Betsy, her husband, and her children went to a local park in Visalia, California, to play pickleball and noticed someone had smashed up the duck nests that were there
“My kids were very upset about it … [they] found a lone egg with a small crack that wasn’t leaking and asked me to save it.”
“I really didn’t think I had a chance of saving it because I’ve never hatched an egg”
Betsy is an independent contractor doing sign language interpreting and most of the time, she gets odd jobs in summer but this time, she was out of work.
“I couldn’t afford an incubator, so I called our local wildlife place [but] they told me they didn’t take eggs”
Betsy asked the organization if they would take in the animal if she hatched it and they agreed
“So I put the egg in my bra to keep it warm and started researching online how to hatch a duck”
She found out the egg needed warmth and humidity, so she decided to just keep the egg where it was. “My boobs sweat in heat (gross I know),” she explained. All that she had to do then was rotate the egg 4-5 times a day.
“I carried it in my bra for 35 days and slept with it there as well. I’m a plus size girl so it just kinda fit right between my breast”
“When I had to shower, I had my husband hold it. I figured if mom ducks leave to get food for a bit then wouldn’t hurt to leave to shower”
Betsy then started researching what to do when a duckling is hatching and how to care for it after. She learned she needed to stop rotating the egg and that it needed loads of humidity so the woman began thinking about how to create a suitable environment. Eventually, Betsy got a lamp, a plastic container, gallon baggies, a bowl of water, and a lot of tape, and made a hatching box herself.
“At 35 days, I started hearing faint peeps which the internet said was called pipping and its beak was pushing out of the lining”
Betsy put the egg in the box and waited. After a day, something seemed wrong so she called the vet. Turns out, the duckling was being shrink-wrapped by the membrane in the egg. The vet said Betsy would have to slowly peel the shell away, avoiding veins and making sure the little guy’s nose was where he could breathe. So she did.
“He eventually got out half-way but was still connected to the yolk on the bottom of the egg,” Betsy said. “I was told it was because he was early but found out on reddit it was from not being warm enough or the temperature not being stable.”
“I got a wet paper towel and wrapped it around the shell with the yolk and put Neosporin on it so it wouldn’t get infected. Maybe not the best idea but I was scared.”
When the duckling absorbed it, he was weak didn’t really move or stand for a few days but Betsy didn’t give up on him and helped him up to drink water.
“One day, we woke up and he was walking. Later on, I would let him swim in the tub and mud puddles”
“He would nap with me during the day and I made a little carrier for him and took him places with me”
“He would follow me and when he heard my voice, he would lose it and scream. He seemed to know when I left without him because my husband complained that he would sit and cry”
“I contacted one of my rescue connections and found a little rescue farm that is nearby”
“He is doing well and has a new human girl who loves him”
People were incredibly moved by Betsy’s story