Duck Eggs, Have no clue what to do?


Hatching Helper
11 Years
Jun 13, 2009
Diamond, Ohio
My neighbors brought over 7 duck eggs, they wanted to know if they would hatch or if they were no good. Well I have never hatched out a duck. First I candled them, 2 out of the seven were absolutely no good. You could see mold in the eggs. The other 5 I can see movement, I have them in my extra incubator, I have no clue what the temp needs to be or what the humidity needs to be. One thing I do know is the humidity needs to be higher then a chick. I usually have my temp for chickens at 99 to 101, I usually have the humidity at 50 to 55 except lockdown then I put it up to 65-70. What do I need to do for these duck eggs??? I don't know what kind of duck they are but the eggs are a light blue or a green. how am I going to know when lockdown is and what do I need to do for Lockdown, or do duck eggs even go into lockdown? Any information you can give me would be GREAT....


10 Years
Jan 11, 2010
There are a few different breeds that will lay a coloured egg- but the most common are Mallards and Indian Runners. Also if its coloured- they wont be a muscovy egg- so will take 28 days for incubation.
In my incubator, I have the temp set at 99.5 degrees, and the humidity around 55% for the first 25 days- then up to 80% for the last three days. Duck do need to go into lockdown- on day 25.

Many people find that duck eggs do best laying on their sides being hand turned. You dont mention anything about what incubator you are using - or if it is auto turn- so I just thought I would mention it. Some people recommend spraying the eggs as well. I have found it makes no difference to a hatch, but do keep a spray bottle on hand for hatching time if I end up with any baby with membranes that are too dry to allow them to turn to unzip.

Good luck with the ducklings.. Who is going to raise them - you or the neighbor?? Ducklings are gorgeous - be prepared for a mess though, they love to play in the water containers. There is a heap of information to help put when its comes to brooders in the duck forum area.


9 Years
Feb 4, 2010
Glasgow, Scotland
Duck eggs do need a much higher humidity, but only during lockdown. The rest of the incubation, they actually need less.

I weigh my eggs in order to end up with absolutely correct moisture loss going into lockdown, and while I've found that chickens do best round about the 45% mark, both times I've incubated ducks I've had to drop the humidity really low halfway through the incubation period cause the eggs just weren't losing moisture fast enough. First time I started off at 50% (as recommended by most folk on this forum) and at day 10 I removed all water and finished up with a dry incubation. The second time I set my humidity at 40% and again ended up haing to remove all water, this time on day 18. Next time, I'm going to start out at 35% and see how they get on...

Chicken eggs need to lose approximately 13% of their starting weight by the time they reach lockdown.

Duck eggs (and other waterfowl) need to lose more, approximately 15-16% of their starting weight. So it kind of stands to reason that if they need to lose more moisture, they'll need less humidity to do it...

Weighing won't help you here though - I just mentioned it to give you an idea how the humidity thing works for ducks - and you've got a problem here cause ducks really do need high humidity for lockdown and you have NO idea when that's supposed to be... Either you can watch them like a hawk and jack the humidity way up when you see the first pip, or you can guess by candling and looking at the air cells, and get the humidity way up there when you think they look ready. I think I'd probably go for the second one, as once one has pipped, it might be too late to get the humidity up and keep the membrane nice and supple...

If you do well with humidity at 50-55% for chickens, I'd suggest you just leave it there. Then when you think it's time for lockdown, get it up to about 80%. Some people like to lower the temp by 1 degree or so when they raise the humidity, but as you're going to be guessing about the lockdown time I'd just leave it at the same temperature the whole way through...

Good luck!


8 Years
Feb 19, 2011
Suffolk, UK
Here is a link to a thread I did earlier which explains the incubation hatching process in more detail and may help you a little more
Remember all eggs will follow the same physiological processes regardless of species or breed. Have a read of it at leisure and it will help to guide you.

For further links and information on incubation please check out my website;

I hope it helps you.



Hatching Helper
11 Years
Jun 13, 2009
Diamond, Ohio
Oh man, I just put them in a separate incubator with the humidity up because someone sent me a link and it said the humidity should be at 85%. Dang it. I have chicken eggs in my second incubator, I think I will just stick them in there and when lockdown comes I will split them. Your right, I have no clue when lockdown will be, According to the candeling pictures that I have seen for the process of growth. I would say these guys are either on day 11 or it could be day 13, but not less then that or more then that. I did see a picture where you could see the beak trying to break threw the membrane I guess when these guys get to that point, I can assume this is lockdown day. But I hope I didn't ruin them by putting them in the other incubator with humidity up at 70. Shoots... and I was just getting ready to raise the humidity up higher to reach 85%. I'm glad I didn't... Thank you guys for your help...

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