1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

"Natural Nest" Incubation

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Zombified, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Zombified

    Zombified Songster

    May 17, 2013
    Kentucky, USA
    I think lots of member probably got the same email I got from BYC. Someone, a wonderful member named Beekissed, has decided to incubate some chicken eggs, using methods to mimic a natural, outdoors, broody hen nest, while keeping everything super simple with materials most houses already have, or are inexpensive to get. View the thread here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...ral-nest-incubation-experiment-1-so-it-begins It's really interesting and I highly recommend at least scanning over it.

    Anyways, Bee is doing this for chickens, but I have only ducks. I wanted to try it out for myself.

    But first, there are some things that I need to make sure I have covered. I also need to first do a few test runs without eggs to make sure I can keep temps and humidity from fluctuating too severely, especially since I'll be incubating in my room, which is not known for it's ability to hold temperature. It gets very hot in my room, and my window is frequently open during the night, so I'm definitely going to need insulation to keep the heat out. On my list are eleven things that I think I'm going to need.

    1. Cardboard box.
    2. Trash bags.
    3. Insulation(not the actual insulation, just towels or something).
    4. Moist dirt, leaves, grass.
    5. Heating pad.
    6. Straw.
    7. Fur(Beekissed used feathers, but I currently don't have feathers, so I'm going to use my dog's fur instead).
    8. Water wiggler.
    9. Thermometer.
    10. Scale.
    11. Eggs!

    Like Bee, I'm going to line a cardboard box with trash bags, fill it with some moist dirt, leaves, and grass, and make a nest out of the straw. Instead of feathers, I'm going to put my dog's fur on top of the eggs. I'll be incubating in my room, in my closet with the closet door open. Because I want this to be as natural as possible, I'm not going to increase humidity during lockdown. I feel that it's not entirely necessary, as a hatching duckling produces moisture, which will also allow other little ducklings to hatch. (My mind on that can be changed depending on if I read enough conflicting evidence.)

    I am going to give my eggs a short period of "cool-off" or "air-out" or whatever-you-wanna-call-it time, again to simulate a natural nest with a living hen. I'm basing this time on my current broody Mallard, who would spend up to an hour off the nest for the first week, and is now only spending about 5-10 minutes off (I believe she's still got another week and a half before I'll even begin to look/listen for ducklings) to eat. She does this about twice a day. I have heard her in the backyard off the nest once during late night (about 10-11pm) but other than that, I don't know if she gets off at night for any extended amount of time. Based on her actions, as well as information I've gathered from others who are more experienced in incubating, I will air out the nest for about 5-10 minutes a day, twice a day.

    I have a long ways to go before I actually begin this. Because there are so many variables, I'm going to do several field tests to determine how to keep temps and humidity under control. I'm going to weigh the eggs at the end of each week to determine how much moisture they're losing(this is how I'll be measuring humidity). I'm going to keep the internal temperature at around 99*F.

    Basically, my set up is going to be very similar to Bee's Nest #3(the description of her third nest is on page 46, post $456).

    If anyone has any suggestions, comments, advice, whatever, I'm completely open. This will be the first time I've ever hatched eggs, so I'm still learning. :)

  2. foreverlearning

    foreverlearning Songster

    Aug 4, 2013
    Beekissed is very good about answering questions. I suggest to ask her as she is one of the experts (my words not hers) on here. Many of us follow her for the vast amount of knowledge she has. Please keep posting so we can learn about your process on the duck eggs.
  3. nayeli

    nayeli Songster

    Jan 18, 2014
    How exactly is this supposed to work, body heat is used naturally...
  4. Zombified

    Zombified Songster

    May 17, 2013
    Kentucky, USA
    The heating pad is used to simulate body heat. Kind of how heating lamps for people who incubate with them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by