Duck eggs taking forever to hatch?

woodhousefarmsOctober 1, 2010

I have a duck egg in the incubator that started moving around 4 days ago. 2 days ago, it started making little peeping noises. Last night there was a teeeeny (about the size of a small raisin) portion of the shell that was starting to be cracked and pushed out, so this morning I was expecting some real progress, maybe even a baby! But this morning the egg looks almost exactly the same. The tiny pushed out area is a tiny bit bigger but almost unnoticeably so. The baby is chirping and the egg is wiggling and you can hear it tapping (it's cute too, when you talk to it, it moves more).... This is my first time hatching duck eggs and I know I'm not supposed to ever try to help it out, but I'm wondering how long this might take before I should start getting worried? This is the 3rd day I've been hearing the tapping.... Is this usual?

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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))


possumdes by possumde...

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Keep an eye on them, if the shells are too dry from an incubator or the mum sitting too tight, sometimes the shell can be too hard for them to get out of. I do think though that at this point you should break them out carefully (or at least one to see how things are going) and start at the top where they are already chipping.
My elderly father is here at the moment and he used to live on farm. He said that he never bothered to time how long it took chooks or ducks to hatch, but thinks several hours at least. We used to breed canaries and from memory they took anywhere form a couple of hours to about 4-5 hours.
What happens is that when the chick starts to peck they are not actually ready to come out becauase the egg sac that they feed off is still outside the body. The chicks pick at the shell then rest for up to 15 minutes then have another go at it. During this time the egg sac is gradually absorbed back into the body. If you break them out too early the sac is not absorbed and they will die.
If the chicks sound like they are still picking strongly,.. rub the shell with warm water to moisten and soften the shell (dont let it get into the shell). Chicks should be picking a circle around the top of the egg like a can opener if not and are trying to pick a big a hole in one spot then they are in trouble.

Try not to handle the eggs too much, just listen if you can without moving them but if the picking is sounding really erratic or weak... break them out.
Personally I would break out just one and see if the egg sac is gone / the duckling looks normal. If chick looks physically ok- yep do the rest. Better to risk one as being too early than loose the lot.
As a PS the day before they are due to hatch take the eggs and dip for a couple of seconds (only) in warm water (about body temp) as this will help soften the shells and make hatching much easier for the little guys. I used to have a big dish of water for chooks or a bowl for the canaries and just put them into it carefully push them under once then let them float for a few seconds. You will also know if any have died in the shell on the way as the Live eggs will wriggle a little because the chicks can sense the change in temp.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 10:34AM
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Haven't incubated ducks, just chicken and geese, but pipping for three days sounds excessive. I agree with the above post that it sounds like your humidity levels may not have been high enough.

I have on occasion helped a chick from its shell, but try not to, because the yolk sac may be external yet, and if it is and you rupture it by rough handling, or it sticking to the egg, then you put the chick at risk and they sometimes don't survive.

I have carefully peeled back shell at the hole where the chick is pipping to check it better, and see if it's moving or adhered to the shell. In cases where it's adhered, there is little chance it'll pip on its own and you may have to as gently as you can free it enough to check for a yolk sac. If the sac has move internal, you can finish releasing it from the shell if necessary.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 7:49PM
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