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Yarmouth County resident astonished when two ducklings hatch from same egg and survive


YARMOUTH COUNTY, N.S. – The egg inside the incubator yielded no clues as to what was inside.

It was the same size as the others, but this egg was cloudy, while the others were transparent so you could see what was growing inside.

It wasn’t until the egg started to hatch that Amber (Surette) Brannen saw it – a second beak.

There wasn’t just one Pekin duckling inside the egg. There were two ducklings. That’s right: twins!

Yarmouth County resident Amber (Surette) Brannen was quite surprised to have two Pekin duckings hatch from the same egg. There wasn't much space inside.

Once the Argyle Sound Road, Yarmouth County, resident realized there were two ducklings inside the one egg, she didn’t want the hatching process to drag out too long, worried the air pocket in the egg would run out. So she provided some assistance during the hatching, carefully pulling back parts of the egg’s shell.

She was surprised, excited and astonished.

“I was screaming to my husband, get over here now! Get the camera! Get the camera! No one was going to believe me. How is this possible? It was just amazing that they could fit in there.”

Yarmouth County resident Amber (Surette) Brannen was quite surprised to have two Pekin duckings hatch from the same egg.

Brannen had built the two incubators she had used to hatch the ducklings. In the past few months she's hatched about 50 eggs and still considers herself a novice. She’s since found out, through doing a lot of research online, that twin Pekin ducks hatching from the same egg and surviving  – surviving being the key word – is quite rare.

She came across an article about a set of twin ducklings that hatched from the same egg in Britain in 2009. That article said they were the first recorded twin ducklings in Britain to hatch and survive.

“Actually I had a message from the owner of the twins in Britain, that was really cool,” says Brannen, who joined some online Pekin duck groups on Facebook to share the news about the twins. The woman, Tanya Olver, said the twins she hatched in 2009 were named Romulus and Remus. “Romulus sadly died earlier this year of old age,” she shared. “Remus is still around along with his Rouen cross girlfriend who is slightly older.”

Brannen also came across an article about a set of twins born this past spring in North Fork in the United States.

She was astonished to have experienced this in her household, as were others.

Yarmouth County resident Amber (Surette) Brannen was quite surprised to have two Pekin duckings hatch from the same egg. Still joined by an umbilical cord.

“I posted with a few photos and people were like, ‘Oh my God, I didn’t think it was possible,’ ‘Oh my God, they’re alive.’ I’ve had people say they never live, don’t expect them to live. I had one person say she had twins and had one live and that that was extremely lucky and rare,” says Brannen, an animal lover who works at Pet Valu. She spoke with the Tri-County Vanguard about a week after the ducklings had hatched. Both were doing well.

The two ducklings were joined by a short umbilical cord for the first couple of days, until it died up enough for it to be cut.

“Once I cut them free they seemed pretty happy,” Brannen says, “but I think they looked a little confused at first – whoa, you’re over there!”

One of the ducklings had hatched with a bit of a curve in its beak, which made telling them apart easy. But as they’ve gotten bigger, the bend in the beak has become less pronounced. At first it also looked as if one of the ducklings was smaller than the other, but not now.

“They were pretty squished in there. But after they’re fluffed up you can barely notice that much of a difference,” says Brannen.

When Brannen posted photos on her Facebook page she asked people for name suggestions. People offered up many, including: Sherlock and Holmes. Chip and Dale. Laverne and Shirley. Lucky and Ducky. Huey and Dewey. Abbott and Costello.

“A lot of people suggest Left and Right, Top and Bottom, Peanut Butter and Jam,” Brannen says.

Yarmouth County resident Amber (Surette) Brannen was quite surprised to have two Pekin duckings hatch from the same egg. Those photo was taken when the ducklings were still joined by an umbilical cord.

Brannen settled on the suggested names of Nova and Scotia for the twins, which will be kept as family pets.

“People are asking if they have their own Facebook page. That caught me off guard. Should they have their own Facebook page?” she says, laughing, while already making sure their well-being is looked after.

“We plan to go away in a couple of weekends and I already have my mother lined up to babysit the ducks,” she says.

Pekin ducks are a very common type of domestic duck. The adults are pure white. The ducklings: cute, yellow and fluffy.

The ducklings are going to be part of the family. In fact, they already are.

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