They say not to help them hatch

They say not to help them hatch

An amazing weekend

What a weekend! The last post showed that number 18 had hatched, that was Friday.  We kept an eye on them through the day and the little one quickly found it’s feet.  We’ve named this one Oreo.

About two hours old and already sunbathing!

When the girls got back from school they were overjoyed to the news of the hatch.  Oreo seemed to want attention from us and would run away from Snowy and into our hands!  I wondered if it’s imprinted on us as Snowy was just a big fluffy heater when it hatched and we may have been the first moving object that it saw.

A very friendly duckling

Meanwhile, Snowy was patiently sat on the other two eggs, number 15 and 16 although there was no sign of pipping.

The following morning I checked on them and number 15 had started to break out, this was great.

Number 15 making an escape

Snowy had a problem though, Oreo needed teaching on how to eat and drink, but the eggs needed to be sat on.  She was back and forth.

Every check of the eggs shown that 15 wasn’t progressing past a certain point, and the beak didn’t look to be in a position to break any more shell, but I left them to their arrangement and we went out for a couple of hours.

They say not to help them hatch from the egg

When we got back later in the afternoon, Snowy had somehow rolled the eggs into the run and 15 was sat in the warm sun but was still chirping and moving.  I moved them back into the coop and Snowy followed and sat on them.  A few checks later and I decided to give it a little hand.  There was no progress in cracking the shell and the beak was still in the wrong position to break any more.  The main concern was that the membrane was all visibly dried out.  The duckling looked strong and was pushing on the egg.

I gently peeled away some of the dried membrane and broken bits of shell and then placed the egg back onto the coop floor.  Snowy was trying to peck it so we held her off, and Oreo was running around and getting involved too.

I’ve read that you shouldn’t help them hatch, the strong ones will get out.  But this little guy had been through quite a bit already, and leaving it to dry out in the warm sun hadn’t helped.  He needed a little hand.

On the next push the little duckling managed to get one foot out of the shell which seems to be how they get grip to progress to their final push.  That final push was amazing to see, it was the first time we’d seen one hatch and all of us were there to watch.  The little guy was tired.

We left Snowy to take over at this point, she was perfectly capable although I did lift the little guy and put it underneath her as it seemed to be looking for comfort.

Tired but OK

There’s a few pics missing from the story now, but we do have videos which I will upload later.  Unfortunately egg 16 was still showing no signs of movement so we removed it.

Next to hatch was number 8 in the incubator at about half ten on Saturday night.  Sam and myself managed to watch this one hatch too which was amazing again especially with it not needing any help.  As soon as it’d hatched and moved away from the shell I scooped it up and we took it to Snowy, it was dark at this point and we just slid it under her and she accepted it.

While the incubator was open I checked the three remaining eggs, number 11 had pipped and was moving happily in the egg but the other two hadn’t and were showing no signs of movement.  We went to bed knowing that 11 would probably be out by the morning.

The girls ran down before us and then came back to say it’d hatched and it was another magpie coloured one.  I went and scooped that one up, which looked like it had not long emerged, and put that under Snowy with the others, again she happily accepted it.

Fast forward a few hours and this is the scene! Spot Oreo wandering off into the run!
Four little ducklings
Out of 12 eggs, 7 were fertilised and started to develop and just 4 pipped and hatched

So it has been an amazing weekend for all of us and I think Snowy is happy.  This last picture shows her teaching them all how to eat and drink, of which she is doing a great job.

Can chickens raise ducks? Of course!

One thing I realised this morning is how much easier it is this time around.  We don’t have the brooder cage set up in the house, we won’t have to deal with any smells or noise and Snowy is delighted to be taking care of it all!  Perfect!

Comments 5 comments
Nature is amazing

Nature is amazing

Nature is amazing

I just went to see how Snowy is doing and I found this:

The little one made it through this morning’s worrying shenanigans!

Snowy has finally hatched an egg, I bet she is over the moon!  I hope the others hatch soon.

