First time hatching call ducks (Magicfly/Janoel incubator)


Jun 5, 2017
Hello BYC, long-time lurker here.

I'm expecting 12 call duck eggs in a few days. This is my first time hatching -- I'm aware call ducks are difficult, but they are what my mum wanted. :) She'll be the one primarily looking after the birds if any make it past this initial stage!

I've got a Magicfly 12 egg forced air incubator (seems to be interchangeable with the Janoel brand). Although I've been reading a ton, I wanted to ask my questions in one spot to make sure I'm not missing anything.

The incubator is currently running empty as a test.
1. For those of you familiar with this brand, can I incubate using only one of the trays?
2. Can I add humidity using small lids full of water or is it best to put water straight into the bottom, under the tray?
3. I've read different things re humidifying duck eggs. Do I need to spray them with water? How often?
4. Is it advisable to start incubating with water already inside, or should I wait and see how the gauge reads after the eggs have been set for a while? (Although this seems a little dangerous. FYI, I'm in a very dry climate, but I've placed the incubator in a cool room with stable temp, and the incubator is wrapped in a towel).
5. I plan on manually turning the eggs. I garner that lifting the lid off to do this, and to add water, won't majorly effect the embryos?
6. If I'm turning 3-5 times a day at least, what's a good interval of hours between turns?
7. Do I need to let the embryos "cool" once a day outside of the incubator?

I probably have loads more questions, but I'll keep it at this for now. Also, if any of you have good tips or a play by play for successfully hatching call ducklings, regardless of what incubator you use, please tell me!

Thank you for your time. :)


May 18, 2017
Central Mississippi
I have two janoel/magicfly incubators and have had good success with them despite the directions that come with it! Just chickens and quail, have not tried ducks. There is some real good info on youtube search both magicfly and then janoel as they are the same. These incubators or at least the 2 I have hold temp very well for an inexpensive incubator. My biggest problem to start was humidity control I live in central Miss and the humidity was just to high even with no water. I ended up buying a 70 pint dehumidifier for the room and it solved that problem (I had been wanting one anyway) with the dehumidifier I was getting 30-35% dry and that's how I keep it until lockdown. At lock down I add heated distilled water in the bottom and usually that's good enough to keep it at 70% if you need to get higher I put a couple paper towels in the bottom letting the corners and sides of the towel come up some to the hatch level. I have modified my incubators because I prefer more payload! I have never tried the auto turner in these units because it holds to few eggs, I don't mind manually rocking...I found some cheap plastic egg trays from china on ebay (quail and chicken) and cut them to fit in the bottom rack so I can set them up with small end down. you don't have to do do this, but if you are going to incubate the eggs on there sides I would put enough eggs or use spacers so they don't roll when you tilt the incubator...instead of opening incubator to turn the eggs I got a rubber door stop wedge and I tilt the whole enchilada (incubator) from side to side I got this idea from youtube (credit to flower mound she has some good info experience) Just alternately tilt from side to side...elevate each side about an inch and a half or two. Most days I rock them 3 to 4 times a day maybe more when I don't have to go to work. just space between tilts as evenly as possible...It is not going to ruin the hatch if you miss a few tilts but try to get at least 3 a day...I have missed whole days and still had good hatches... Another mod I did was drill a hole just at the first rack level I plug it with a rubber plug so I can add warmed distilled water if needed without opening. Since I have two I usually put two bottom racks on top of each other to raise the floor some, you could use some kinda spacer if you don't have another rack. This allows more water to be added and brings the level of the eggs up closer to middle of the incubator... My last mod is I bought for 7 bucks on ebay a indoor outdoor digital thermometer/hydrometer, one with a remote thermo couple (the little sensor that measures the air) I put that through the vent hole on top and mounted with zip ties so that it hangs down right about the top of your egg level. The extra thermometer/hydrometer also has a min/max function so you can see any spikes or dips in readings while your away. One thing I noticed when I first played with these incubators is the sensor that it comes with is tied up high on rack that holds the electronics...this would be fine if you were using the egg turner (it sits higher in the bator than the hatch level rack) but there is considerable difference in the temp despite the fan, if you measure temp up near the top rack it will be several degrees higher than the temp at the hatch level so your eggs would be several degrees cooler than the reading if this is not considered when incubating at the lower level...Also keep in mind when your incubator is full of eggs temps will not settle as quick as they do on a dry run! These incubators work very well but it took me awhile to get good hatch rates by experimenting! I would strongly suggest getting another thermometer/hydrometer as the temp maybe as much as 4 degrees lower on hatch level relative to underneath the heater where the thermometer it comes with is...Good luck! I just hatched 24 0f 27 quail eggs a couple days ago


5 Years
Oct 30, 2015
1. I have the magicfly (which is really the janoel) and other than my user error, I think it's a pretty solid incubator. You can hatch just using the top tray (which is necessary for the automatic turning function.)

I don't know about call ducks, but out of 4 viable muscovy duck eggs (which are also notoriously difficult to hatch), I only had 1 hatch perfectly because it turns out I had the humidity too high (60%) during the incubating process--the rest drowned like a day or so before internally pipping which sucked.

This time around, I'm dry incubating but the humidity in there is still around 40% due to my location.

2. When I did add water, I just put a small medicine cap (you know the kind you get with like Benadryl) in the incubator with water in it. I found if I poured water at the bottom, humidity shot up to 80%.

3. I misted my eggs after day 10, once a day.

4. Stabilizing the temperature beforehand is always a good idea. I mean, the eggs can get over slightly cooler temps, but if they cook....

5. Manually turning is fine but their auto-turner function is excellent. Opening doesn't affect the embryos at all. I candled them once a day.

6. 4 hours is probably good for you so that you at least get a full 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep?

7. I didn't, and didn't seem to affect whether or not I had fully formed ducklings. Mine just failed to pip. Not sure if that has anything to do with cooling.

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