Well, here they are in all their wobbly webfooted glory! I present The Ducklings!
There are two that are so newly hatched that they are still a little damp looking. They are still very weak and wobbly in the little video clip there. One duckling hatched yesterday, so this one is the photogenic duckling. The struggle to get out of their shells was a mighty one but they all got out in the end.(newly hatched damp duckling on the left and older sibling is on the right)
With hens sitting on duck eggs, one is supposed to damped the shells with a light spray of water near the end. This is to simulate the damp underfeathers a mother duck will have when returning to the nest after her daily trip to feed, drink and poo. Hens won't have damp feathers you see as they are a bit further off the ground than a duck. In any case, you supposed to damped the shells so that the membranes aren't so brutal for the little hatchlings. I forgot and only remembered this evening. What I did instead was to help the little guys along by cracking the shells here and there and partially removing the shells for them. I think it is important that the ducklings still have a bit of a struggle to get out of these shells. I saw a rare crane being hatched out on TV once. The crane egg started to hatch and the little guy had pipped but then struggled to get out the rest of the way. The people caring for this rare crane egg caved in and did all the work for the hatchling by opening the egg up for it. The result was that the newly hatched crane had deformed legs. My ducklings had been trying to get out of the shells for two days and worried that they'd die before they finished the job, I helped a bit. I didn't want my ducklings to have deformed legs so I let them struggle a bit as well.After the weekend, these ducklings and their foster mother are going to my friend Helen's place to live. Once the ducklings no longer need their mother, I'll get the hen back. I believe that the breed of these ducklings are Khaki Campbell. I've let them be in a safe, dry area with some nice food and clean water, ensuring that the babies are tucked safely under the mother hen. I'll check on them regularly, but I think they'll be fine now.
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