That's a lot easier to do when you are only trying to hatch 4 eggs. However we had to work at it this morning. My youngest went out to check on the last egg before I took her to school. We were expecting to find our fourth and last little duck all hatched out and playing with her siblings but my daughter came in and told me the egg was still in one piece and the same little tiny crack was exactly the same as the day before. She also said the baby inside was still alive. She could feel her moving and pecking but the movements were weaker than yesterday. I took her to school and came back prepared to do something about the last duck if necessary. And it was. The egg was exactly like it had been for the last day and a half. One tiny barely perceptible little crack and it was obvious the creature inside was fading. Now I know you
are suppose to leave them alone when they are piping. Mother nature knows best but I had already screwed around with mother nature by putting those eggs under that Silkie in the first place and I'm not one to stand around doing nothing. When ducks make a nest they place the eggs in contact with the ground so that the humidity is just right for hatching. These little guys were in a nice dry nest in a coop with bedding chips and under a bird that wouldn't go into the water on her own if her life depended on it. I had been putting drops of water on the eggs at least twice a day for the last week or so and I had a small piece of towel under the chips to absorb the moisture and release it back to the eggs when mom warmed it up enough. So in spite of all my efforts I was pretty sure that little one was still in that egg because I had screwed up. I took the egg up to the house gave it a light rinse with warm water and with the tip of a clean steak knife I started tapping on that egg right where the crack was. I just kept working across the egg like I thought a baby would do making sure none of the chips fell into the egg. As luck would have it her little beak was right where I thought it would be. I just kept chipping until I had almost half that egg off. It looked as if the inner membrane was dry and maybe stuck to the duckling so a few more drops of warm water helped with that.
|This is how I found her|
pretty sure she wasn't going to make it. When she dried off a bit and the box and paper towels had warmed up to 87 degrees we put her under the light along with a rolled bolster of paper towels to keep off drafts. Little by little that little fighter came back.
Now it doesn't take long for a baby bird to imprint on people and this one had wasted no time doing so. I went to the coop and got one of the other babies and brought it up to keep this one company and to let it know it was a duck. They stayed in the house all night so that I could make sure the weaker one was going to make it. Buy morning she was eating and drinking and so far so good. After the girls went to school I went down to check on mom and the other two babies. Mom needed a poo break so I put her on the floor while I changed the wet papers in the brooder box. What a difference in babies. The two that spent the night with mom thought I was a monster. Guess the kids will be doing some bird socializing. It's so much easier to fix a bird in trouble if they are use to human handlers.
All four babies are now with mom so I will be keeping an eye on things to make sure the littlest doesn't get bossed around. I will end with photos of mom and babies. To see larger images just click on the photos.