Hatching is so fun and addicting!
It is a fascinating process and produces such cute results!
So what does it take to have a good hatch rate? Hop on over the 104 Homestead where I shared 4 key elements to a successful hatch. And below, you will find detailed instructions on the steps to take to incubate duck eggs.
If you are interested in a step by step look at the process of hatching eggs, these are the steps I’ve taken to have very successful hatch rates:
- Clean and disinfect the incubator thoroughly
- Plug in the incubator and turn the thermostat so both lights come on.
- Place an accurate thermometer in the center of the incubator at about egg level. Double-check the thermometer’s accuracy by placing two thermometers in the incubator.
- Adjust the two thermostats continually until the thermometer reads between 100-102° consistently! It will need to remain consistent for at least 2 days before putting in the eggs.
- When you feel the two thermostats are fairly balanced, and that the temperature is fairly accurate, you can put the eggs in.
- You can put the eggs in for 3 consecutive days (1 dozen per day) so that the ducks are not hatching all at the same time.
- Mark the eggs on one side with an X. This is to help make sure that you’ve turned all the eggs over during each turning. Use a permanent marker to mark the X on the eggs.
- Once the eggs are placed, follow these steps:
- Turn the eggs at least 4 times a day (Morning, Noon, Dinner, Bedtime)
- When turning, place all the X’s down on one turn and then all the X’s up on the next turn.
- The humidity needs to be kept around 50-60%. This aids in breaking down the calcium of the eggshell. Spray the eggs with water when the eggs are turned. A pan of water and a sponge can help keep the humidity up as well.
- If you choose to candle the eggs, you will candle them at one week and again on the 16th day. Any eggs that are clear are discarded. You will see a spider-looking center with veins on the 7th day and on the 16th day, the eggs that are doing well are dark and have an air pocket on the big end of the egg.
- Always immediately remove any eggs that begin to ooze or smell bad.
- Watch the temperatures closely! As the ducks grow, their body heat will begin to affect the temperature. The thermostats will most likely need to be turned down to accommodate for this.
- If you find that the temperature has spiked, immediately open up and spray the eggs. This will cool them down until the temperature has been regulated again.
- On the 25th day, add a wet towel to the bottom and place the eggs on top. Do this quickly and carefully so the eggs don’t cool down or break. Place the big ends towards the window. Spray the eggs and close the incubator for the remaining days. This is called “lockdown”. The humidity should be around 80% at the time of hatching.
- The Incubator should only be opened up to spray the eggs or add water to the pans and towel to keep the humidity up.
- Open the air vents for ventilation and to cool it down
- The ducklings should remain in the incubator for 15-24 hours as it dries off
- Then after 24 hours the ducklings should be removed from the incubator and placed in a box with light for warmth and food and water.
Take a moment to download these instructions so you can print them out and place the paper by your incubator for easy reference. And you’ll have access to all the other free resources as well!
If you have gone through the hatching process with some problems, don’t consider yourself a failure! Know that a 50% hatch rate is actually considered very good. Although there are times where human error plays a role in the end results, sometimes there are just factors out of our control as well. But if you have done all you can, then say, “Good job, self!” And give those furr…er…feather balls a squeeze!
And then prepare the incubator for the next go around because you won’t be able to stop!
If you love ducks and want to learn more:
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