stupid egg question

benslilfoxApril 22, 2008

I have a mallard and a drake. My hen has now had 19 eggs and how do I tell which are breakfast and which ones are ducklings? I mean yeah i know to candle them or use a strong light to see if there is a dark spot or for movement in the egg but, when does an egg have the embryo in there. should it apear to have a dark spot as soon as she lays it or a week after or when she starts to incubate them or what? The reason for my concern is that on Sunday we filled our manmade pond with water again and that's the first time since last fall. When we got done cleaning and filling it my mallard and drake went in the water and my drake instantly started pecking at her and jumping on her. well I was told that they mate in the water and that's how he fertilizes her. So now what I'm worried about is that if the 19 eggs that are already in her nest are just breakfast how would I be able to tell the fertilized eggs and the infertilized ones apart and what do I do with the ones that are the older ones? And she hasn't even incubated the eggs shes layed now. Does any of this make sense? Would be happy to hear anyones thoughts on this.

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littledog(z7 OK)

The short answers:
I wouldn't plan on eating any of them for breakfast.

The eggs will not start to develop until she sarts setting them.

You will want to wait about two weeks to candle them after she has started setting to determine which are fertile and which are dog food.

Yes, it makes perfect sense. :^)

What you need is "Raising the Home Duck Flock" by Dave & Millie Holderread. The man is insanely informative about every aspect of keeping ducks. It's a classic that, imho, should be on the shelf of every poultry owner.

Here is a link that might be useful: The BEST duck book ever.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 12:56PM
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there are no stupid egg questions, first off.I don't see why you couldn't eat them for breakfast , duck eggs are great. The eggs have a "bloom" on them for when they are layed and will be good for quite a while if its not too hot. If the eggs haven't been incubated they won't have embyros and it shouldn't be a problem, it would be shame to waste that many eggs.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 4:00PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I agree with littledog. As for eating any of the eggs, remember that eggshells are porous, and can absorb things that then transfer right into the inside of the egg. While eggs are coated with bloom, which helps to keep bacteria out, eggs that have been sitting in a nest definitely have a fair chance of becoming cracked (even if you cannot see the cracks with the naked eye), which is a gateway for bacteria. If you have any doubts about the eggs, don't eat them, it isn't worth getting sick from, sometimes very badly sick.

If you spot some eggs that you can tell are very obviously fresh and new, I see no harm in collecting those--when you use them, wash them first to help spot any cracks, which will absorb water and show up easier. When you go to use them, you can crack them into a small dish first to make sure they aren't bad.

When my chickens set on eggs, they usually become a bit 'polished' looking--shiny--so they are a bit easier to spot when compared to a freshly laid egg, which has more of a matte, textured finish to the shell.

When I have eggs for a broody, I always take a pencil and mark an 'X' on them, so I can tell them from any fresh eggs that the other hens may lay in the nest.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 7:00PM
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benslilfox - 19 eggs is a lot for any hen to set, dock, goose or otherwise. I would take some of the eggs for something else otherwise you might not get anything to hatch, fertile or not. As for marking them, I was told to never use a pencil (lead). A crayon works great or water based marker (no sharpies). I won't eat eggs that have been incubated, but have missed the occasional egg at gathering and picked it up a few days later with no problem. Short of candling, there really is no way to tell if the eggs are developing until you open one and discover your mistake. Later in the incubation process, eggs do get a "polished" look to them and the shells are thinner. That is because the shell is the source of calcium for the developing chick.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 9:03PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Pencils are OK, they do not actually contain any lead anymore, they are made of graphite. :) People have traditionally used pencils instead of a ball point pen because it's easier to poke a hole in the egg with a ball point--but there is no danger from the ink.

I'd steer away from felt pens, especially the stinky kind like Sharpies--I'd suspect them of containing all kinds of chemicals to smell that bad. *L*

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 12:22PM
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Ok. I was using a metaphor about the breakfast eggs ;p. That would be like having a dog that had still born pups and then eating them. Yuck! That's my pets babies and to me that's gross. So for the hatching of the eggs they don't start to develop till she starts incubation right? Is there a time frame that she needs to start incubating them before they go bad? The first 9 I found was on the 8th. That's 2 weeks ago. Does that make a difference?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 7:55PM
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