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.

She’s Crafty, and She’s a Momma Duck

Arg, a whole week gone by already?  And no new post from me?  Sigh.  My computer bummed out on me last Saturday and it’s on crutches now.  Anyone want to donate a netbook?  Lol.  Well I am STILL not finished with my other mystery crafts, which I promise to reveal soon…maybe as soon as tomorrow if everything goes right! 

In farm news, I ‘pulled’ my 2 fertile duck eggs from the chicken coop since ‘Henny’ the Silkie decided not to incubate them any longer.  Duck eggs take 28 days to hatch, and chickens take 21 days, and I just think Henny got sick of waiting.  So, I took them in on a cold morning, pretty sure the embryos were dead, but I stuck them in a makeshift incubator anyway.  It took several hours to bring them back to a good temperature (about 101 degrees).  Sure enough, the little ducks began twisting and turning in their eggs! I have to turn the eggs 3-4 times a day and mist them, and keep water trays in the little incubator full to keep the humidity up.  As strange as it is, the eggshell is very porous and the embryo can lose too much water if the egg’s surroundings are too dry.  It’s really surreal to look inside the egg (via a flashlight) and actually see blood vessels and a tiny little embryonic duck swimming around!  Even more unbelievable is that I am actually keeping these little guys alive with the crudest incubator you could imagine.  Well, it isn’t as bad as a cardboard box and a light, but we’re almost there.  I’ll post a pic soon.  Anyway, one eggs is slated to hatch Christmas Day and the other will be the 27th, which is that Sunday. 

More crafts and duck news soon!