First Time: Mallard Eggs

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Snipes, May 16, 2010.

  1. Snipes

    Snipes Songster

    May 15, 2010
    This is kind of a double post; there is one in the hatching section, but I wonder if putting this question here will be a better place!

    I am getting 8 mallard eggs in about a week and a half after learning about what caring for them will involve and being sure I have time, space, and environment. Now I am trying to figure out I am going to hatch the darn things. I have been doing some research on the site and I am trying to pick up as many details as I can about them so that I will end up hatching at least some. This is my first time hatching anything, so here's my fingers crossed. I would love someone to tell me their successes (and failures) with hatching mallard eggs.
    Here is what I know for sure, or think I know, right now
    -Hatching timeline is 28 days, and I think I know what to look for when candling and what days to do it.
    -Duck eggs are more porous than chicken eggs
    -Eggs should be turned an odd number of times is hand-turned
    -Temps should be about 98-100 F more or less (as per duckeggs site)
    -Stop turning around day 25 as this is "lockdown" and you up the humidity as well. Ducklings, if alive, will be at the end stages and pipping to me and thinking about breaking out.
    -Eggs if put vertical as opposed to being laid on the side, should be small end down.
    That is about the only solid info I have.

    I will be attempting this with a Hovabator 1602-N with an automatic egg turner.
    Here are my main questions
    1. Humidity: This ranges with people saying around 30-50% days 1-25 and more when they start breaking out. I saw one thread saying that a book said duck eggs need less humitidy than chicken egg. What are major differences between wet and dry bulb, and why does say that the humidity should be really high (86%, then 94%)
    2. Cooling/misting- I have read about possible bringing the eggs out and cooling them for 10-15 minutes and then spraying them with 100 F water. I also have conflicting info about whether to spray at all, and if spraying, which days to.
    3. Automatic turner vs hand turner- I have read that hand turning has better results, as well as duck eggs should be on their sides. My automatic turner looks like you have to stand them up rather than keep them on their side. Which method should I do? Does anyone have experience with the Hovabator egg turners and can they be modified to turn them on the side rather than top/bottom side?
    4. Hovabator 1602-N, does anyone have experience hatching with this incubator?
    5. Do mallards have different hatch schedules? Is day 25 THE day to stop turning and lock down or do mallards take less time than the standardized 28 days?

    I would just love for people to chip, or chirp, in with methods to success, and methods that resulted in failure that I should avoid.

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