what to do with them just yet. If you feel like you need to, take the ones you do find and put them next to your pond in a hidden location where she can find it/them. Does she have a nest? If you don't know you need to go look around and she if she has one. If you can't find one, she may not know that she needs to nest them. By putting them in a hidden location it might teach her that she needs to hide them. Make sure she watches where you put them. I'm new to this myself and have read a lot of stuff from sites and people off this site as well. Most of the time the information is contradicted by one another and sounds outragous. Trust me. I know of a guy that incubated eggs in a slow cooker and everyone of them hatched or on a skillet so; one person will tell you that's not possible and the other will prove them wrong. Like my mallard is just barely a year old and from everything I've read and been told, mallards usually lay between 10-15 eggs. Mine on the other hand has layed 45 eggs so far. No kidding.... I got rid of 21 so far either non fertile or still borns. I have 3 left in the homemade incubator I made and Daisy has 21 in her nest as we speak. So..... Yes, as far as I'm told or have read, her eating or destroying the egg(s) is normal.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 5:14PM
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benslilfox

metzerfarms.com/hatch.htm
duckhealth.com-hatcduck.html
gallus.tamu.edu/Extension%20publications/b6092.pdf
www.clemson.edu/psapublishing/Pages/ADVS/EC530.pdf
www.msstate.edu/dept/poultry/hatch.htm
Here are just a few of the websites I've been checkin' out and they are extremely helpful. Another thing I've done is been looking up people around my town or surrounding areas that have mallards and know what the weather and humidity is like in my area. (which is almost as dry the Sahara Desert) That helped me out a lot to find someone in my area to give advice and able to give you ideas about how to go around certain obstacles that we in Wyoming face versus lets say Florida. If ya know what I mean. Reading everyone's questions and I ideas on this site is great help and there's a lot of wisdom to come from others misbehalfs and acheivements.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 9:51PM
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tetrouge

I have posted this b 4: My female mallard, not quite a year old has laid a beautiful nest of 9 eggs so far. She has not been near the nest for 4 days now. I have set up home-made incubator, stabilized temp, still working on humidity. My question is should I bring the eggs in and try to hatch them.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 3:43PM
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