First time hatching Duck eggs!!

christie71May 30, 2007


This is my first time hatching duck eggs. I have used a samll dome like incubator. The temp hasn't been as steady as I would have liked during the process but I do have one egg that is tapping and cheerping at 22 days of incubation. The other egg seems to maybe be making a faint sound and nothing from the third(there are three total).

OK my question-- how long should it be before my cheerping tapping chick will appear? Should there be a time a time limit at this point? How long do I give the other two eggs?

For a brooder I have a 4" deep plastic container for them. I plan on putting a box(three sides) over the one corner witha heat lamp and using shallow dish with marbles for water and food. I am planning also using wood shavings for the bedding. Anything I havn't thought of? Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!! Thank you:)


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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

You really need to get a good book on the subject and do your homework. Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks is about the best, and will tell you more than you ever wanted to know, but probably should.

The temperature doesn't need to stay as "steady as you would like", it needs to stay steady, period. Duck eggs take 28 days to hatch. I've never heard them moving and vocalizing at 22 days. If that's happening, they were incubated for a time before you got them, and are actually further along than 22 days.

Four inches is much too low for a brooder to keep in any ducklings, and if you're using a cardboard box with a heat lamp, it's a real fire hazard.

You don't need marbles in the water dish for ducklings (or for anything else for that matter). Wood shavings for bedding is one thing that you've got right.

Do yourself and the birds a favor, and get some good information, to make the experience a positive one, and prevent a big dissapointment.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 11:16AM
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OK well I called the farm that I purchased the eggs from and talked to the husband. He said I do in fact have chicken eggs. His wife when I purchased them was adimate it took 21 days so that makes more sense.
I have done a lot of research on the internet and in the provided info and am doing the best I can for them. I do not take this lightly. My incubator does not hold a steady temp it fluctuates between 99-101. There is nothing I can do about this now... I will not use it again in the future but again havn't used it before so had no idea the temp would be a problem...
I do have a chick tapping and chirping, I think two now. Again my question is how long before they pipe(?) and how long do I wait... Also how much longer do I give the silent egg?
Thank you for your help once again!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 2:51PM
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hey christie71...I incubated 5 duck eggs in my own homemade incubator which was a cooler. I misted the inside once a day,and had a lamp in there to keep the temp at around 100...dropped when I would candle them for about 20 mins but no big deal...I hatched all 5 out! Healthy and happy ducks.
for chicks it's actually a little easier because they don't need the extra humidity like duck eggs'll be fine.
Once I heard the chirping inside the egg,it took about 2 days till they hatched out. They should be pipping through now. I would give the 3rd egg another day and if you hear nothing,or don't see any movements when you candle them...then pitch it. Have you candled them yet? It's a good idea to do this in the first 2 weeks of the incubation period to tell whether or not you got good eggs,and fertilized. You'd see a whole lot of veins forming...
after they were hatched and dry,I put them in their "playpen" which was a great place to raise them till they got bigger. It was a playpen with a lamp hanging over them,woodshavings,and their water feeder as well as food...they will tell you if they're too cold by huddling together tight...otherwise if they're too hot they scatter..away from the heat. adjust the light accordingly...lower for more heat or higher for less you know?
anyways,good luck,hope thius helped a bit! enjoy

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 4:32PM
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When you're done with this batch, and "the dust has settled," try setting up again, without eggs, in a location where temperatures do not fluctuate in your home. See if you can keep the inside temperature steady for a week, checking it a couple of times a day. The cheap incubators can't handle external temperature changes without fluctuating a bit. Patrick's right you don't want any fluctuation.

I've got a cheap Styrofoam incubator going right now. It's done very well for me before. But this time, with over 50 eggs in it, ... it looks bad. We started using AC at night. That was enough to cause a high mortality rate in this batch of eggs. After candling I moved it to a more stable environment and am hoping that some will make it.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 5:40PM
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Thank you so much!! I know I have a lot to learn but am willing soo.... This is so exciting and I plan to do it at least once a year.
I will try to set it up again in a different area without the eggs and see what happens. I actually turned on the air conditioning early to keep a steady day and night temp, but guess that wasn't enough:( I found an incubator on E-bay for $60.00 including shipping so will probably go with that next time. I thank you so much for your advice I'm happy I found this forum! I'll keep you posted:)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 10:06PM
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Help! I have 6 chickens and a pair of peking ducks. The ducks are actively breeding... The Female is not brooding but laid a clucth of 3 eggs one day last week and one a day since. I mark, date, and stick the eggs under a broody chicken... I read up and intend to candle this weekend. (7 days) Now what? What do I do when the eggs start to hatch? Do I give them back to the Duck? Will the male or the other chickens attack the ducklings? Help

