Pekin brooded eggs close to hatching. Seeking advice.


5 Years
Against the odds my Pekin Wendi has brooded her 7 eggs for 3 weeks now so they are due to hatch next weekend. I have duckling accommodation all set up for them, a plastic 50L container with 50W reading lamp as heat source in a heated indoor room. Interestingly enough she chose the chicken laying box to brood them in and kicked the chickens out to use the Quack House as you can see in the photos. She is so broody now she has stopped leaving the nest and attacks anything (my arm) that comes close.

As a first time parent (both of us) I am a bit concerned as to what happens next. Ideally the eggs will hatch and I will remove them to the duckling home till they are old enough to join their parents (father is a black Cayuga called Bob). But should I consider removing the eggs and incubating them for the last few days? If she loses interest after a couple of days of hatching I don't want the last few to die due to lack of a bit of late care. Can I just keep the almost hatched eggs in the duckling box and let them hatch or would they still need a proper incubator? I have read posts on eggs but mostly about incubation the whole way through.


Victoria, Australia


Overrun with Runners
12 Years
Jan 3, 2010
Southern New England
Good questions, and glad to see you posted them days before you need the information.

I am not a hatcher, but @Marty1876 , @Lacrystol , @sumi have at least some hatching experience.

@Miss Lydia and others let their broodies hatch, and there is a hatching 2014 thread on here somewhere.


5 Years
Thanks @amiga. Any advice is welcome. When I opened up the laying box this morning there was a strong smell of rotten eggs but none of the individual eggs smelt bad. I candled them (22 days). They all had an air sac but no movement. I couldn't make out any features inside. I then put them each quickly in a bucket of water but none floated. So I have put all 7 back and Mama Duck back on them again after her (enforced) swim.

A week or so ago there were some eggs in the yard which I assumed she had kicked out of the nest. One was even lying on the bottom of the duck pond.

Thanks for heads up re thread. I had done a search but couldn't find anything.I'll try again.


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
I've only ever hatched ducklings in an incubator, so I can't advice you on the momma, but here is the thread Amiga was talking about: The Broody Duck Thread for 2014

I'd suggest to let nature take it's course here and just keep an eye on her and candle the eggs again in a few days so you can see if they are developing and if there are any quitters that may cause problems later. My pekin eggs started hatching on day 25 and the hatching process spread over 4 days, so you could expect to see some action anytime from day 25/26. The last duckling in my hatch actually took 4 days to complete the hatch from pip to finish, so don't worry if they seem to be taking an awful long time to come out of the shells :)

If there is a problem with the momma at the late stage and you need to incubate them, set your incubator at 99*F (forced air model) or 101*F (still air model) and keep the humidity at 65% (if the eggs are due to hatch within 3-4 days, prior to that 45-50% humidity). But as long as she's happy sitting, leave them under her and let her take care of it.

Best of luck and please keep us posted!


Hatching Helper
11 Years
Jun 13, 2009
Diamond, Ohio
Is she getting off the eggs are is she sitting on them full time right now? The first week they usually will get off the eggs several time before they commit themselves full time.


7 Years
Dec 17, 2012
São Paulo State, Brazil.
I read some more posts and realised I was calculating their due hatching date based on when I estimated the first one was laid+1 month. But it is when the last one is laid+1 month in which case they are only 2 weeks old.
The brooding to start counting the days is from when she´s sitting tight.
Just in case this is of interest, I only have muscovies and geese, but what I have done with my geese, is that sometimes there´s an egg or two that someone else has laid in the nest after she´s started to incubate. I leave mum to hatch out whatever will hatch out, then the other ones that are behind I put either temporarily under another broody birds, or I have had success keeping them under a desk lamp in the house at the right temperature, more or less, for up to a week. Or, sometimes I´ve had staggered hatches where I think the goose or gander has started incubating before she´s really finished laying, so I´ve had some with days in between. This way, the youngster that has hatched could be popped into a box for you to look after in the house until the others are hatched, but why do you want to take them away from the duck?


5 Years
thanks for replying. She has been sitting tight for over 2 weeks now. For a while she would go out once a day for a feed and swim but now only if I lift her off the nest to check the eggs.

My only reason for considering takeing the eggs off her and finishing in an incubator (which I don't own yet) is that I have read threads where people describe broody Pekins turning on their eggs just before they are due to hatch and attacking and killing them.


5 Years
I got around to buying a candler today and guessing from online photos that the eggs are at day 23-24 so a day or two earlier than I had calculated. They were all moving!

I am away from tomorrow till Sunday so it will be my house sitter who midwifes them. She has no more experience than me so just wanting some facts to give her.

1. it is usually quoted that duck eggs take 28 days to hatch. Is this till (a) internal pip or (b) fully hatched? Looking at candling photos out till day 28 I am guessing that is when they internally pip. Then it will take 2-4 days including external pip and fully hatched? If the (a) I should be back before they need to be moved.

2. I can leave them with Momma Duck for up to 48 hours before needing to decide if to bring them inside or leave there? There are a couple of chickens roosting in the laying box (she moved in on their turf and they are still roosting there though using empty duck house to lay their eggs!) in the mix so not sure how she or they will react.

I have decided to leave the hatching to Momma Duck as she has done a great job so far and all 7 embryos are vital.

Any advice around timing is most welcome!


5 Years
Thanks to all who replied - sorry for taking a while to get back. I left the eggs with mommaduck Wendi. She had 7 originally. There was 1 quitter and 1 didn't make it through the hatch so that leaves 5. They are all 2 weeks old now and doing fine and providing me with plenty of poop for my duckponics system. Thanks again for your help to this nervous first time carer.

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