The duck eggs hatched and we have Muscovy ducklings!
While the eggs were in the incubator we had two power outages lasting over two hours each. I was afraid the eggs were doomed, but they did survive. Three eggs didn't develop at all, but the remaining six made it through those power outages and right up to hatch.
On Day 34 I could hear peeping from the eggs and one was rocking back and forth on the hatching tray. I went outside to do the morning chores and mow the yard, and when I came back inside there was Duckling #1.
Right on time, on Day 35, Ducklings #2 and #3 finally emerged from their eggs. I admit I helped a little bit. I've learned through this experience that perhaps the reason Mama Duck only hatched 2 of her 53 eggs last year is because the eggshells are beyond hard. The poor babies just can't get out on their own. I'm going to change the brand of feed I give the adult ducks, and hope it will make a difference.
I held the remaining eggs to my ear and could hear (or feel) a slight rhythmic little "thump...thump..." as the duckling pecked at the shell from the inside. Ducklings #4 and #5 eventually hatched, but one died shortly thereafter. I couldn't hear any sound from the last egg. I gave that one back to the Muscovy duck hen, and she quickly rolled it underneath her, to join the other five eggs she's sitting on. The incubator was pretty nasty by this time and I was more than ready to clean it.
The four ducklings are in the brooder-bin with the chicks that hatched a few days earlier. I tried to keep ducks and chicks separated at first, but the ducklings jumped over the cardboard divider and eventually I just gave up and removed it. I'll move the chicks to their own bin in a few days so they can stay drier; ducklings are messy little guys.
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