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 8:51PM
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try to wait longer before candling. even 2 weeks.

get a brooder in case the chicken or duck will not raise them. A heat lamp in a metal reflector some times is used. I have raised baby ducks and chickens together. the problem is the duck and particularily goose gets big and sits on the chickens for warmth and crushes the chicks. The goose and ducks should be fine. the chicks are in trouble.

Actually with one chick a simple light bulb should be ok. As a kid 60 years ago that is what we used.

When the chick begins to peep out of the shell wait up to 40 hours before opening the incubator. Keep it closed. you can chill the chick and it can die. just sit back and do nothing.

Scan the internet for all the info on hatching chicks. there are many web sites. you do not really need a book. but the book might be nice reading. right now you need immediate info. google hatching chicken eggs etc and other words. you will get the info.

do a garden web search on incubation and hatching etc. this web site has plenty.

I soldered a copper penny to the disc wafer used in the incubator. I believe that helps cut down some on the temp swing. also I wrap the incubator. super glue the penny might be better. the wafer cannot take the heat of the soldering so it is really tricky to solder to the wafer.

You should be able to find a big styrofoam box and move all the parts from you incubator to the new box and hatch there next time. Those tiny 3 egg incubators are a waste of time and money. So use the parts to make a bigger one. Get a small cheap fan to move the air around inside so the temp is uniform everywhere insise the box.

Keep asking questions right here and we will all try to help you.

if he chick gets stuck you can spray a little warm water on the shell to loosen it up. in case it dried to the chick body. You want high humidity now. all you can get so the chick does not dry out before getting fully out of the shell.

Hatching time is critical. lots of chicks die at this time so relax and accept what happens.

Your thermostat swings 2 degrees they have thermostats that swing only 1 twentieth of one degree. 0.05 degree that is why they pay more money for that incubator thermostat. Yours swings 50 times more between on and off. the only thing you can do is insulate so it takes a longer time between on and off cycle. or a more expensive thermostat that swings less.

fairly well designed incubators that address the issues probably start from $400 to $800 and up.

$400 for 20 eggs
$800 for 200 eggs

Good Luck

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 10:55PM
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It looks like some of my answer is for the correct person with the ducks and some is for the first person. I got confused answering the questions.

The first person had chicken eggs thinking they were ducks and the last person has duck eggs being hatched by chickens. OMG I am too old for this.

I love this place. Such fun.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 7:05AM
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Thanks, I'm sorry if I confused you.. I do not have a rooster just 2 brooding chickens (six chickens total). I have been pulling their eggs around noon each day. Recently, I have been replacing them with newly layed dated duck eggs. The brooder is doing fine. Twice a day I pull her off and put her by the food and water. She eats, drinks and, takes a walk. Then it's back to the eggs.

What I really want to know is what to do with the ducklings as they are hatching... Do I leave them with the chicken or give them beck to the duck? and will the male duck or the other chickens mess with the ducklings? Thanks for your help... Ron

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 9:20AM
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Sent it nto my email account please?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 5:28AM
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Need Help now--Yesterday and today a mallard duck and his female visited our swimming pool for several hours, swimming, preening and resting in the sun. Tonight we rescued 2 duck eggs from the bottom of the pool. The pool is about 68 degrees. I now have them on a heating pad until I figure out what to do. First, is it too late to start incubation of these eggs ???????? HELP,ANITA

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 1:11AM
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alright...I found 3 abandon duck eggs and i have them in a bucket with some blankets and a lamp on them i turn them 3 times a day and mist them 3 times a day. is it alright that my temp changes and sometimes they get so hot it burns my hand almost i really want them to hatch I'm only 13 and I'm trying to show some responsibility and it would be nice to have some baby ducks i need some major advice. they were born 4 days ago. what should i do!!


    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 7:51PM
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We have two sets of eggs going at the moment. I know the exact day that we started the first batch but don't exactly remember the date for the second batch. What if we stop turning the eggs too early??? The first batch should have hatched a day ago but has not. How many extra days can it take if the temp wasn't quite hot enough??

