Need help - what if my hen won't hatch duck eggs - how do I do it?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by davekrista, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. davekrista

    davekrista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Uxbridge, MA
    Ok. My husband is on his way home with our duck eggs. They should be hatching at any time now. There was originally 4 but when my husband got there they told him they candled them last night and 1 hadn't made it so we have 3. Since these were abandoned by the duck mommy and than again by a broody hen, i have some concerns. How do I get my broody hen to sit on them? And what if she decides she doesn't want to? Or once they hatch if she isn't a "mum" for them? What should I know just in case, so that I can be prepared? Any and all help and advice will be appreciated. I want to make sure I'm prepared as I haven't hatched any eggs before. I've been looking online but there is just so much info and a lot is conflicting.
     
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I hope she does take them or you are in a world of hurt. I assume you don't have an incubator. Do you have an aquarium or something you can keep at 98 degrees with a lamp. Even a large glass bowl with saran wrap may work. It also need to be almost closed off to keep moisture in or the babies will shrink wrap. That you can do by lining the walls with fabric and have water in the bottom of it, so the water gets wicked up and keeps the moisture at 75-85%. It almost like a sauna. You also need to build a floor to keep the ducks on or use a square baking pan. That way the water stays below. They have already piped internally according to that lady so they should be out within 48 hours. I hope they will be fine after this last move. After hatching you will need to keep them in the make shift incubator for another 4 hours before you move them to the brooder. Here you need a regular light bulb and you will need to measure 90% on the floor where the light hits it.
     
  3. davekrista

    davekrista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Uxbridge, MA
    I have a tote set up with a spotlight on top and plywood on top. Will the spotlight get it hot enough? And will the plastic tote hold the heat? Or should I re-think it? My hubby isn't home yet. And my hens are roosting already so i'm not sure.
     
  4. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Can it hold 98 degrees and 75-85 humidity? That is what you are aiming for. You don't need anything large for hatching. A large covered pyrex bowl may be all you need. The thing is the larger it is the harder it will be to get the humidity up.
     
  5. davekrista

    davekrista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Uxbridge, MA
    Hubby got home right after my last post. I slipped the 3 eggs under my hen. She must not like real eggs (just the plastic fake ones that she is constantly sitting on) when I put them under her she got up and refused to sit on them. I figured maybe if I left she would, so I went and I found a metal bucket that my kids play with and I put water at the bottom of it along with a wet rag then I put a dry rag on top of those. When I went back my girl was in a different nesting box so I wasn't sure about keeping them in the cool night air until she decides to sit on them so I put them in the metal bucket and put a spot light on top of that. My husband says that bulb doesn't throw off heat so I'm not sure what to do now......

    Would the spotlight bulb be ok or should I try a 100 watt bulb instead? I will try to take pics of the spontaneous set up in a little while......
     
  6. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    You need to measure the temp inside of it. You also need to build it that the humidity doesn't escape. I hope you added 100 degree water into the bucket. Do you have an electric blanket or a heating pad that you can use instead of the lamp?
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2010
  7. davekrista

    davekrista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2010
    Uxbridge, MA
    I don't have a heating pad or an electric blanket.... I did not use hot water but I'm going to go do that now while I take the pics and check on the temps. How would I measure the humidity?
     
  8. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    You would need a hygrometer to measure the humidity. You should be fine if you line the walls with cloth that wicks up the water and keep a lid on it to trap the humidity. It should be as moist as a sauna.
     
  9. davekrista

    davekrista Chillin' With My Peeps

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    129
    Jun 9, 2010
    Uxbridge, MA
    Ok. I just went down and it was warm in the bucket but not much. So I switched out the bulb to a 100 watt and there was a big difference within the time it took for me to put the laundry from the washer to the dryer and it was a big difference. While I was in there, I did candle the 3 eggs and OMG it was so cool, i'm not sure was it a heartbeat that I was seeing move or was it the actual duck? Like half the egg was black and the other half was see through, and you could see movement like right were the line where the dark part met the light part.

    Here are some pics of my set up. I hope it works because I saw them moving so if not I will feel soooo bad. After I changed the bulb I took the chicken wire piece out so now the light is directly on top of the bucket, and its working much better.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    You need to cover the walls of the bucket with cloth or the humidity will not be high enough. Otherwise this may work just fine. Check the temp regularly on top of the eggs. You don't want it to get to hot or it may hurt them. You want 98 idealy, but 90 can work. You do not want to be below 90 or above 100. You may need to go down in the wattage since you are so close to the eggs. Go by the temperature and keep your eye on the thermometer.
     

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