How to incubate duck eggs

EGGciting stuff when you open that little package knowing that you are about to hatch your own duck eggs… BUT… Beware if you dare to take this step of buying fertilised eggs, you will be abDUCKed by the wonder of watching the ducklings develop and grow. When those fluffy little critters hatch it’s impossible not to fall in love. That being said let’s get QUACKING and hatch those eggs!

 

You will need:

  • Incubator or Broody hen/ goose/ turkey… your clucky cousin doesn’t count.

  • Water bottle to spritz the eggs

  • Small torch or light on your phone to candle (check the development) the​ eggs as you go.

  • Patience… it will take 28/29 days

 

Step 1:

  1. If you have a broody– pop them under her, she will do the rest.

  2. Set your incubator to 37-38 Degrees Celsius.

  3. Set humidity to 65% (for the first 23 days, this will increase later)

  4. Run your incubator for at least a day to make sure it remains stable and is fault free.

 

Step 2:  

  1. Put your eggs in your incubator on their side. Not sitting up or down like they would in the store.

  2. If your incubator has an automatic rotator or rocker you can set and forget.

  3. If your incubator requires manual turning mark your eggs with a top and a bottom eg (X&O), you will need to rotate your eggs a ¼ turn 4 times a day for the next 23 days.

  4. You will need to maintain the humidity at 65% for the next 23 days, when the humidity drops add a little water to the incubator or spritz the eggs. Don’t freak out if the humidity shoots up quickly, give it 30mins and should settle.

 

Step 3:

Candling. The EGGciting part.

  1. Day 7-10 check your eggs by turning all lights off and using a torch shine into the egg. You will want to see veins. If you don’t see veins you can put them back and check again in a few days time. Discard any infertile eggs. DO NOT EAT. Gross!

  2. Keep rotating eggs.

 

Use the chart below to check the progress of your eggs, just don’t let them cool.

 

Step 4:

  1. Day 23: turn off the rotator/ rocker and stop rotating the eggs. This allows the ducklings to work out which way is up.

  2. Increase the humidity to 75-85% for the last 5 days, I have found this helps the ducklings emerge from the eggs.

 

Step 5:

Day 28-29, Hatching:

  1. Now like all babies some hatch quickly and others take their time. It can take 24+hours for a duckling to hatch. Patience grasshopper.

  2. Don’t be tempted to try and help them out. If the membrane is appearing dry, spritz it with water but do not open the incubator unless absolutely needed. The sudden change in temperature can cause the egg membrane to shrink and the duckling could become stuck. You will also lose your humidity. We have found ducklings that have been helped to hatch do not survive or thrive. 

  3. Ducklings can live up to 72hrs in the incubator as they are still using the nutrients from the yoke sac. You want to allow the duckling to be dried off before removing them from the incubator.

  4. If after day 30-31 they haven’t hatched, put the egg to your ear, can you hear a scratching or movement? If so it may need more time. If not candle the egg and check. Like all pregnancies things can and do go wrong. This isn’t your fault, it just happens.

Step 6:

You’re a QUACK addict!

You have your own duckling to spam your social media accounts.

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