Mandarin Duck Eggs: Artificial Versus Natural Incubation

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Scott, May 18, 2010.

  1. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    I've recently been incubating some mandarin ducks eggs and thought I'd share my experience with others. I had originally told myself that I would leave mandarin egg incubation up to my hens, however I really wanted to give myself a chance at artificial incubation this season. As luck and bad planning would have it, my mandarin hens did not lay this breeding season (though I've not given up hope that they still might). At any rate, I had to acquire mandarin eggs from an outside source this season.

    On May 3rd, I sat 11 white mandarin duck eggs in my Lyon Roll-X (RX2) incubator. My incubation conditions were the same as for when I hatch call duck eggs... temp: 99.5, humidity: 55%. The eggs are being turned on their sides each hour by the auto-turner. Within a few days, it was obvious that 5 of the eggs were not developing whereas 6 of them were. So, that's a 55% fertility rate. According to another person who got mandarin eggs from the same source, he was getting about a 48% fertility rate on eggs from this particular group of mandarins. I am told that this is a pretty good fertility rate for shipped mandarin eggs, but I don't know. I know its not so great in comparison to natural incubation. Last week, I moved the developing 6 eggs to my Brinsea Mini Advance, so that I can have one incubator dedicated to the mandarin eggs and also because it tends to hold a bit more constant temperature and humidity. At any rate, as of today (which is over two weeks after the eggs were set), all 6 eggs are continuing to develop. Needless to say, I am hoping for a 100% hatch rate from these six mandarin eggs. Time will tell. I plan to get lots of photos during the hatch and of the young ducklings as there aren't many photos of white mandarin ducklings on the internet. I'd like to share those on my web site and this forum. Plus, I'd like to raise them by hand (along with some call ducklings) so that they are as tame as possible.

    I've also ordered 13 additional mandarin eggs from this particular source (9 regular and 4 white). They should arrive tomorrow. I am considering giving those 13 eggs to a couple of my broody cochin hens for them to incubate for the first week, then transfer those to one of my incubators to continue incubating them artificially. According to some experienced fowl breeders, this will improve hatch rates. I am curious to find out if I can get a better hatch rate than 55% using this method. I suspect (and hope) that I will.

    As some of you may recall, I had a similar thread on incubating call duck eggs. There was some really good discussion going on there, and I know I learned a lot from others and hope others learned a bit from me. So once again, I thought some of you might be interested in learning along with me for these two particular mandarin duck egg hatches.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
    1 person likes this.
  2. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    Well, I guess I spoke too soon! I went down to the chicken house and duck pens after work this afternoon and what do I find but my first mandarin egg of the season! And here I was about to give up on my mandarin hens. For those not familiar with mandarins, this is late in the season for them to begin laying. Throughout the winter, they had shared a pen with my call ducks, and that pen didn't have proper nest boxes for mandarins. It was until April that I finished building their own pen. Between sharing a communal pen with my rowdy call ducks and then getting used to their new pen, I was beginning to this my mandarins wouldn't lay this season. But alas, it seems mine are just now starting....

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  3. chickenlisa

    chickenlisa Invincible Summer

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    Apr 9, 2007
    Nice! I"ll be watching this thread so I can learn as much as possible!
    Thanks! and be sure to post pics of everything too- as much as you can anyways!
    Lisa
     
  4. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    Hey Lisa! I'll certainly post lots of photos when the mandarin ducklings hatch.
     
  5. chickenlisa

    chickenlisa Invincible Summer

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    Apr 9, 2007
    Great...thanks.
    PS- I asked a question in my new thread about our baby pool and baby ducklings...do you think you can look at it and see if you know what I should do since no one has answered it yet? Thanks:)
     
  6. 1lpoock

    1lpoock Spruce Creek Waterfowl

    Apr 20, 2009
    Sandusky, Ohio
    Isn't exciting to find that first egg? Especially when you didn't think they would lay until next spring.
     
  7. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    Quote:It really is. The thing is... I don't know if it was my white mandarin hen or regular one that laird the egg.
     
  8. chickboss

    chickboss Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2010
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  9. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    Quote:Lisa, you know what I just noticed? You and I both registered on this forum at almost the exact same day three years ago. We're both BYC old-timers! As of this post, you've posted exactly 100 more posts than me.

    And yes, I'll go over there and have a look at your post. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2010
  10. chickenlisa

    chickenlisa Invincible Summer

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    Wow! That's pretty cool Scott! I didn't even realize it had been 3 years!
    Thanks...its still rainy and 52 degrees out here today. Glad ducks don't mind that sort of weather too much!
     

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