Hens Hatching Ducks?


Sep 19, 2019
Hi! I have a question, since duck eggs and chicken eggs obviously require different things to hatch, how can a chicken hatch ducklings? I know they can, but it just confuses me and I need peace of mind lol.


So, here's the main problem: duck eggs take longer, a whole extra week (28 instead of 21 days on average). Some hens will give up on them before they hatch. Other broodies will sit on them until Christmas, or Christmas next year, until they hatch, whichever comes first. So, sometimes it's not a real problem.

The second problem is that ducks imprint on their hen mom. The longer they stay together, the closer the duck comes to thinking it's a chicken. It's a bigger problem for boy ducks than for girl ducks, since girl ducks don't get as much choice in their relationships. Sometimes the boy duck fails to see why he can't have a hen just like his mom, instead of a duck. I have a fawn and white runner boy who is all duck in every way, and has offspring to prove it, but he is very easily distracted by any Nankin hen walking by. Separation helps. It's somewhat dependent on breed and individual personality. My call ducks who were raised by Nankins don't even notice chickens. So, again, sometimes it's not a real problem.

A hen will willingly hatch and raise a duck, and I have once or twice accidentally put the wrong egg under a broody. So I know from experience that it is entirely possible to have a hen successfully raise ducklings. But sometimes there are the problems I mentioned.

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