Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Look Who Hatched Yesterday

Aren't they cute! :-)

I have nine more eggs left in the incubator. Doing nothing so far, so keep your fingers crossed for me... ;-)

Without further ado, meet: (names contingent on gender of course, lol)
I know it's wishful thinking to hope for two hens and a drake with only three birds. I can dream, right ;-P
Morton was the first to pip(a pip is when the bird makes the first hole in the shell, often the stick the tip of their beak out for a breath of fresh air, I say they've pipped when the shell first starts to crack, not sure how accurate that is), but not the first to hatch. The silly duckling used up all his energy by making big holes in his shell instead of a nice neat "zipper". When the wing tip sticking out of one hole was dry and fluffy and he hadn't made any progress in about nine hours I gave him a wee bit of assistance. This is usually a big no-no. If a duckling (or chick) is not strong enough to hatch on it's own it's usually not a strong and healthy bird. In this case I knew I didn't have the humidity in the bator high enough. When there's not enough humidity the bird can dry out too much and stick to the shell, making it impossible to turn inside the egg and finish pecking their way out. Also, Morton was peeping loudly and kicking hard, so I knew he was healthy. Because he made such big holes the membrane around him was quite dry and hard.
I took him out and held him in a warm, wet washcloth. With tweezers I chipped away a little bit of shell, leaving the membrane intact. I wet the membrane with a q-tip dipped in warm water. Put the little guy back in the incubator and left him alone for a few hours. Then when I noticed him kicking hard again I opened up the bator and wet the membrane again. As soon as the water soaked into it the next hard kick from Morton detached the top of the shell. Then he had a wing-tip and a foot sticking out. His head was farther back in the shell, where earlier I had seen his beak sticking out. I think he tried to turn to get at another part of the shell and got stuck. So there was this big duck foot flailing wildly at the air. I stuck my finger up to it so he'd have something to push off of. After several big shoves with rests between Morton was finally free :) I talked to him for just a moment before putting him back in the bator to get warm and dry. Hopefully it was enough for him to imprint on me.
Meadow was a funny little surprise yesterday morning. She was our third pip. We were keeping an eye on Morton. And watching Missy make a perfect, economical little zipper in a perfect circle around the egg. In the twenty minutes we took our eyes off the eggs Meadow went from one tiny hole to completely hatched! LOL I wish I could have seen her bust out of that egg!!!
Then Missy hatched out of her precisely zipped egg. Fun how their different personalities show even from hatching.
Muscovy's are little tail-waggers I've been told and these ducklings started tail-wagging as soon as they were dry, lol, lil' cuties.

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