Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nearly a disaster.

We had duck eggs due to hatch on the 3rd of August, nothing happened, we waited and added a few extra days on to the expected date to allow for the fact that mum had left the nest several times during the thirty five days, once over night. Day forty eight arrived and I was concerned that the duck would just continue sitting and either die or lose too much condition and muscle tone to be able to survive the coming months, so it was decided that the eggs would have to be removed and examined to see what had gone wrong, and the duck removed into the paddock. With leather gloves , ducks are fiercely protective of their eggs, Simon removed one egg taking it towards the compost heap whilst breaking open the shell, fortunately he had done this carefully as inside was a live duckling clearly due to hatch. Duckling was quickly placed in the incubator with a hot water bottle while the temperature came up. From the word go Sinbad was very vocal and clearly wanted to live, by the evening he had had his first drink of water and was relating to us. The next morning he had his first meal of mashed egg, every time he heard our voices he would call to us.
During the course of that day the remaining eggs started to hatch. The following day we returned Sinbad to it's mum and siblings. We are not too sure how many she has, but at least ten, at the last time of looking there were still two eggs unhatched but we will give then another day, just in case.
As to why these eggs took forty eight days to hatch will remain a mystery to us, but from now on we will always assume that the mother does know if her eggs are going to hatch or not.
During the course of this saga I had a question answered, do poultry mothers help their chicks out of the shell? Well yes, they do, well this duck did, one of the last eggs had pipped and the flap kept closing down onto the emerging duckling, mum held back the flap so the duckling could escape, it was a wonderful thing to see.

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