By now, the anticipation is high to meet the new little ducklings you have nursed from the beginning. If everything has been working out right you should be on about day 28 now. Although you may be very excited to see your cute babies, be sure to not open the lid of the incubator more than is necessary. During this stage of hatching, the temperature and humidity in your incubator is very important to your ducklings.
Be sure your incubator is in a room with a very stable temperature. This will help keep the temperature and humidity inside your machine regulated. Check the air sacs in the eggs; if the humidity is sufficient, the sac should consume at least a quarter to a third of the egg. You can do this by method of candling.
There are three stages to the hatching of duck eggs. During the first stage, the duckling will begin to break through the air sac. This process is called internal pipping. Once they have accomplished this, they may rest another day or so before they continue the process. Once their air supply from the air sac begins to run out, they will naturally know to continue the hatching process. The next step is called external pipping. This is were the duckling beings to break through the outer shell. They may only make a tiny crack in the shell and take a break, but do not worry. The small crack they made will allow enough air to get through for them to survive. It is very important throughout this process to not help the duck during the hatching process, nor remove the duckling from their egg. They instinctively know when it is time to leave the egg. If taken out of it too soon they could die, because they did not have enough time to absorb the all of the yolk, which is a vital nutrient for them.
If, however, you can see that the duckling is clearly struggling with trying to get out of the egg with no success, you may choose to help it out a little. If they stay in their egg too long, the membrane can dry out and they can be stuck. If it appears that this has happened, you can fill a spray bottle with warm water and spray it between the hatchling and the shell, allowing him to break free.
Once your ducklings have hatched, they will appear to be disoriented, but this is normal. Just like many other newborns, they are getting used to the idea of walking around freely. Also, they need to stay in the incubator for up to twelve hours, until they have fully dried. Once they have dried completely, you should switch them over to a brooder.
Now that your hatchlings are finally here, it is time to enjoy raising them to adults.