Duckling #1 hatched!

external pip duck egg

Egg #1 is making the external pip larger

Just after my last post, the duckling in Egg #1 suddenly got very active and started chipping away at the pip he had made in the egg, till it was a hole about 1 square cm, all this while peeping away!

He took little rests in between, and after two hours of watching and not seeing very much progress in the last hour, we decided to go to bed since we didn’t know how much longer it would take.

duck hatching

Duckling #1 is struggling to get his bottom free of the egg shell. His bill can be seen pointing left as he lies on the hatch tray.

I had a shower and decided to check on him one last time before bed, and to my surprise, he was already out of the shell! At least his top half was, as his bottom half was still stuck in the shell, but he struggled with great energy and finally freed himself of it, in the process running many circles inside the small incubator, cheeping loudly and kicking the other eggs all over the place. It all looked very violent and alarming, but this is normal behaviour. In the wild, the unborn ducklings are already receiving cues from the world outside through sounds and movements. Duckling #1 is sending a very clear message to his siblings: “Y’all better hurry up and hatch too!”

H. was worried about leaving him in the incubator for 24 hours, which is generally recommended so the ducklings can rest, get dry and recover. He was convinced the little thing was looking for its mom, and would be frightened to be alone in the machine. But perhaps the duckling thinks the machine is his mom, and it is better to leave him inside it for a while? I expected him to lay down and sleep after getting free from his shell, but he had great energy and went on kicking around and making a huge racket. So I rushed to put the brooder box together, and bring it up to our bedroom so we could keep an eye on the new baby.

However when I finally went to get our duck to put into the brooder, he had already gone to sleep! He was sitting next to the other eggs and had nodded off! It’s past midnight, so this ends an eventful day and hopefully all the rest hatch tomorrow.

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