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Questions- Duck Eggs for Incubation

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by travs girl, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. travs girl

    travs girl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2012
    Kentucky
    I have read until me eyes hurt and then read some more. I want to incubate some of my duck eggs this year. I have found most of the information I need. But I do still have a few questions that I wasn't able to find the answers to from my research. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    Background info: I thought I had 1 male and 3 females, up until a week ago, when I discovered one of my females had started sporting a drake feather. So I'm re-homing him this week. My ducks are in a smaller enclosure so I only want 1 drake in my flock. So after re-homing him I will have 1 khaki campbell drake, 1 pekin female, and 1 black swedish female. My pekin should lay but not sit as pekins aren't broody at all. My black swedish should hopefully be a broody duck. I started finding eggs 5 days ago. Of those 5 days, I have found 4 eggs. Sometimes the eggs are laid inside the hutch and sometimes they are laid in random places outside of the hutch, around the enclosure. I'm not sure which duck is laying, the swedish or the pekin. I do already have an incubator set up. It’s a small incubator. I have run it for 2 days to monitor the temperature and check for accuracy. It does have an automatic egg turner, which I have also run for 2 days to ensure that it's working properly.
    QUESTIONS:

    1. Collecting: This is where I'm having the most trouble. I think I only have 1 duck laying and from what I’ve read the eggs should be collected every 7 days. So if I were to collect after 7 days, I would only have 5 or 6 eggs. 1. Is 5-6 eggs enough to put in the incubator or is that too few? The day time temps here are anywhere between 35-55F right now, with night time temps dropping in the 20’s and 30’s. So I’m not sure when to collect. I’ve read that eggs can be collected every day and then stored for about a week in a 50-60 degree environment. Our weather isn’t currently allowing for that so I’m wondering if I should even attempt to collect the eggs at all. Neither of my ducks are sitting on the eggs, so when they are laid, the eggs are subject to temps anywhere from 25-60F. 2. Does it hurt the eggs to sit in cold weather for a few hours, until I actually discover the eggs? It’s hard to know exactly when to check but I do check every day. 3. If I collect everyday is there some way I can keep the eggs fairly warm for a week until I’m ready to incubate? My fridge is too cold and my house is usually around 70F so I was afraid that was too warm.
    2. Feeding: 4. Do I increase my duck’s protein intake since they are laying? If I do this then my drake will also have an increased protein intake so I wasn’t sure if I should just stick with my normal feed or switch and take a chance on giving my drake too much protein.
     
  2. ChicagoDucks

    ChicagoDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2012
    Chicago

    Is 5-6 eggs enough to put in the incubator or is that too few?

    It depends on the size of your incubator. But you want all of your eggs to hatch at about the same time, so collect the number of eggs that you want to incubate and put them all in the incubator at the same time. Do not put eggs in your incubator and then add more eggs the following week.

    What kind of incubator and egg turner are you using?

    2. Does it hurt the eggs to sit in cold weather for a few hours, until I actually discover the eggs?

    Probably not. Worrying about it will drive you crazier than it's worth. Collect them daily and put them in your storage area until you are ready to incubate them.

    3. If I collect everyday is there some way I can keep the eggs fairly warm for a week until I’m ready to incubate?

    I put mine in a box in my basement until I am ready to incubate. You might find that your garage, mudroom, basement, attic or another unfinished part of your house is about the right temperature for storage (50-60F). Don't store them too long, because it will hurt your hatching rates. 1 week is fine, 2 is stretching it, 3 weeks is not a good idea.

    4. Do I increase my duck’s protein intake since they are laying?

    If you are giving them a duck/goose complete feed or Turkey Pellets, they are probably fine, just keep it up. The ducks are going to need additional calcium now that they are laying, so put out some free choice oyster shell.

    Good luck with your hatch! I hope it goes well.
     
  3. travs girl

    travs girl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 18, 2012
    Kentucky
    Thank you so much for all of the advice! I will make sure to only run only one batch at a time, and not to add. I get ahead of myself sometimes. I even considered getting 2 incubators so I could do a staggered hatch. But I decided that was too much to handle. I'm just wanting to dabble with incubating a time or two. So for right now I just have the Little Giant incubator and egg turner. I will probably buy the fan to make it a forced air unit but for now it is still air. I know this incubator isn't known to have the best hatch rates. We are in the process of moving. Once we move I will also have a nice sized chicken coop. So if my ducks don't do the job I will probably go with a broody hen for my hatcher.

    We have 2 storage units and I have access to a garage. So for now, I will use one of those for storage. :)

    I feed Dumor Poultry Grower/Finisher. It has 15% protein and is non medicated. The Layer Feed in this brand has 16% protein so it wouldn't be a huge jump, if I changed. I also give fruits/veggies about once a week when I clean out my fridge. My feed store carries MannaPro Oyster Shells. Would that be an okay choice? Here is the link http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/manna-proreg;-oyster-shell-5-lb?cm_vc=-10005

    THANKS!!!
     
  4. ChicagoDucks

    ChicagoDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

    266
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    Feb 27, 2012
    Chicago
    The Layer rations may have higher levels of calcium already--which can be hard on a Drake's kidneys (since he doesn't need the extra calcium). You are probably fine with the poultry grower and the Oyster Shells, especially if your ducks have space to forage for bugs and whatnot.
     
  5. travs girl

    travs girl Out Of The Brooder

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    24
    Jun 18, 2012
    Kentucky
    Okay thanks! I will stick with the grower. I also picked up a bag of the oyster shells. :)
     

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