Hatching duck eggs are a great way to get your feet wet in the world of raising poultry. Ducks are also a great option for beginning farmers because they can be grown inside or outside, depending on the season. They eat less than chickens, and they’re more resistant to disease than chickens or other poultry.
Though it may seem like a daunting process at first, hatching duck eggs is actually quite simple. The first step is to find a good incubator that will allow you to keep the temperature a steady between 36.1°C (97°F) to 37.5°C (99.5°F). You’ll also need some kind of humidity control system (like a humidifier) so that you can keep the humidity level between 55-70 percent. Duck eggs also have a longer incubation period than chicken eggs—about 28 days for a duck egg compared to 21 days for a chicken egg.
Duck Egg Incubation Temperature
Hatching Duck eggs are not very different from chicken eggs. You can incubate them the same way and they’ll hatch just fine. The important thing is to keep track of the temperature because it’s a bit trickier with duck eggs than with chicken eggs. Duck eggs must be kept at a temperature of 37.5°C (99.5°F) during the first 25 days of incubation, then lowered to 37.2°C (99°F) at the point of moving the eggs to the hatcher. After this point, the temperature should be lowered to 36.1°C (97°F) during the period of hatching, usually 48 hours.
So ideally, the starting temperature of the incubator should be 37.5°C (99.5°F) and relative humidity of 55 percent while during hatching and the end of hatching, the temperature should be 36.1°C (97°F) with a relative humidity of 70 percent.
Natural Incubation of Duck eggs
Natural incubation of duck eggs is a process that lets the mother duck care for the eggs in the nest and hatches them herself. This is a good option when you don’t have enough room to house your hens, or if you don’t want to deal with the extra work of managing an incubator.
Duck eggs can be incubated for about 25 days, which is about 2 weeks longer than chicken eggs. Duck eggs are also larger than chicken eggs, so they need more room to grow in the shell. If you try to incubate them in an incubator designed for chickens, they may not get enough oxygen and they’ll die before they’re ready to hatch.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that your duck has a safe place to lay her eggs—a secure nest on dry ground with plenty of grass around it will work best. Then she’ll start laying her eggs—usually one every other day—and she’ll sit on them until they hatch (which happens between 24-28 days).
Using an Incubator to Hatch Duck Eggs
Incubating duck eggs is a great way to start your own flock. You’ll need an incubator, though—and that’s where we come in. We’re here to help you with everything from the setup process to the hatch day cleanup.
The first thing you’ll want to do is set up your incubator. Make sure it’s level and clean, then open all of the doors and windows and let it sit for at least 24 hours with no eggs in it. This will allow any dust or other contaminants to settle out of the air inside the machine so that they don’t get into your eggs when they go into incubation.
Set Incubator Parameters
Next, set up all of your parameters on the machine. The temperature should be between 36.1°C (97°F) to 37.5°C (99.5°F), and humidity should be between 55% to 70%.
Once you’ve set up your incubator, you’ll need to set some parameters for it to work properly. This will depend on what type of eggs you’re incubating, but in general, you’ll want to keep them at about 37.5°C (99.5°F) with 55% humidity. Make sure the temperature stays steady by checking it regularly throughout the process and adjusting as needed with a thermometer or humidifier if necessary. If there is any condensation on the outside of your incubator or wetness inside it then increase humidity until they go away then back off slightly again afterward so that they don’t come back again later.
Set The Eggs
Set each egg in its own cup, which will help keep them from rolling around as they grow during incubation. Put these cups on a rack inside of your incubator and make sure they’re spaced far enough apart so that they can’t roll into each other.
Now it’s time to actually put some eggs into the incubator. Make sure that each egg has been sanitized before putting them into its designated container—this will help prevent infections from spreading among your ducks later on. If there are any cracks or hairline fractures on an eggshell, discard them immediately; cracks can lead to infection later on if they aren’t removed.
The Hatching Process (Day 1 – 25)
The processing of hatching starts as soon as the eggs are placed into the incubator. The eggs must be turned at least 4 times a day to prevent the embryo from sticking to the shell. If you are using an automatic incubator, turning the eggs is not a problem, you just need to set the interval of the turning. On day 7, the first candling is done to separate the infertile and the dead germs eggs from the rest. At day 25, the second candling process is done to separate the dead embryo before transferring the eggs to the hatching tray. On day 25, you can ascertain the number of ducklings you are expecting after hatching.
Hatching Day 26 – 28
The ducklings are fully developed and ready to hatch. Manual and automatic turning of the eggs must stop during this period; also, the humidity of the incubator should be set at about 65 – 70 percent and ventilation must be increased. Hatching of duck eggs takes about 48 hours to complete, unlike chicks which take about 24 hours. Care must be taken to ensure the ducklings do not get deformed or injured as they make attempt to escape after hatching. Immediately, after hatching the ducklings must be transferred into the brooder and fed properly for good growth and development.
The process of hatching duck eggs is actually very similar to that of hatching chicken eggs. The main difference is that ducks lay fewer eggs per clutch, so it will take longer for them all to hatch. Ducklings also grow more quickly than chicks, so they need more food when they are first hatched—around 15% more than chicks do until they reach about 2 weeks old.
Ducklings will start pecking at the surface of their eggshell within 24 hours after being laid; this is called “pipping.” Once they pip through their shell, they will begin breathing through their nostrils and eating food from their parents’ beaks. They should start running around within 48 hours after pipping.