Incubation of duck eggs - how to guarantee a healthy brood of ducklings?

Such a method of growing poultry as the incubation of duck eggs is often used in farms and private households. It is associated with the reluctance of adult females to hatch chicks or when it is necessary to have a lot of young. Duck eggs, unlike chicken eggs, are more fatty and weigh more. Therefore, the process of their incubation has its own nuances.

Incubation of duck eggs at home

If you strictly follow the rules for incubating duck eggs, you can simultaneously hatch a large number of strong healthy ducklings. To do this, you need to focus on the following factors:

  1. Select the right eggs.
  2. Follow bookmark rules.
  3. Ensure compliance with the heat and humidity indicators in the device.

How to store duck eggs for incubation?

A high percentage of live chicks can be obtained if you correctly collect duck eggs for incubation and store them correctly. To do this, the litter in the nests is replaced every day in the evening, and the material is removed in the morning. Eggs are placed in trays with the sharp part down. Storage of duck eggs before incubation is carried out at a temperature of + 10 ° C – 15 ° C and air humidity of 75-80% for no longer than 8 days, otherwise the percentage of brood will decrease significantly, and the chicks will be weak.

Eggs are selected for the correct shape and the absence of growths on the shell. To reinforce the fidelity of the choice will help translucence with a lamp. During this procedure, cracks, dark spots inside, decomposed yolk can be detected. Eggs are taken into the incubator, in which:

  1. The yolk is placed in the center.
  2. The protein does not have extraneous inclusions; when translucent, it is transparent.
  3. The air chamber is located under the blunt top and is small.

How to prepare duck eggs for incubation?

Preparation of duck eggs for incubation consists in their disinfection. Before laying in storage, they are dipped in a pinkish solution of potassium permanganate. This is necessary because often such material is contaminated with mold, fungus or salmonella. It is recommended to wash the eggs very carefully, and if they are more than 50% dirty, in other cases it is preferable to refuse such a procedure. It is impossible to clean them mechanically, so as not to damage the shell.

Incubation temperature for duck eggs

Before laying the incubator must be heated to the desired temperature. Eggs are placed horizontally in it – in this position, ducklings hatch better. The temperature regime for the incubation of duck eggs is very important, the temperature on the surface of the masonry is set according to the recommendations:

  • from 1 to 7 days – 38.0-38.2°С;
  • from 8 to 14 days – 37.8°С;
  • from 15 to 25 day – 37.8°С;
  • from 26 to 28 days – 37.5°С.

To improve intrauterine metabolic processes, and so that the chick develops efficiently and does not overheat, the egg cooling process is used at the 3rd stage of cultivation (from 15 to 25 days). To do this, first open the incubator door for 10 minutes, then spray the material with water heated to + 27 ° C with the addition of potassium permanganate, and allow 10 minutes to dry. The whole process should take 20 minutes, it is carried out twice a day.

Humidity when incubating duck eggs

When duck eggs are incubated, humidity also plays a key role in the process. They measure it using a special device, you can do it yourself. To do this, take an ordinary thermometer, tie a cloth at its lower end. The remaining tip is dipped in a container of water, and it will begin to show humidity. Throughout the entire period of breeding chicks, it must comply with the recommendations:

  • from 1 to 7 days – 70%; (on wet – + 30 ° С);
  • from 8 to 14 days – 60% (on wet – + 28 ° С);
  • from 15 to 25 days – 60% (on wet – + 28 ° С);
  • from 26 to hatching – 85-90% (on wet – + 33-34 ° C).

The period of incubation of duck eggs

If no errors are made and recommendations for temperature and humidity are followed, then the chicks will hatch after 24-35 days, the period depends on the variety of birds. Terms of incubation of duck eggs of different breeds:

  • mulard – 28th day;
  • Beijing – 26th day;
  • runners – 24th day;
  • musk – 35th day;
  • Indians – 35th day.

incubation period for duck eggs

Checking duck eggs during incubation

From the 1st to the 26th day, the egg must be constantly turned over so that the embryo does not stick to the shell. This should be done 4-6 times a day, if the device does not have an automatic flip function. To control the condition of the embryos, duck eggs are checked with an ovoscope during incubation – they are subjected to transillumination:

  1. On the 8th day, the circulatory system of the embryo, its shadow and air chamber should be clearly visible. If the egg is without a shadow and blood lines, it is rejected.
  2. On the 14th day, the embryo should be clearly visible in the egg.
  3. On days 26-28 (or 33-35 for musky ducks), putting an egg to your ear, it is easy to hear the squeak and rustle of the baby. A chick is clearly visible on the ovoscope – it should not be visible, it occupies 2/3 of the egg.

