Ducks are a great addition to your flock. They’re delicious, and you can raise them for meat or for eggs. But if you’re incubating the eggs, it’s important to know how to incubate duck eggs without an incubator. All you need is a brooding hen—that’s the mother of your ducklings.
Requirements for Incubating Duck Eggs Without An Incubator
If you’re raising ducks, it’s not hard to incubate duck eggs without an incubator. If you have a brooding hen, all you need is a few supplies and some patience.
To begin, you’ll need:
-A brooding hen (a chicken who will sit on the eggs and keep them warm)
-A broody box is a box that has a hole for the hen to enter and exit through, with an opening at the top where she can place her eggs when she lays them. The hen will then sit on the eggs, keeping them warm and protecting them from predators.
-Duck eggs (ducks lay them)
-Enough straw or hay to line the bottom of your box with at least 2 inches of bedding material, as well as enough for the hen to use as a nest in which she can sit on top of her eggs
Environmental Parameters for Hatching Duck eggs
Hatching Duck eggs requires some environmental parameters to ensure high hatchability of the eggs. These parameters include;
- A constant temperature of 35.5 degrees Celsius or 95.9 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The humidity should be kept between 55% and 70%.
Hatching duck eggs in an incubator is different than hatching chicken eggs; the water level should be kept at a constant level below the egg’s air cell, which is located at the top of the shell. The incubator should have a turning system that turns the eggs at least three times per day to prevent loss of moisture from the eggshells.
How To Incubate and Hatch Duck Eggs Using A Broody Hen
If you want to hatch ducklings, you’ll need to find a broody hen who will sit on the eggs until they hatch. Duck eggs are typically incubated for 28 days.
What is a Broody Hen
A broody hen is a chicken that has laid an egg and then sits on it to keep the egg warm, incubating it until it hatches. This is a natural process of incubation. You can tell if your chicken is broody because she will be sitting on the nest and not moving around much, paying attention to the eggs underneath her and being very protective of them.
Broodiness is an instinctive behavior for some hens. If you have an egg that doesn’t hatch, it can cause the hen to become broody again within a few days or weeks. A broody hen will not allow anyone near her nest, and if you try to remove her from the nest, she will make a loud clucking noise and may attack you.
Using Broody Hen To Incubate and Hatch Duck eggs
Duck eggs can be incubated and hatched using a broody hen. The process is very similar to that of incubating chicken eggs, but there are a few key differences.
You’ll need to get your ducks to lay their eggs in one spot so that you can collect them. If your ducks have a nest box, this is easy—just put it in there. If not, then you’ll have to build them one out of straw or hay.
Once you’ve collected all the eggs and placed them in the nest box or built a new one for them, make sure it’s well protected from predators with wire fencing around it.
Then, find yourself a broody hen. If she’s not already sitting on eggs that she wants to hatch herself, you can replace all her eggs with the duck eggs or give her some of your duck eggs to hatch—and make sure they don’t come from the same batch as hers. It’s best to place the duck eggs under the brooding hen at night. They’re less likely to notice different eggs in their nest than if you switched them in the daytime. She should start sitting on them within 24 hours and keep doing so until they hatch (about 28 days).
It’s important that the hen has plenty of room in her nest box (at least 4 inches deep) so that she can settle comfortably on top of her clutch of eggs without crushing any of them accidentally while moving around during the daytime hours when she’s not sitting on them directly (so as not to crush any embryos).
To prepare the nest box, fill it with about 5 inches of fresh dry straw that has been finely chopped. This will serve as bedding for the eggs and help them maintain their humidity during incubation.
Incubating duck eggs can be tricky. The temperature needs to be just right, and you need to keep the eggs in a dark place so they don’t get any light. If you want to make sure your ducklings hatch safely, it’s best to use an incubator.
But if you don’t have one or are looking for a cheap alternative, consider using a brooding hen instead. It’s easy and fun—and it’ll give you some great practice before using an incubator when it comes time to hatch your own chicks.