If you are just joining me for this series, please take a look at my previous 4 Duck Life Cycle posts for even more information!
These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. We went from learning all about ducks, to actually seeing the process happen first-hand!
It began with hearing some faint peeping coming from two of the eggs Thursday night, we went to turn them over before leaving school and we could hear and actually feel them moving in the egg! It was an amazing experience.
Then when we got to school Friday morning we noticed some cracks in a few of the eggs. We left the incubator alone (I only opened it to add more water to bring up the humidity level) because everywhere I had read said to just leave them do their thing at this stage. We also set up the brooder at this point to make sure we were ready when they finally hatched! We were really excited to see what was happening, but unfortunately we couldn’t stay at school all weekend, so we had to wait until Monday.
It was well worth the wait, because when I got to school on Monday and opened the incubator, I saw 5 sets of eyes staring up at me. I have never felt so relieved- we had managed to actually have ducks hatch! Since they had been in the incubator for a while (I think they hatched on Saturday), they were dry so they were ready to be moved to the brooder. Here are a few things that I learned with this process, that I did not see online:
- They will be scared. Especially with all the noises that come with a kindergarten classroom, they will look scared, and they will huddle together. By the end of the first day they were quite comfortable in our classroom, but were still startled by sudden noise. It took a few days for them to be comfortable in our classroom and even then they did not like to be separated.
- They will look like they are not doing well. I was really worried about them that first morning. Their legs were at weird angles, they weren’t eating or drinking, they were just in a huddle not moving. I was worried- until they started to move around about half way through the day and began eating and drinking. They did this on their own- I did not have to show them where the water or food was, they figured it out. By day 2, they were running around the brooder and were very spry.
- Poop. Expect a lot of it. It will be green and runny at first, but it will eventually harden and turn brown. It will be everywhere. It will also start to smell pretty bad after a few days no matter how many times you clean out the brooder.
On day 4 the ducklings went for their first swims and it was amazing! I can’t believe how well they could swim right away and they were diving in and out of the water. It was so cute!
Our students sat in a circle around the water bin and the ducklings were walking around and letting the kids pet them. The students loved it, the ducks were having fun and it was a memorable moment in our classroom!
We had a discovery center set out with the eggs that had been cracked open so students could see what it looked like once the ducklings were out of the eggs (you can find this sheet as a free download here). We had 5 out of 12 eggs hatch, which we had prepared our students for beforehand.
If you are planning to get duck eggs for your classroom, I most definitely recommend getting this Duck Life Cycle Pack. The observation journal took us through each step of the process and it matches up perfectly with the life cycle that we witnessed in the classroom. It is perfect to do every few days and really helped us focus on each step of the process.
Students got a chance to name each of the ducks. They picked and voted on their favourite names and these are the ones we ended up with.
The ducklings have been brought back to the zoo and now our classroom feels empty without their presence. I’m really excited to do the whole process over again, and I will have a lot more confidence in my abilities next time!
If you have any questions about the process, please leave a comment below and I will try to answer any questions you have! For now, here are some pictures of cute ducks: