Another Duckling Update :(


Yesterday morning, the final egg in the incubator started pecking at the air cell in the egg. I could hear it tap-tap-tapping like crazy. I was SO excited, I rushed to the computer and e-mailed the family-to-be of this duckling so that they would be ready to take it when it was born.

When I got home from work,  I looked at the egg and it wasn’t moving, as it had been in the morning. I watched it for quite some time with no movement… So, even though you’re really supposed to keep the incubator closed for the last few days of the process, I took the egg out to see if I could hear it tapping if I held it up to my ear. Nothing.

I thought it might be asleep, so I put it back… and checked on it later, still nothing. I candled it and there was no movement, and the embryo did not appear to fill the whole egg as it should in the final days of development. Still unsure, I put the egg back in the incubator and left it alone.

This evening it became very clear to me that the baby inside the egg had died, as there was no movement, no tapping, no nothing, and the egg was developing a bluish color. So I decided to open the egg up and see what happened. I was so stumped by this, I started thinking I may have somehow imagined the tapping. So I was careful to open the air cell first, and it was clear that YES, the baby did peck through the membrane to break into the air cell. There was a large hole in the membrane with the beak showing through.

As I gently peeled away the rest of the shell I saw exactly what I had expected. The baby had obviously begun the pipping process prematurely. The nostrils were not looking well developed, the eyes were totally shut, the beak was teeny tiny, and the yolk sac was 100% full. I have a feeling that the lungs were not fully developed, so once the air sac was actually broken, the baby wasn’t developed enough to breathe the air.  I took a picture of it because, even though it is VERY sad, it at least has some scientific/educational merit. Instead of posting it to my home page, I linked the file… I don’t really want people to open up my blog and automatically see a dead duckling. Plus, then everyone reading has the choice of whether or not to look.  It was a solid white baby 😦

So there we have it, a success rate of one duckling. It was worth it to get Banana Sandwich, but I will never try to hatch my ducks’ eggs again. After such a low success rate, I honestly think it is a genetic problem. Plus the whole thing is heartbreaking… losing so many babies. And then the whole thought of giving them away when they do hatch… horrible.

The somewhat ironic thing is that when Banana Sandwich pipped, I told my sister that if it wasn’t white I would keep it. Well, Banana was the only baby to make it, and she is brown and white. Must’ve been meant to be!

Here is the picture of the unsuccessful hatchling... Don’t worry, it’s not graphic and gross and whatever.

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~ by Rachel on October 14, 2010.

3 Responses to “Another Duckling Update :(”

  1. sorry about the duckling. incubation is difficult. but they all go to baby bird heaven… are you interested in selling your incubator? if so, i may be interested. Monica

    • Hmm… I’m not sure about that yet. I’ll let you know! It’s one of those things where I’m reluctant to sell it because if I ever wanted one down the road I’d have it…. What about loaning?

  2. i should not have brought that up so soon. you should keep it. it is a handy thing to have around. :)monica

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