Thursday, 2 August 2012

Duckling update- we have an injury

The ducklings are around 2 weeks old (some hatched a few days before other- and you can’t tell which is which- so about 2 weeks). But when feeding and changing their water yesterday I noticed one shuffling a little awkwardly and then being trampled in the stampede that occurs when my hand invades their safe little box.

So further inspection, it doesn’t appear to be using the leg at all, sort of springing around on one side. But when I’ve picked it up it has some movement and grip in the foot. And moving the leg didn’t seem to bother it.
So it is currently being isolated from the potential stampedes and is imposing on the younger 4 rhodie- red x’s. Who were very tentative of their guest. Initially avoiding the duckling and huddled in a corner (away from the light), as he happily ate thier food and drunk their water. Only it then proceeded to call through the petition to the others and become quite stressed. Eventually deciding to try his luck with it’s new hosts; continually following them around the brooder box, calling, to little or no response.

So when closing up the shed last night (I took one final look) and moved the two chicks from the shadowed (and cooler) side of the box back to the warmth of the light.  This morning all 5 remained in the warmth.

So guess we’ll be keeping an eye on our injured little duckling. It appears determined and is coping (so far). I just wish I knew what it had done and how, suppose it’s just one of those things.

In other duck progress 2 of our females are attentively sat on little nests. Chirping and even nipping if we get too close, unless you are offering them grain. One is inside the hen house (under the nesting boxes) and becomes quite stressed when we try and collect the chicken eggs. Particularly as they appear to lay in her nest!

The other incubated eggs (in the friend’s borrowed incubator) are due this weekend (guess this really will be the final test). As Matt remains sceptical as to whether we will see any hatchlings, since the incubators many variants may have compromised them, and as the settings were too high it may have cooked the eggs in the early stages- so still a case of wait and see. We noticed the problem when we placed our digital thermometer on the egg trays (their raised in the box) and it read 39 degrees (point something), where the incubators own thermometer (at the base of the incubator) still only read 36. We have no idea what problems this may cause, since eggs are not supposed to be in an environment over 38.
Also in my assessment of the incubator I felt there was little head room for chicks in the hatching tray. We temporarily put the Rhode Island x chicks in there to clean out ours, and ducklings are bigger.