Argh! I have a hen who has been on her nest religiously for three weeks. We are going out of town and I left strict instructions with our housesitters on what to do when the mama duck has babies under her. We leave tomorrow. This morning, I discover: Mama gone, eggs cold. Arghhhhh!!!! Six of seven eggs candled beautifully, the seventh is in question. They seem to have survived the cooling, and are now in the incubator. But I expect them to hatch while I'm gone. Grrr!! I put some refrigerated eggs in the nest in case the mama comes back. If she does and seems to be back on duty, I'll switch out the eggs. But she's been off for hours, and the eggs were not covered or tended to in any of her usual ways, and she left them in early morning while it was still cool, so I think she's done. I've got a request out to some homeschooling moms I know to see if anyone wants to hatch ducks this week. I'll send them all the equipment, and instructions, and be available by phone. They'd have to transport everything and then watch the incubator like a hawk to make sure it doesn't spike while they're getting settled. But it seems like a reasonable solution if someone's interested. If not, I think I will just lock them down early and ask the housesitters to watch for ducklings. I'll leave the brooder set up and they can just transfer ducklings after they all hatch or twice a day or whatever. Perfect timing.