The Last Days of Duck Egg Incubation

At the final stage, in the last days of egg incubation (26-33 days a day, depending on the breed), at the initial signs of pecking, duck eggs are transferred to hatching trays and laid out horizontally. Turning and cooling is no longer carried out. In ordinary ducks, the first chicks appear on the 26th day, the last – by the end of the 28th day. When pecking begins, the humidity in the incubator must be increased – the shell of the eggs is thick and moisture will help soften it a little.

When all the ducklings were born, the emerging chicks from the incubator are transferred to boxes with ventilation holes and kept at a temperature of + 20 ° C – 24 ° C. Here they have to dry, the babies are examined, the sick are rejected. On examination, pay attention to the cleanliness of the beak and eyes, the fallen off umbilical cord and the dense, not sagging stomach. Daily ducklings stand well on their feet, are mobile, have excellent appetite, and are covered with high-quality even down.

Errors when incubating duck eggs

Some novice poultry farmers make mistakes when incubating duck eggs, which lead to high mortality of chicks or embryos:

  1. Long-term storage of material before laying. The longer the eggs lie, the lower the percentage of their hatchability.
  2. Lack of disinfection. Duck clutches are susceptible to infection by fungi, bacteria, and mold. Hatched chicks will not be viable.
  3. Overheating of embryos. It is fraught with the death of embryos, it is important to regularly cool the masonry and irrigate with water from a spray bottle.
  4. Hypothermia masonry. If the temperature is too low during the incubation of duck eggs, this is fraught with freezing of the embryos and stopping their development.
  5. Insufficient humidity. Affects the health of offspring and the ability of chicks to peck through the shell.
  6. Excessive humidity. Incubation of duck eggs in conditions of high humidity is dangerous – due to the appearance of a large volume of amniotic fluid, chicks can drown in it.
  7. Few revolutions. The chicks stick to the shell and die.


If you know some secrets of egg incubation, then you can simultaneously breed chicks of different types of birds – chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys. After all, if you keep your own incubator for each breed of birds, then it turns out to be too expensive. To get offspring, you need to maintain a certain heat and humidity in the device. In order to clearly observe the timing of hatching, you need to lay eggs at a certain interval, and the hatching of chicks from all eggs will occur on the same day.

Co-incubation of chicken and duck eggs

It is possible to incubate chicken and duck eggs simultaneously. Since each bird has its own hatching period, it is necessary to lay the material at the correct interval. Features of co-incubation:

  1. The average duration of the incubation period for chickens is 21 days, for ducks – 28 days. Therefore, first you need to lay duck eggs in the device, on the seventh day – chicken eggs. So the hatching of the chicks will occur at the same time.
  2. The temperature regime is set at 37.8°C, humidity – 50% for the entire period of incubation.
  3. Eggs are turned 4-6 times a day from the first day and finished 3 days before hatching, the material is cooled from 15 to 25 days.
  4. co-incubation

Co-incubation of goose and duck eggs

Complex incubation of goose and duck eggs at the same time is a completely solvable task. Features of the process of breeding chicks:

  1. The average duration of the incubation period for ducks is 28 days, for geese – 31. Therefore, first goose eggs must be placed in the device, and duck eggs on the third day.
  2. The principle of placing eggs is horizontal. Goose eggs are not laid out too tightly, the voids between them are carefully filled with paper. This is necessary to avoid material falling out during tray rotations, as this material is the largest.
  3. The temperature regime is set at 37.8°C, humidity – 60% for the entire period of incubation.
  4. In the second half of the incubation process, large duck and goose embryos begin to emit excessive heat themselves, which is why the eggs are cooled 2 times a day in the morning and in the evening for 20-40 minutes (gradually increasing), from the 14th to the 28th day. To do this, open the incubator doors, leave the fan running, spray the masonry with water at room temperature.
  5. Eggs are turned over, like chicken ones – every 4-6 hours by 180 ° from the first day, they finish the coup three days before biting.
  6. To increase humidity, a couple of days before hatching, an additional pan with water is placed in the incubator.
  7. Hatched chicks should dry out inside the incubator, they are sampled every 8 hours.