The Birthday Ducklings Reincarnated.
I have to interrupt my regularly scheduled homeschooling post to share pictures!
I don’t think I ever updated about The Birthday Ducklings. They were all murdered by their father, Benny Duck. He broke their necks one afternoon and I found them all three floating in their little pool. I’d seen him chasing them the day before and thought about separating them, but I never dreamed he would actually kill them. Apparently male ducks sometimes murder their offspring, who knew?
It was incredibly sad.
BUT…they are back! The three ducklings, reincarnated. ;)
June, the mama duck, sat on eggs this past month. For some reason she abandoned them a few days before they hatched. (She’s an awful mother, she should have protected the other ducklings and didn’t even miss them when they died.) I stuck the two eggs I found under my Silkie hen. Silkies will brood anything. This particular hen had been sitting on a box of river stones she found in the garage for a few weeks hoping to hatch them.
A couple of days later we could hear peeping and pecking from inside the eggs.
Rosie was thrilled and spent a lot of time listening to them.
After 48 hours of noise there were cracks! The first egg finally pipped!
We waited and waited, but nothing else happened. The duckling got the tip of its beak out of the shell but could move no further to hatch out.
With a sinking feeling I realized a terrible error in my Silkie-hatching-ducks plan. Ducks get out and swim, then get back onto their eggs wet. This makes the eggs warm and humid.
Chickens…well chickens don’t do that. They are much more dry. I SHOULD HAVE MISTED THE EGGS!
The baby duck couldn’t hatch out because the membrane inside of the egg had dried out and essentially glued the duckling to its own egg shell. Crisis!
There’s no such thing as a bird c-section. Eggs have veins running along the inside that attach to the membrane. If you rip open the veins then the bird will bleed to death and die.
What to do, what to do??
I had to try and do something, otherwise the duckling would just die inside of the shell. So I started at the little hole the duckling had made with its bill and I gently chipped away while moistening the dried out membrane I exposed using a warm, wet sponge.
I managed to mostly avoid the veins I saw. I was holding my breath.
I love seeing how the duckling was all packaged tightly inside.
See all of those veins in the shell?
I wasn’t sure if it would be ok since I peeled it out of the egg. It fluffed up and it’s fine now! Rosie named it Junior, after the mama duck June.
Then the second egg pipped, and the beak was sticking up out of the shell with the duckling unable to move around and hatch out, just like the first duckling.
I held my breath and attempted to rescue it without killing it. This one was more bloody and took a long time to perk up. We thought it was going to die for sure.
It laid there limply for hours. The girls named it Sleepy because they didn’t believe me when I said it could be too weak to live. Obviously it was only sleepy!
Please don’t die, please don’t die….
(Here are some pictures from my real camera.)
Sleepy, next to its empty shell.
Sleepy next to the shell, and Junior happily napping while fluffing up.
Rosie and Kirsten watching the ducklings.
While waiting for Sleepy to wake up (or die) we had a tea party in the weird red glow from the heat lamp.
Then we played soccer, which ending up being dangerous after the ducklings almost got knocked out.
Finally, fluffing achieved!
I don’t know what this face was about.
And Sleepy look like it might live!
Rosie before her first dance class of the season, the evening of Hatch Day.
He knows not to eat them…
I swear, he won’t touch the ducklings! But they smell good…
She wasn’t squeezing, she knows how to be gentle. Most of the time.
Yesterday I found a third egg peeping outside! June left it unattended all night long, and it got cool out. I was surprised it was still alive.
I tried to let it hatch, but it was stuck too. So I helped it gently like the others, but there was a lot of blood. A lot.
I managed to get it out, but something was wrong. I think where it got too cold it didn’t finish developing properly. It didn’t absorb the yolk all the way.
Basically its ducky belly button is like a big hernia. It hasn’t been able to open its eyes. It twitches and scoots around the box on its side, but its almost been more than 12 hours and it hasn’t opened its eyes or gained any muscle control.
I thought for sure it would die over night, but it didn’t. It’s still flopping around in there. I’m not sure what to do. I hope it dies soon to get it over with.
The other ducklings are snuggling it, and occasionally it stretches out and yawns. Poor little guy.
We took the two healthy ducklings outside to play yesterday evening. They are big enough now to waddle along. Yesterday they could barely walk in the grass. They loved it today!