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 3:27PM
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Ok. here is my question. We had a Mallard lay an egg by our pond yesterday on one of the rocks. Found it in the bottom of the pond this morning. Reterived the egg without any cracks. set up a make shift incubator in an ice chest with light to raise temp to 98-99.
the question in since this egg was under water for probably several hours DOES IT STAND A CHANCE?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 3:20PM
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I had one kachi campbell drake and one black and white female, they had babies last spring on there own 12 that went to a wonderful home! unfortunately bella and edward were taken april 9, 2011 and she left behide 5 eggs, i put them on a heating pad right away looked up what to do! on the 16th two dear friends bought me the best incubator with egg turner, air flow, temp, humidifier, what are my chances to save a part of them if any. am i doing it right

    Bookmark   April 20, 2011 at 5:49PM
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I found today 1 mallard duck egg on my pool, I'm live in Minnesota the temperatura today was 60 +_ , I put in one basket cover with rags under a bulb lamp, I kept the distance of the lamp +_ 1 feet, it is enough? Please somebody help me , we have every year a couple of mallard swimming in our pool, and this year they come back and today Easter time, we found a egg! help me do I need put the egg in water to keept the humiditid?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:38PM
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Help! I am hatching ducklings in my classroom. I put them in an incubator on Wednesday, and then I thought I was told to turn them once starting that Sunday, and then starting that Wednesday turn them 2-3 times and spray them. Is this correct? Will my ducks hatch? OR have I totally messed this up? Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 6:42PM
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Hi this is also my first time hatching ducks and from what your telling I think your on the right track.I have three duck eggs and all are moving inside egg when candled.should be hatching in next week.I did what you are going to do so I think you'll be fine:)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 10:25PM
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This is also my first time hatching duck eggs. 2 weeks into laying on her eggs, my runner was killed by a fox. Now I have them in the incubator at 99.5 degrees and they are due to hatch anytime!! Yesterday was the 28th day of incubation. I know that runners should hatch after 28.5 days. I do see the eggs moving a little, mostly when I talk to them. Is this a guaranteed sign that they should hatch soon? I'm am beginning to get nervous because I do not see any signs of them beginning to break open the egg. I do not have a controlled way of measuring humidity, but I'm am confident it is high enough. I have both troughs in the bottom of the incubator full as well as a sponge that stays moist without me misting it. Does it sound like I might be seeing some ducklings soon? Should I be doing something differently? Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 11:27AM
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My sister recently found a goose egg at a local lake. we have been incubating it, turning it, and attempting to candle it. Most of the goslings at the lake are hatched, so we decided to stop turning it. However, we candled it tonight and saw a resonably small dark spot that was not moving...
Though this sounds like the gosling is most likely dead, the egg has no rotten smell. It has not been turned in 2 and 1/2 days. Should I start turning it again? Is it too late? Does the fact that the dark spot was not moving mean it is dead?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 8:10PM
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Hi All
I purchased an incubator called "Little Giant model 9200" also purchased an egg turner. Oh yes I am ready to go. I have been raising ducks for about 15 years, and always have a couple at a time. I have never tried to hatch on my own. I have a duck sitting on eggs that I have to take from her every day (she is not happy) because she keeps picking place to sit that is not safe, so I decided to incubate a few. I read the instructions but I am confused about the temperature and humidity. What is the temperature suposed to be? The book says hatching temperature for ducks is 99.5 degrees, but I ready a few different things. I put a thermometer in the incubator and I got it pretty stable. So I think I am ready. I want to put three in but she lays one a day. Ca
n I put them in on three different days? It has a tray under the screen to put water do I just fill it? I read where a few people sprayed the eggs to keep them moist, the instructions don't mention anything like that.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 11:20PM
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can you help please,my friend is hatching three ducks for me in an incubator the other three eggs were no good.the eggs were due to hatch next thursday.what i need to know is should the chicks be moving inside by now because my friend has said today that shes not sure if they are going to hatch as dosnt see any change in them for a few days going to be very dissapointed as this is my first time having any and have even got a brooder resdy for them.thankyou.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 7:33AM
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hi i need to know if duck eggs start to move around the inside of the egg a week before hatching as my friend is hatching three for me and dosnt think there has been any improvement the last few this is our first time we are not sure what to look for.thankyou.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 8:06AM
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Yes they start to move, you can "feel" them.

