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How long till eggs are no longer fertile?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by T Hi, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. T Hi

    T Hi Songster

    Mar 7, 2010
    Bonney Lake, WA
    My runner ducks are about 17 1/2 weeks old. The 3 females have not started laying yet. I have 1 drake that is mating with 1 of my females but not the other 2. I want to see if she will hatch out any ducklings. I also want eggs for eating but I kinda don't want fertile eggs. I do not have the room to separate everyone.

    How long would the eggs stay fertile if I remove the drake?

    If I separate the drake after the females start laying will the 1 who has mated still have a chance of hatching ducklings?

    Please help!!![​IMG]
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I personally think eating fertile or non-fertile eggs is something in people's mind only. Same taste! A fertile egg needs about 3 days of warmth to start to develop blood vessels. Before that it is pretty much the same as a non-fertile egg. So you won't notice the difference if you collect each day and put them in the fridge. BTW most organic free ranging eggs sold in stores are fertile. Just google incubating Trader Joe or store eggs. You will be surprised how many have hatched store bought eggs. The industry would not sell fertile eggs for eating, if there is a difference in taste.
  3. T Hi

    T Hi Songster

    Mar 7, 2010
    Bonney Lake, WA
    Awesome! Thanks for the info!!!

    So if I collect everyday then I shouldn't get a SURPRISE when I crack it open?

    I hope Dove is a good mommy. She is the one who is mating. I would like at least one hatching! [​IMG]

    My black drake is from a Holderread (sp) strain and is BEAUTIFUL! I have 3 chocolate females and 1 black we don't know yet!

    Isn't it normal for runners to start laying around 18 weeks?
  4. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Average is 20-24 weeks, but some breeds start yearly and others late or the following spring. Weather, light, and food has an influence too.

    I would suggest to lock your ducks up at night, because they tend to lay first thing in the morning. That way you don't have to go Easter egg hunt. [​IMG]

    Eggs need around 100 degrees to start to incubate, and blood vessels will be visible at day 4 or 5 with a flash light. That is after they have been sitting at 100 degrees the entire time. So you collect each morning and put them into the cold fridge and nothing will happen. No surprises. Eggs are good for 3 weeks in the fridge. Remember to have them for at least 3 days in the fridge for hard boiled eggs or the shell with be hard to come off. The eggs need to build a small air sack so be peeled easily. Now eggs from ducks without a male duck around can be stored on the kitchen counter or a dark cool pantry.

    Once you want more ducks just let them do what comes natural to them. They tent to lay eggs in various places and roll them into a nest days later and start to sit on them. They want their clutch and not just a few eggs. At that point you want to make sure that you don't mix up the new eggs with the ones being sat on. Some people mark the eggs for hatching with a pencil or a crayon.

    So no need to lock up the boy, let him have fun.
  5. Birdcrazy

    Birdcrazy Songster

    Dec 21, 2009
    Drakes usually mature before girls, so might be a while until she starts laying eggs.
    Also a fertalised egg is only different to an unfertalised egg by a teeny tiny bit of sperm, which will not start taking effect until the mother incubates it [​IMG]
    You'll only get a surprise if you remove the egg from under a snappy, broody hen who's been on the nest long enough to be noticed.

    Fertalised or no, they're the same no need to worry and if you get a surprise, you have been very unobservant to an angry, biting duck [​IMG]
  6. T Hi

    T Hi Songster

    Mar 7, 2010
    Bonney Lake, WA

    Thanks! My girls are still sweethearts so no broodiness going on here!

    I never knew about the waiting 3 days in the fridge thing for making hardboiled eggs! Thanks so much!

    So since you all are so awesome and knowledgeable---- What else should I know about my eggs when I begin harvesting them?
  7. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Just plug them off the duck. Too funny.
  8. ultasol

    ultasol Songster

    Apr 30, 2009
    SE Washington
    You know, you can't even tell they are fertile unless they sit out in warm weather a bit or the duck sits on them awhile- there will be no development. Really. Promise.

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