Incubating Duck Eggs
If you have found some abandoned duck eggs, they still have a chance, if you choose to care for them yourself. Or if you already have laying ducks and have decided to artificially hatch them yourself, this article will give you the basics on what to do. Hatching eggs of ducks is an easy task, which mostly consists of waiting.
If collecting your eggs from your own laying ducks, be sure to get them as soon as possible after they have been layed. Experienced duck breeders suggest that you do not wash the eggs before incubating them and try to only incubate clean eggs. However, very dirty eggs have been known to hatch with out any problems.
Once you have obtained your eggs, the first thing you will need to begin the incubation process will be to purchase an incubator at your local feed or animal supply store. Or, you may choose to build your own. Directions on how to do so can be found everywhere online or at most book stores.
After getting your incubator, you need to be sure you set the temperature right. Overheating will cook the eggs and if it is not warm enough, the eggs will not develop and will quickly go bad. If you are only hatching a few eggs at a time, it can be harder for the incubator to keep the temperature regulated. If this is the case, a good way to keep the temperature where you need it would be to keep a few rocks or stones in the bottom of the incubator or even a bottle of water. You also want to control the humidity in your incubator as well. Be sure to consult the manual for your machine to see the best way to do this. If you have built your own incubator, the best way to do this would be to keep a pan at the bottom of the incubator and keep it full of water.
When you have the temperature set, you will begin to turn the eggs, unless you have an automatic incubator. For duck eggs, it is recommended to not use an auto-turn incubator and to turn them three times daily by hand. However, ducks eggs have been hatched successfully using the auto-turn incubators. Other than turning the eggs, please refrain from opening the incubator, since this releases some of the heat from it. Your duck eggs will need to be incubated for approximately twenty-eight days. Remember, stop turning the eggs two to three days before the ducklings are due to hatch.
The incubation process is almost done! Once you notice the ducklings starting to hatch, be sure to not open the lid of your machine too much. The humidity and warmth in the incubator are very critical at this point.