Originally Posted by cscarney
Hi Duck Drover--
My success with incubating duck eggs is pretty low--do you have anything special that you do?
BTW, your descriptions of your Spots and their behavior is exactly like mine. Great little ducks!
Hope your surgery goes well!
We use the still air Little Giant incubators and we do dry hatching, meaning we do not add water during incubation and only raise the humidity slightly for hatching. We use a separate incubator for hatching that is a couple degrees cooler than the incubation incubators. We have automatic turners during incubation but then we also move the eggs around during hatching because we have staggered hatches, usually every four days.
We have the incubators on wire shelves (good air circulation) so as we move eggs from the bottom incubator to the hatching incubator on the bottom shelf, we candle and move the eggs in the remaining incubators down to fill in the empty egg holders. I think this could help prevent the eggs from sitting in hot spots or cold spots through the incubation period with still air.
We use forced air for hatching chicks the same way but because ducks need more humidity they do not get as dry as they would with a fan. We live in a humid climate so that is why we don't add water. I have filled the water trays in dry climates and if the weather is dry for long here I will add some water but dry hatching semes to work better than keeping the humidity at the recommended levels. I even have ducklings hatch in the hatching incubators at times because the eggs were started before we gathered them so I know the extra humidity is not necessary for hatching.
When I tried raising the humidity for hatching the first ones hatched okay but then the wet ducklings raised the humidity too much and it drowned the ducklings in the shell. It just seems to work better to keep the humidity lower than what is often recommended. I put a small meat baby food jar filled with water in each corner of the hatching incubator and then the ducklings can drink from them once they are dry and running around. I try to keep them locked down as much as possible since the dry ducklings will actually help groom the wet ducklings but if they are sitting on the eggs that are zipping I may move them out sooner and get them eating and drinking so they can teach the younger ducklings how to eat and drink.
I have mixed ages in the first level warmest brooder so the older ducklings get the younger ones started before I move them to larger brooders. Ducklings grow so fast that I keep them in smaller groups than chicks but they tend to have new homes by the time they are a week old unless we decide to keep them to raise. We have had losses during hatching but things happen to ducklings hatched by the hens too so we just focus on the successes and try to learn from our mistakes.