You are watching: How to incubate duck eggs without an incubator
We incubated them for 10 days, caring for them four times every day, swapping the end wet rags to save the humidity level up.
Despite all odds, ns heard peeping one night when I was offering them the critical wet rag in ~ bedtime. Hallelujah! The next day, over there were 3 pipped eggs. I could hardly contain my excitement. Hatching, though, do a brand-new problem – how might they flower layered under the weight of the rags and also blanket?
Here is where our non functioning incubator came in handy. It could easily be replicated v a styrofoam cooler or even a typical plastic cooler. You just need a method to keep heat and also moisture in, yet with the capability to vent excess moisture out.
We have a Hovabator incubator with the channeled humidity tray beneath where the egg go. Ns filled the suitable channels for hatching to save the humidity up. There is no the incubator, ns would obtain something choose my Excalibur dehydrator tray mesh sheets that permit airflow but secure footing because that hatching chicks and also ducks. Location that over part lids with water in them. Once working the end humidity, volume that water is no important; surface ar area is. If you have moisture pooling in ~ the optimal of her makeshift flower area, you need to reduce the humidity. Here’s a thorough writeup on hatching humidity; linked with a sensor you’ll remove the guesswork.
With the humidity under control, the following step is keeping temperature of roughly 90 degrees. Our incubator fan worked, yet it created no heat, so it simply served to increase temperature fluctuations and muck things up. I unplugged it and maintained warm by cook water and also placing that in mason jars through tight lids. I laid these down on opposite sides of the incubator and closed the lid.
Using the cooking thermometer, I continued to screen the temperature. Earlier in the day as soon as the room temperature was lower, i wrapped the incubator through blankets to aid hold in heat, leaving the height air hole open. If replicating in a cooler, put a straw the end the hole and wrapping the remainder in blankets will certainly help, but you’ll be opened it every couple of hours so that will store fresh air comes in.
To preserve the temperature we were aiming for, we filled one quart and one pint mason jar through boiling water and also placed castle in the incubator. After the ducks started hatching, we extended these v rags to store the ducklings native getting burned on the jars.
During the day, those jars essential to be refreshed with boiling water every 3-4 hours. To do this, boil the water first, then easily open the hatching box, pull out the jars, near the lid, refill and then replace. Our temperature ranged indigenous 93-102, due to the fact that I was wrongly thinking I needed to quiet aim because that 100. Since of the fluctuation, it could be great to target for around 95 so that they aren’t getting too chilled once the water cools off.
Overnight we went around 7 hours in between heating. The lowest temperature we ended up through was 88 overnight throughout hatching. Morning room temperature then was 62, for this reason the styrofoam and blankets go a great job the insulating and keeping the hatching box warm.
From the very first pip come the an initial hatch was about 36 hours, but we still had pips starting 48 hrs after the first. Based upon this, i imagine mother raised ducks would have actually a higher hatch rate if we carried in the unhatched eggs when mother leaves the nest. I’m creating this at 3 p.m. On 6/28. The an initial cheeps to be heard the night of 6/24 and we discovered the an initial pips the morning the 6/25. The nine duckling hatched about half an hour ago. Mom would surely have moved off the colony by now and also left some unhatched. Currently that I know we can fairly easily flower them without a functioning incubator, I’m much an ext likely come retrieve those unhatched egg and shot to flower them.
For brooding the flower chicks, we collection up a warmth lamp in our at this time unused 12’x20′ greenhouse. There room some weeds in over there to eat and also we added a shallow pan because that swimming/drinking and ground some totality grains in our wheat grinder for feed. I bring out some treats when I walk to check on them also and added a little bowl of whey from cheese making.
After the ducklings were completely dry, I relocated them out in pairs and set them increase under the heat lamp, showing them food and water. As of this writing, 4 are safely and also successfully developed in the greenhouse v the week old batch of ducklings given to united state a pair of days ago. Ns will move this morning’s flower ducklings out either this night or morning morning, depending upon how lock look.
While us wouldn’t intentionally set out to incubate eggs this way, it has proved itself a an useful backup method for maintaining eggs lively when mom is no able to. I was a bit pertained to that the heat pad us were using might handle consistent heat for the long–10 days–but it held up admirably. ~ this experience, I’m leaning towards buying a backup to store on hand if ever we must do this again.
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Quick upgrade 7/1: We collected 13 eggs from the hen’s nest, but only evidenced movement in 10. As of this morning, all 13 eggs hatched successfully into flourishing ducklings.