Flicker’s Lair Blog

Duckling Drama

by Heidi on May 28th, 2009
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Yesterday morning when we were opening the barn we heard peeping ……

Muscovy duck eggs

Throughout the day I kept checking, and by the evening he still hadn’t ‘cracked’ it. Everything we have read says that you shouldn’t help, that they need to break their way out on their own to show that they are strong enough to survive. But with the really poor hatch rate we have had we just couldn’t bear the idea.

So we went in and gingerly, delicately picked off a few bits of shell to enlarge the hole he had already made, we didn’t make it that much bigger. While we were there we used the torch to try and candle the rest of the eggs and what we found was pretty depressing – only one looked like it had anything in it. As we don’t feel confident in our candling abilities we decided to leave all the eggs there just in case.

When we opened the barn this morning we found the little guy out away from the nest lying still, we thought we had lost him. He was still alive but barely, not willing to give up we took him through to the pen with Little Dude, our week old gosling, to get warm under the lamp. Little Dude cuddled up to help get him warm.

Newborn Muscovy duckling with week old gosling

It seemed to help and he perked up some, but Little Dude started being a bullying big ‘brother’ (we don’t know that he is actually a he) so we thought he might do better back with mum and the sibling that we had spotted when we collected him.

Muscovy duck & duckling on nest

We don’t think that the rest of the eggs are good, but as our understanding is that ‘mum’ will wait 2-3 days and then abandon the nest, we have left them for her to make the decision.

We really aren’t sure why we are having such a bad hatch rate. There were 3 goose eggs and 13 duck eggs in the nest, and only 1 goose egg and 2 duck eggs have hatched. There were also over a dozen eggs under the geese and none have hatched – although most have gone missing so we can’t be sure how many might have.

Hopefully our odds will improve, we have three bantam chickens on nests with two dozen Chantecler chicken eggs between them, and three more Muscovy’s on nests – all with at least a dozen eggs in.

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