Duck Eggs Question


5 Years
Feb 28, 2014
Hi Everyone,

I have 2 broody duck hens right now, each sharing a clutch. Duck 1 started sitting on April 11th and Duck 2 started sitting on April 21st. They were still adding eggs to the clutch for at least a week or two after they started sitting, so I'm guessing incubation really started a week or so after that. They are both Welsh Harlequins and so from what I've read, hatching should be around 28 days after incubation. Being my first time, I didn't mark the eggs, or try to candle them- I just thought I would let nature take it's course. However, the hens rolled quite a few eggs out of the nest a couple of weeks ago- I'm assuming they were from Duck #1s clutch from which nothing hatched. I discarded the eggs because they were rolled out and ice cold. They did have ducklings in them at various stages of development. I also had a few eggs explode along the way (eggs I should have removed at the beginning had I candled them), and eggs that were rolled out but just rotten. Last week, there were 2 more eggs rolled out, one was cracked and had a fairly developed duckling in it (ice cold) and the other I didn't look. Now, they are sitting on 4 eggs. One of them developed an (what looks to me) like an external pip, and then what looks like a tiny crack (zip), and then another external pip- but it seems weird to me that there is no movement in the egg and I can't hear any peeping at all. I peeled a tiny bit of the pip away, and it's a clear membrane and black underneath. This clutch should have started hatching around May 17th (give or take, depending on when they started incubating). I noticed the one pip on Friday of last week, and the zip on Saturday, and the next pip yesterday- but isn't weird that it isn't peeping? What should I do at this point? What about the other 3 eggs? How long do I leave them before I assume they are rotten/ non viable?

Thanks!! I sure wish I had have at least written dates on each egg as they were added to the clutch, and candled them too!
When i let my silkies hatch naturally I don't mark or candle them.
If they rolled the eggs out then you need to discard them. Animals are smart. They know if the egg is dead.
If they egg hasn't hatched 36 hours after externally pipping, and you don't see it breathing, then discard.
Usually the broody will lay several eggs over the course of a few days, and then she'll begin the incubation.
Hope this helps!
Thank you! How long would you generally let them continue to sit on eggs past the approximate 'hatch date', before maybe taking the eggs away?

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