Call ducks are a bantam species of waterfowl commonly kept as pets. Named for their distinctively loud noises, Call ducks are popular due to their small size and amicable dispositions. Call ducks are easy to care for and can be kept in the same type of enclosures as their larger counterparts, although they do need smaller gauge fencing to keep them from escaping. Hatching Call duck eggs is not a difficult process and a flock of peeping, healthy ducklings is worth the effort.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Fertilised call duck eggs
- Brooding hens or ducks
- Duck brooder
- Feed and water pans
- Chick starter
Purchase fertilised duck eggs from a local breeder or hatchery. Call ducks are fairly common and affordable, although you may have to place an order in late winter for an early spring pickup. Purchase at least 15 to 20 eggs, as some will not hatch and you may lose some ducks soon after hatching due to deformities or illnesses.
Place the eggs under brooding hens or ducks if you have birds that are already nesting. Brooding birds will keep your new Call duck eggs warm and turn then frequently until the eggs hatch in approximately 24 days.
Set the eggs in an incubator if you do not have any brooding hens. Turn the temperature up to 37.5 degrees Celsius and the humidity to 55% for optimal hatching conditions. If your incubator rotates the eggs for you, then you will not have to move them once placed in the trays. If your incubator does not rotate the eggs, open the door and gently turn each egg on its side 180 degrees every twelve hours to keep the growing embryo from sticking to the inside of the shell. Duck eggs may take days longer to hatch in an incubator, so you may have to wait anywhere between 24-27 days for your ducklings to hatch.
Prepare your duck brooder the week before your eggs are due to hatch. Brooding boxes are small enough to keep your ducklings close to the heat lamps, typically no larger than 36 inches long by 36 inches wide. Most brooding boxes are made of lightweight, easy to clean materials such as large plastic storage totes. Plug your heat lamp in and place duckling feed and water pans in the brooder, filling them with fresh water and chick starter in preparation for your ducklings. If the weather is warm, you can place your brooders outside so your ducklings get fresh air. If the weather is cold or wet, however, keep your brooders inside to prevent your ducklings from getting chilled.
Watch your ducklings closely as they hatch, allowing them to break free of the eggs on their own. Each duckling is born with a small protrusion on the upper beak known as an egg tooth that helps them break through the shells without assistance. Once the ducklings have hatched, move them to the brooders and discard the empty eggshells.
Tips and warnings
- Leave your ducklings alone in the first few minutes after hatching. It takes them a few minutes to dry off and become oriented with their new environment.
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