incubating duck eggs ?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by encorepistol, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. encorepistol

    encorepistol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    I've got duck eggs coming and was just curious about the humidity settings everyone tries to use. A buddy of mine runs his the same as chickens but I've read some as high as 85% and bumped up at hatch time. I'm gonna set these in a LG with a fan and have had good hatches with chicken eggs since the temps and humidity stay pretty stable for me. I've read a little about dry incubation also, any thoughts?
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  2. lemkoboxer

    lemkoboxer Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 6, 2009
    I just posted almost the exact same question yesterday and havn't gotten any responses yet... I am curious to know this too! Want to get a good hatch!!!
  3. Blooming chicks

    Blooming chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 4, 2008
    Bucks County
    I read on various websites that the relative humidity levels for ducks should be between 55%-60% until "lockdown" then it should be bumped to 70-75%. BUT I am NO expert. I just hope I'm doing it right. I just set my first batch ever of WH eggs--and this is what I found researching the subject on the web. I will look a little later for you to see if I can site some of my references. I am using am LG too, and I find it a bit challenging when it comes to keeping humidity levels constant. Good luck and I will try to find those sites again.

    This is one site I referenced...hope this helps. There are others, but read carefully--some sites only refer to humidity in wetbulb levels which is different.

    ETA reference
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  4. chickeepoo

    chickeepoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 10, 2008
    Orlando, FL
    What's the difference between a wet bulb reading and a… well. NON wet bulb? I used what I guess is dry reading, with good results.

    I'm using just a digital thermometer/hygrometer in a still-air incubator, finishing up muscovy eggs whose mother was killed 2 weeks ago. I've been going along following the advice of an experienced hand (Ancona91), and even with a few fluctuations, etc., the first four hatched between yesterday afternoon and about 4:00 this morning, and the last 2 are pipping… so I would use the same advised settings if I were to incubate a clutch again. Now 97º and currently 75-77% (she keeps 70-75%) humidity, lightly misting eggs with 100º water daily to keep membranes from drying out (don't know if that is normally from day 7 to pip?) until pipping through shells (although I was concerned and sprayed extra days avoiding any pip until the first broke through). The temperature up to 3 days before hatch should be 99.75º and humidity should be 50-55% up to this point. Then drop the temp to 97 or 98º and bump up humidity going into last 3 days. Only one egg was rotten, never developed- tossed last week- and the rest are alive- good odds to me! Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  5. dbcooper02

    dbcooper02 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2007
    SW Washington
    Wet bulb reading refers to a method of calculating humidity by comparig the temps displayed on 2 bulb type thermometers side by side. One is dry and the second has a wet wick enclosing the bulb. The evaporation of moisture from the wick lowers the temp reading on the wet thermometer. The rate of evaporation is controled by the humidity in the incubator. Charts are available which give you the humidity % based on the 2 temperature readings.
  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    If your buddy is running them the same as chickens in your part of the country and getting good results, then that's what you should do too. It is a highly regional question and no advice you can read on-line is as valuable as the local experience of other hatchers.

    The reason humidity matters during the first 25 days is that the ducks need air in the air cell during the hatch. A higher humidity causes the air cells to develop poorly because the moisture can't evaporate out of the eggs. When the eggs get to hatch time, they poke their little bills into the air cell and try to breathe. If it's too small, they either can't keep their bills out of the wet membrane and they drown, or they simply suffocate before they've built up the strength to pip the outer shell. If the air cell is very tiny, they can't even reach it to poke through and they drown that way. I have had this happen very recently and it's very sad.

    If the humidity is too low (not something I've ever had happen but then I live in the humid Southeast), then the air cell develops too quickly and the duck runs out of room to develop before it's ready to poke into the air cell. It dehydrates and dies. (I understand this part from reading, not experience).

    If your humidity is right, the air cell will fill 1/3 of the egg at hatch time, and the ducks will hatch beautifully.

    The reason your location matters is that while the humidity of the air *around* the incubator affects the air cells too. If the air coming into the incubator is humid, then the heat of the incubator will evaporate that moisture first, before evaporating it out of the eggs, in order to reach whatever humidity you are trying to maintain in there. If the air coming into the incubator is dry, then the heat has to evaporate more moisture out of the eggs in order to attain the humidity you're trying to reach.

    So if you're in a dry part of the country, you'll need more moisture in the incubator to reduce the amount that is being evaporated out of the eggs; if you're in a wet part of the country, you'll need less moisture in the incubator so that more is pulled from the eggs.

    Which brings us to misting. Misting is a helpful tactic for increasing air cell size also. The moisture directly on the shells attracts moisture from inside the egg (I think it's the polarity of the molecules that does it, but don't quote me on that) and causes it to evaporate faster. So if you're having a hard time, due to high ambient humidity, in getting the air cells to develop, then misting is a great practice.

    All of which is a very complicated way to say my main point, already mentioned, which is that if you know someone who hatches ducks successfully in your climate, then do what he does and you'll do great. [​IMG]

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