Ducks are curious and endearing pets. They have unique personalities and are a less-demanding companion than a dog or cat. Call Ducks are bantam ducks with smooth feathering and delicate features. The difficulty with hatching waterfowl eggs, such as Call Ducks, involves getting the humidity correct. It is important to mist the egg daily with water from a clean sprayer if the eggs are kept in an incubator rather than under the brooding duck. A successful hatch presents the owner with delightful little ducklings.
Hatch the eggs under a brooding Call Duck hen. Provide her a nest in a safe portion of the barn. Use a chicken to hatch the eggs if a Call Duck hen is not available. Place the duck eggs under the brooding hen. Mist the eggs with room-temperature water once a day. Only hatch clean and properly shaped eggs.
Prepare the incubator according to the manufacturer's instructions. Run the incubator for a few days before setting the Call Duck eggs. See that the temperature stays a constant 37.2 to 37.7 degrees C. Set the humidity at or over 50 per cent. Place the eggs in the incubator.
Turn the eggs 2 to 4 times daily and mist lightly with water once a day. Mark the top of each egg with a pencil to facilitate turning.
Check the eggs after 10 days for development. Candle the eggs with an egg candler or by holding a flashlight to the large end of the egg. Shine the light through the egg in a dark room. Look for a network of veins and a dark centre. Prepare the brooding area as the hatch date nears with a heat lamp, food tray and chick waterer.
Raise the humidity to 70 or 85 per cent at day 25. Hatching begins at day 27. Remove the hatched and dried chicks from the incubator and place them in the heated brooding area.
Cleanliness is key in all aspects of the hatching process. Always use a disinfected incubator.
Ducklings are delicate. Do not allow children unsupervised access to the ducklings, and do not let them handle the birds too often.