Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Busy, Busy Busy!

Note: Ducklings will eat box elder bugs.  Apparently they do not know better..

We are over run with box elder bugs but not so much with ducks.  Out of the 5 expected, we have 2 living that hatched.  And wow, one of them had a journey!
Duckling #2 pipped wrong.  Ok; Pipping: Using their beak to make a hole in their shell to let in air.  Once that is done, then they rotate in their shell and start 'zipping' or opening the top of the shell counter-clockwise.   This little one pipped upside down and way too early.  So on Friday I started to help out but it was entirely too early to even try.  The membranes of eggs are lined with blood vessels.  As they mature out of their egg, these vessels dry up and the blood enters the ducklings through their yolk attached to their umbilical.

Now normally, the pipping is done close to hatching.  This ducky spent 3 days with his foot sticking out over his head in this opening of his shell.  It was tragically slow to watch. Finally, yesterday afternoon he showed that at least 90% of the blood vessels had reabsorbed and his umbilical/yolk area was decreasing. So I popped out his head and left the rest for this morning.  Now he's in the hatching recovery area working on gaining strength.  

A good tip for those hatching eggs: Cotton Swabs (Q-Tips) soaked in water held to their beaks for the first day is a good way to hydrate them.  They soak up enough water to get a move on.  

The 1st duck was fine, but pipped wrong also.  I don't know what it was with the first 5 and I do hope this does not go for the next oh....30 to be hatched.  The first duck has had time with me since there is no flock for him/her to hang with.  He's a speedy critter, and zips around the dining and front room scooping up dead box elder bugs and eating them. 
I have spent some time knitting, but not much. Right before the big hatch was settin' to start, I got a hideous cold.  For the last week, I've horked up a lung, wheezed around the yard, blown my nose about a trillion times and slept a lot.  Slowly, I am getting better, but it does not make this easy. 

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