Incubating and hatching ducks can be a fun experience. If you have a female duck willing to sit on her eggs, it's best to let your duck hatch them herself as nature has given her the instincts and abilities to incubate and turn the eggs properly. However, if you don't have a female duck or if your female duck won't sit on her eggs, you will have to hatch them yourself with an incubator. Incubators come in all sizes. Depending on the type of incubator, you may have to turn the eggs daily and monitor the temperature and humidity at regular intervals.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Fertilised duck eggs
Place the thermometer and hygrometer in the incubator.
Allow the incubator to stabilise for one to two days before setting the eggs. The incubator should be a steady temperature of 37.5 degrees C with 55-percent humidity.
Open the ventilation to ensure the growing embryos receive oxygen.
Place the eggs into the incubator.
Turn the eggs by hand three or five times a day.
Stop turning eggs three days before the scheduled hatch. The number of incubation days depends on the breed of duck.
Reduce the temperature to 37.2 degrees C and increase humidity to 65 per cent.
When the first egg pips (a crack or hole appears from the duckling trying to hatch), increase the humidity to 80 per cent or more. Increase ventilation to ensure an ample amount of oxygen reaches the hatchlings.
Put the ducklings in a brooder after they have dried off.
Tips and warnings
- Know what kind of ducks you are hatching. Ducks can take anywhere from 28 to 35 days to hatch.
- Turning the eggs an odd number of times daily ensures the duckling embryos don't stick to the side of the eggs while forming.
- You may wish to candle (shine a bright light) in the egg to see the embryo's development.
- Do not intervene unless you can see the duckling and it is in distress, weakening or taking more than 12 hours to hatch. If you need to intervene, try to pull a small piece of eggshell away at a time. If it is bloody, leave the duckling alone --- it has not absorbed all the yolk and could bleed out if you proceed further.
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