A duckling hatches

We’re hatching a clutch of duck eggs for a friend at the allotments. When we last checked, 8 out of the original 11 were still viable. The first surprise came yesterday afternoon, when the three-day hatching phase commenced. A couple of eggs had already started to pip, 48 hours earlier than we would have expected. You can see the first little chips in the shells as the ducklings start to hatch.

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Last time we attempted to hatch ducks, we had a fairly low success rate, so we’re hoping for better this time. Our R-com 20 incubator has a digital program for different types of eggs, but the duck settings have a humidity of 60% during the final hatching phase, whereas most advice seems to be anything up to 75%. As a compromise I’ve set it to 65%, so we shall see what happens.

With a full two days to go before the “due date”, the first duckling has emerged. Here is the hatch in pictures. Apologies for the reflection of the flash, but I didn’t want to keep lifting the lid and disturbing the temperature and humidity.

The front row left hand side is rocking to and fro.  And cheeping.

The front row left hand side is rocking to and fro. And cheeping.

Quite quickly the duckling works her way round the shell.

Quite quickly the duckling works her way round the shell.

And as we watch, the top of the shell detaches completely.

And as we watch, the top of the shell detaches completely.

A wing emerges ...

A wing emerges …

... and a bit more of her body ...

… and a bit more of her body …

... and suddenly she emerges completely.

… and suddenly she emerges completely.

Newly hatched, she's still attached to the remains of the yolk sac in the shell.

Newly hatched, she’s still attached to the remains of the yolk sac in the shell.

After a minute's rest, she's exploring, and loving the warm air stream from the incubator fans.

After a minute’s rest, she’s exploring, and loving the warm air stream from the incubator fans.

It doesn't take long to break the link to the shell.

It doesn’t take long to break the link to the shell.

And to find a cozy place to dry out and recover her strength.

And to find a cozy place to dry out and recover her strength.

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