In semi-secrecy we’ve been incubating two dozen duck eggs. Really the only people we were keeping a secret from were my parents. They didn’t know we were hatching duck, and more importantly that the birds would be living at their house for the few weeks we were fattening them up.
On Tuesday we had one duck hatch. Sadly he struggled and passed. Then on Friday afternoon two more pipped. Sounds like a really positive thing: the ducks have successfully incubated and are now hatching. It was the opposite. These ducks were all early. Very early. When we bought the eggs they threw in a few eggs “from under a duck” which I took as they moved a duck to get some eggs. What it actually meant was, she had set the eggs and had been incubating them for two weeks by the time I picked them up!
Still might not sound like a terrible thing, but if you know incubation and hatching, it’s a nightmare. During incubation, eggs are stood up on end and secured with rails, the humidity level is set lower and the eggs are turned multiple times a day. During “lockdown” (the few days before hatching) the humidity is drastically raised, the eggs are not turned, and they are laid on their sides to help the ducklings/chicks push out.
With that in mind, I had 15 eggs in need of turning and to remain upright, while two of their siblings needed to be laid down and have the humidity cranked. Luckily, after 36 hours, the two hatched and a further 16 hours in the incubator left them dry and ready for the brooder. At this point I had to clean the incubator (and a couple of eggs) from top to bottom of the nasty mess their hatch-mates had left.
Although the secret is out of the bag (I ordered duck layer in front of my mother at the feed store; I’m an idiot), my parents don’t know what type of duck these are. There are dozens of breeds of ducks and I think for anyone with a sharp eye they’ll be able to figure what these are from the pictures below.
These two are for sale for anyone interested. They must go as a pair. I’m looking for $10.