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