Egg Issue

The Gallus Way

In the Brooder
Aug 9, 2016
Bluemont, VA
My Coop
My Coop
OK, here's the deal. We got 5 lovely ducklings from tractor supply this past spring and it has been great watching them grow up. They have now started laying eggs which is awesome. So what's the problem? We had no idea how many eggs they were laying! We didn't realize that they were burying their eggs in the bedding; I discovered a nest of 29 eggs 11 of which are very dark inside which leads me to believe that there are developing ducks in there. I started cracking open some of the fresher looking eggs and sure enough several had well developed disks in the yokes.

My question: Will any new eggs be near the top? I buried the 11 back pretty deep into the bedding and the ducks seem to be OK with that. I plan on checking every morning and night now but I want to avoid handling the fertilized eggs (right?). How do I do that and be sure to get all the new ones. (We don't need more than 11 ducks hatching actually 3-4 would be marvelous especially if the Duck Gods blessed us with all females.)

Or... should I just say "live and learn" and ditch them all now? Maybe try next spring instead after I have learned more.

Thoughts, experiences, greatly appreciated here!


Have you been candling them? That should show how far along they are, if any are viable.

I think I'd go through them and candle, and let the duds anyone sitting on them? Sometimes especially the first year, broodiness comes and goes. Though I had three serious broodies our first year (Runners).


I agree with Amiga. I'd candle them to see what you've got. Maybe put ones back that appear about the same development. How many ever you would like. Mark them with a sharpie (pencil will rub off) Then you can remove any new ones that get added. Usually the broody will stop them from adding after she gets as many as she wants.

How many girls are sitting on them? They usually stop laying once they are broody.

Wait...if you have all females, they can't be growing. It takes a drake to fertilize the egg. Did you mean all 5 are female?
One male, four females. I want the ducks producing edible eggs, I don't have room for more than a very few more-3 or 4 tops. I was toying with the idea of breeding a few next spring but if they do up to 12 at a time I think incubation is the way to go.

I think I have come up with a plan: I will candle all the eggs this morning, any that look viable I will put into my incubator which is now stable. I have no idea whether an egg mid-development will finish in an incubator but I guess I will find out.

Any thoughts?
Oh, ok! That makes more sense... lol (I was trying to figure out what you were seeing in the ones you cracked open! haha)

My female started on about 15 eggs. 4 were clear, and 10 hatched! (she carried the other egg to the pool a day or so before due date. I think she knew it was dead) So they are very good at incubating!

But yes! one will continue to develop and hatch in an incubator. I've done it with chickens a few times. If you only want a limited number, then pick those that seem closest in development. Staggered hatches can be difficult, because of the humidity requirements for the final 3 days. And pick the best looking air cells.... intact, good size and shape, etc.

If you incubate them, I would also make a plan for the babies to be returned to a Momma duck, the first or second night, especially if the girls are still broody. It was such fun to watch momma duck teach the babies, and a lot less hassle on me brooding indoors!

Another thing to consider is the drake. I left mine with my girl after the hatch started, but he was mean to the babies. He wanted his girlfriend back! So I had to separate him for a couple of weeks, until the babies were bigger. The "sisters" could get territorial with the babies also, so its just something to consider and watch for.

I hope you'll post some pictures!
Momma duck took them for a swim very early!

(the pool is not full, there is a low spot in a corner not showing in the pic, so that spot only had a few inches of water in it)
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Very cute pictures and they give me some ideas for my setup.

I candled the eggs tonight and all but one was dead. It looked like it was very early in development. I am incubating it along with some chicken eggs.
Very cute pictures and they give me some ideas for my setup.  

I candled the eggs tonight and all but one was dead.  It looked like it was very early in development.  I am incubating it along with some chicken eggs.

Aww I'm sorry to hear that, but maybe you will get that one to hatch. What kind of chicken eggs do you have in?

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