Incubating and the Hatch

When it became obvious that I was too poorly to return to work this term, David suggested we try to hatch some of our ducks' eggs. I had always wanted to hand raise ducklings but had never had the time to give to them. We had bought a second hand incubator years ago "just in case" so David got it out of the garage and we were off.

We spent a week nurturing three eggs (because we wrongly thought that they were they last of the season) but they turned out to be infertile. We only discovered that when we candled the next batch and discovered that many of them had veins developing. Over the next three weeks, we watched as the embryos developed until they became too big to show up very well with the candling as they were filling the shells. (click here for information about candling and hatching!)

Five reached the final stages but it took until day 28, when they should have been out, for the cheeping to start!


We listened

       taps and cheeps!




(Our niece, Beth, happened to be staying at the time and loved it!)

We helped

              ...them to break the shells!



(We did this under the guidance of a Call Duck expert as a last resort. Usually it is best to leave them to it.)

We waited...

We waited some more...





The waiting was almost too much for some of  us!!!
Finally, we watched as Sheldon hatched. (The picture to the left was taken though the glass top of the incubator during  her first few seconds outside the shell!) She spent the next twelve hours in the incubator drying out. Much to our amusement, she was trying to preen from the very beginning even when she couldn't stand up properly. In fact, she was flinging herself around the incubator trying to find her feet but banging her head in the process. We popped her into a little cardboard box (still inside the incubator where they have to stay for twelve hours after hatching to dry out) to stop her hurting herself but within a few hours she had jumped out of that!

In the end, we just had to leave her to it. We were very relieved to find she had survived the night when we checked on her in the morning.

Sadly, the other ducklings were not  fully developed and couldn't survive the hatch.


Click here to read Sheldon's Diary



Back to Sheldon's Story

Click here to read about my hatch, see me swim or meet my seven brothers and sisters!


Click here to see my owner's artwork, or view her garden  and pet pictures!