Candle the eggs to make sure they are viable if you don't feel movement. If not start over.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 9:14AM
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I have two white ducks. I found three eggs around our pond area..i put them in a dog cage with wood shavings and put a heat lamp over them......what do i do now....will my ducks know how to take care of them.....idk what im i turn the eggs daily?help

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 1:14PM
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Anybody doing any "hatching" this Spring, please post.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 5:52PM
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hi there iv orded an incubator im going to set up a couple of days befor i get my eggs i also have made a brooder with heat lamp is there anything else i need???

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 3:48PM
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My female mallard started laying Feb 10, 2013, layed 9 & took a break for about 4-5 days, started laying again, same nest. The nest reached total of 12 & I stepped in & took 4, am incubating (first time ever) in homemade incubator. As of today, March 6, 2013, she once again has 12 eggs. Just wondering if she is "ever" going to go the incubating them? Also have silly ???, why is it so critical for temp & humidity to be constant at certain settings. That mama duck isn't carrying a thermometer/humidity gauge around with her all the time & ducks have been doing this for quite some time. In fact, during the incubation period of 28 days, she even leaves the nest at least twice a day to eat, drink & swim. Surely those eggs cool down when she is off of them. Would like some feedback on this please?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 10:47AM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

I didn't read ALL the post so maybe someone said this. When I incubated some duck eggs years ago, and I have the Storeys duck book...... I had read to place the incubator away from your air cond. vents in your house so the temp will stay more consistent. IF you can't get the humidity up like it tells you, wet a clean sponge in warm water and place inside the incubator and that will help get the humidity up. But like someone said, get that book Storeys guide to raising ducks. Its a GOOD book! with may many details on raising ducks. I raised about 60 from eggs myself many years ago and dearly LOVED messing with them! They are a hoot!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:19AM
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Hi, im incubating 4 kayuga duck eggs, last night im 99.9% sure that I heard noise coming from one egg, however today so far I havent heard anything.
im on day 28 so they should be hatching soon.
should I be worried that the noises have stopped, or could they be sleeping.
obviously ill continue to watch and wait, but id like to hear from anyone in the know :)


    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 7:08AM
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I have had my Pekin ducks for almost a year now and well I want to hatch some ducklings from my ducks because I only have 1 female and 3 males so how should I make sure that the eggs are fertile on the first day I get them because I already am making a incubator for them. So please help me I am very new at this.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2015 at 8:43PM
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Sophie, I would agree. If you have three drakes and only one duck, you probably want to get a couple more ducks (females). Are you very handy, in terms of making things? An incubator can be quite a project. Those Styrofoam incubators, which are sold in feed stores, are okay. But they rarely work well past one year, and regulating humidity is a BIG thing when incubating duck eggs. The Styrofoam incubators don't do a great job of regulating humidity.

The absolute best way to hatch your eggs would be to have a duck set on them. Some Pekins will go broody (decide to set) but the breed isn't known for being good at it. If she is inclined to hatch her own eggs, the first sign will be that she will start laying them in one spot, probably a shallow depression in some secluded spot. Leave them there! Ducks will lay an egg every day or two, leaving them alone until they have a full clutch. Then, just a day or two before they start to incubate their eggs in earnest, they will sit tight on the nest, only leaving for an hour or two a day (food and bath break).

If you should have chickens which are inclined to set on eggs, you can use them. Chickens do alright. Though, if you go this route, consider misting the eggs (hand sprayer) once a day. Chickens don't maintain the same humidity ducks do. A momma duck takes a daily bath, returning while still damp, to set on her eggs.

If you have three drakes and only one duck, then, you needn't worry about fertility! They should be fertile!

There have been several mentions of Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. That is an EXCELLENT suggestion. There is a lot to hatching ducklings. There is more to raising them. For instance, unless free ranged, it is not a safe thing to leave ducklings in contact with a drake. Some drakes will kill ducklings. Also, one needs to be very careful with waterers. With some water pans, a duckling can get in for a drink and dip, but then, cannot get out. It will drown within an hour or two. I put out those chick waterers which attach to a Mason jar. Then, when we graduate to a water pan, I always place some stones in the bottom, near one edge, so a duckling can "get a leg up" in exiting.


Tahlequah, Oklahoma

    Bookmark   March 16, 2015 at 6:22AM
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