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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: duckling

I always place two or three eggs at a time in the incubator. Not only is there a better survival rate for birds that are flock animals, to have a buddy to keep warm together and hang out with, but they hear each others peeps when in the hatching process, and are enthusiastically coaxed out of their shell(s).

Note: Our flock is small, and we use most of the eggs for consumption, so I don’t load up all 42 egg slots in the incubator at the same time.

 

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Newly-Hatched Duckling Today
Sunday, June 10, 2018

I finally invested in a second unit, which allows a much higher success rate for the hatching process. The second incubator is still air (no fan) and does not have an automatic egg turner. This is due to the fact that for the final 3 days of incubation, you don’t turn and you raise the humidity. It was half the price of a full service Styrofoam incubator, since the turner and fan elements are somewhat pricey additions. I procrastinated anyway since everything adds up quickly. I try to keep costs vs. chick sales somewhat close.

The duck egg was moved from the long-term incubator to the brooder incubator earlier today, since it is day 25. Ducks normally take 28 days to create. Most people fill their incubator all at once, but since we have a small flock, I add two or three eggs at a time. This one is a lone egg, since I was testing to see if our new drake was fertile. Apparently he is, so no roast duck for dinner!

When I picked up the egg for transfer, I held it up to my ear. Peeping already? Usually you can hear a rustling, slightly crunchy noise when they start to activate for hatching. I’m not sure why this one is so early. It may be breed specific or maybe my incubator is running slightly higher that the thermometer is reading. Either way, the first duckling in a long time has just hatched on Farmette 1769.

All of our ducklings are/will be 1/2 Khaki Campbell, 1/2 Welsh Harlequin. Both breeds are prolific egg layers, sometimes besting chickens that are bred for the same thing. Our female Khaki Campbell duck lays an egg each and every day.

FirstDuckling_061018

 

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Mini Duckling 1

Mini Duckling 1 – Pic A

Our first Bantam ducklings have hatched. There are actually only three so far. But we’ll have more than a bucket full before Spring laying is over.

Duckling 1 - Pic B

Duckling 1 – Pic B

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Duckling 1 – Pic C

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Duckling 1 – Pic D

Farmette 1769’s Bantam-style Call ducks have produced offspring via incubator. Ducklings are very cute. Miniature ducklings are even cuter.

Duckling 1 (Left), Duckling 2 (Close-up) & Duckling 3

Duckling 1 (Left), Duckling 2 (Close-up) & Duckling 3

Ducklings grow quickly. But, these Call duck babies will be no more than a pound and a half when full grown. Bred for attracting hunted ducks, they are also great birds for show and as pets.

Duckling 1 (Left)

Duckling 1 (Left)


 

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RE: Tuesday’s Post (May 25, 2010)

I was about to gather eggs from the duck pen when along crawled a Black Racer snake. He was around last year. It was the same snake that liked to curl up on top of the duck nest last year. I thought he liked the warm spot, or the eggs, but it seems now that he must have been patiently waiting for ducklings.

A snake has to eat. But, one duckling is enough of a sacrifice to nature this year, so off to the conservatory he went. Luckily, there is open protected land right down the road. He got out of his bag in the truck, which was great fun. Luckily, they are mild mannered. I ended up just holding him with one hand and driving with the other.

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Snakes can be good on the Farmette. They eat mice. We get more than your average household due to the never-ending supply of spilled grain. Having snakes prey on rodents is very helpful.

Of course, I might think differently if I encountered a poisonous snake. This would not be a good thing. There are several types of these dangerous predatory animals in this region.

Also, yesterday morning I made a grizzly discovery. One of the ducklings was dead. It took a while to figure out what made it look like it got pulled half way through a pipe. My best guess is that a snake that was not big enough to eat this size duckling decided to give it a try. About half way through, it realized that the end of the body was not the same size as the head and neck and spit it back out.

A few weeks ago, we had found an Eastern Kingsnake when we were getting the garden started. She was about the right size to create this kind of damage. I must remember not to put ducklings out in the chain link pen until they get a little bigger. I was thinking about the recent coyote incidents in the area, but had forgotten all about snakes.

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This technique works great on most eggs. Candling is the way to see inside an egg without disturbing the growing embryo.

Candling - Duck Egg

The easiest egg of ours to view so far is that of a duck. The shells are a bit transparent and the white color helps too.

The egg in the Pic is about to hatch. This duckling has already made an initial crack in the egg. It looks a lot like the damage from a pebble hitting the windshield of a car.

Ducks take their time breaking out of the shell. It is better to let them get all the way out themselves. Once in a while it takes too long and the egg starts to dry out. We have helped them out on occasion, but they do not always survive this way. There is something about the natural process that gets them moving and breathing correctly. Leaving them in the incubator longer to stay extra warm can produce better results.

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