In my last post I talked about our lack of success with duckling hatching. I am so happy to say that finally we had a successful batch of incubated eggs! Out of six eggs we had four successful hatchlings. The two that did not hatch consisted of one that did not have any development and one that was fully developed and had began the process of breaking out, but died before completion. It still baffles me why this happens, but I will dwell on the success instead.
The kids went to bed with one hatchling breaking through its egg. We actually awakened Savannah (well, not really... the child does not go right to sleep when we put her to bed... she has always been a night owl) after the duckling broke through. We noticed that several of the other eggs had cracks in them, also. Knowing that the process can take a while we decided to go to bed and leave the eggs alone. All night long I heard flopping and chirping. Yes, ducklings chirp like baby chicks and they are quite noisy. Also, they flop around quite a bit and in a styrofoam incubator that is pretty noisy. We awoke to a total of three baby ducklings hatched out! Wow! That's what all that noise was!
After all the kids got out of bed and we had shown them the ducklings we proceeded on to breakfast. Of course, none of us could resist checking the eggs to see if another was hatching. Suddenly, I noticed that one was making quick progress and had gone from one little crack spot to a line of cracked spots about an 3/4 of an inch long. I called the kids in and we watched the duckling work a circle of cracks all around the egg. After that it began to press outward and tiny feathers emerged from the cracks.... precious tiny feathers. We were all amazed. After several minutes the little thing had pushed of the top of the egg and had most of its upper body out of the shell. It laid down its heavy little head and went to sleep while still halfway in the shell. That sweet little thing slept for about half an hour. After its nap it emerged completely from the shell. We all marvelled at the wonder of it all. Those little ducklings are now a little over a week old and have tripled in size.