Looks like it might be the chocolate-magpie colouring that I hoped for!

I have some different sized leg rings to put on these ducklings so we can keep track.  This one turned out to be number 18.

The vacant shell of number 18 that Snowy succsesfully incubated

Absolutely amazing!

Comments 3 comments
It seems the eggs are OK

It seems the eggs are OK

It seems the eggs are OK

I’ve checked on Snowy and her eggs and it seems they are OK. Phew!

The first one I checked had little movement, so I’m not sure about that one.  The second one was definitely OK, as I was picking it up and moving to the darkness of the shed the movement could be felt, then the chirping and finally the visible movement with the torch.

Then I looked for the egg that had already pipped, I left it there but got a glimpse, it’s OK!  The duckling has broken through the shell further and is moving about!

Good work Snowy!

Fingers crossed this one get’s out. It doesn’t seem to be “zipping” the shell like normal
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Oh no

Oh no

Oh no

Upon waking up this morning I told the kids about finding one of Snowy’s eggs to be pipping out of the shell the night before.  They wanted to run down and see so we all started to get up.

Then Sam looked out of the window and saw Snowy mooching around in the main run.  I thought I’d misheard her but sure enough Snowy was out there.  By the time I got there Sam had put her back into her little run (the Penthouse!).  It turns out I must have forgotten to close the gate between the two and she’s jumped down at some point.  It’s unlike me to leave a gate open.

We opened the Eglu coop with anticipation on what we’d find.  As I slowly opened the door the eggs came into view, two unhatched together in the corner and the one that started last night, sat all alone, where it was last night.  I lifted it up and it was cold with no movement, Snowy then got back on the other two eggs and started to peck at the pipped one I had in my hand, fearing the worst I slid it back underneath her and will have to see what happens.

I’m not sure how long she’d left the eggs for or why she got off them.  She seemed keen to get back to them so I don’t think she is abandoning like previous times.  I wonder whether Star or Zazu jumped up and spooked her out, although they were still in the coop when Sam got down there.  I’m also unsure why the pipped egg was not with the other eggs, I hope it hasn’t given up and Snowy has abandoned that egg.

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Wasn’t expecting that!

Wasn’t expecting that!

I wasn’t expecting that today!

I’ve been away for a couple of days, arriving back this afternoon. It worked out great as today is the last day to check on the hatching eggs, weighing and candling each one. It’s only two days until the 28th day when they’re due to hatch. I’m at home now for the weekend which is perfect.

I started with the incubator, as it now only has two days left it’d automatically stopped turning the eggs. The egg rotating tray had to come out so I removed the eggs and put them at the side.

Preparing the incubator for hatching

The tray is replaced with a corrugated cardboard disc that gives the little hatchlings grip.

Ready for hatching

The last thing was to top up the second water reservoir, that increases the surface area of water and in turn increases the humidity.

The incubator is now in “lockdown” and won’t be opened until hatching is complete unless there’s any issues to deal with.

All the eggs look good and I logged the weights. They all have movement and you can hear a tapping sound from a couple of them!

That’s a beak!

Next was to go and check Snowy’s eggs. I’d popped my head in to her when I got home earlier and she looked ok but I didn’t touch her eggs.

With the overspill from the torch providing enough light to see, I reached underneath to find the first egg. To my utter amazement I saw that the egg had pipped and the ducklings beak was visible and audible!


It was clear I didn’t need to do anything here. Nature is taking its course. Snowy looked at the egg and then moved it back underneath her warm body.

The rest of the evening was spent washing and preparing the food and water. I’ve put the two small nipple drinkers in there, one higher than the other, plus a bowl of duck starter feed.

Leaving Snowy to it I discreetly kept an ear out and could hear that familiar chirping sound with the odd cracking of egg shell.

While I’m now lay in bed writing this post on my phone, I can’t help but wonder on the progress down in Snowy’s coop.

Comments 2 comments