Questions on duck egg incubation

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by JennAK, May 7, 2017.

  1. JennAK

    JennAK New Egg

    3
    0
    2
    May 7, 2017
    Hi all! I'm a first grade teacher in Alaska, and each spring I've hatched chickens with fairly good success. This year I was talked into incubating duck eggs instead by a family who had access to local fertilized duck eggs and wanted to increase their flock size. We're on day 20 of incubation, and I'm worried about a couple of things and hoping folks here have advice for me!

    We've candled the 41 eggs several times already, and have removed 4 that were not fertile or had early embryo death. We opened all those eggs after making the decision and were able to confirm that there was no duckling developing. So now we are fairly confident that we have 36 potentially viable ducklings only a week away from hatching. Squeeeee!!

    Our ambient room humidity is very, very low (about 14%) and the highest I've been able to get the humidity to go in the incubator, even with all the water troughs in the bottom filled daily, is 55%. We've been keeping data, and the temperature has stayed about 99.6 and the humidity 45-55% throughout the incubation.

    I've been so worried about getting and keeping the humidity high enough, but now the air pockets to not appear to be growing much. The opposite problem! When I compare it to the size on the chart I found on this website, the air pockets are the size they should be for a ten day egg. Unfortunately I didn't have a scale to weigh the eggs, so I don't have any other way to know how much moisture they've lost. We've been misting and cooling the eggs for 15 minutes once a day since day 10.

    Our incubator does have a fan, and I'm just worried if they are wet and gooey and that fan blows on them it might be very hard for them to get out of the eggs without drowning first. I would really, really hate to have such a tragic ending, especially with a very excited audience of six and seven year olds. Any advice or tips would be appreciated!
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    69,931
    5,667
    671
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    @RavynFallen
     
  3. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

    11,573
    5,180
    501
    Mar 27, 2012
    Vermont
    My Coop
    Can you post a picture of the size of the air cells?

    If they are too small and you're still a week out from hatching, I would start now running the incubator without water. Keep the humidity very low so the air cells get a chance to catch up to where they should be. Continue misting, as this will help with the moisture loss.

    Then, when lockdown comes, you'll need to add more water surface area to get the humidity higher than where you've had it before. That might mean adding a damp sponge, adding paper towels trailing out of the water troughs, adding a baby food jar with a sponge sticking out the top of it, etc.
     
  4. JennAK

    JennAK New Egg

    3
    0
    2
    May 7, 2017
    [​IMG]
    They are all about this same size. It is day 20 today. Today I've taken out all the water from the incubator and will keep misting them daily.
     
  5. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

    11,573
    5,180
    501
    Mar 27, 2012
    Vermont
    My Coop
    Yep, they are looking a little small, but hopefully over the next five days they will lose enough moisture :fl
     
  6. Ducktown

    Ducktown Chillin' With My Peeps

    157
    80
    91
    May 8, 2017
    I have the same problem with one of 3 eggs I'm just incubating. It had lost far less moisture than the other two. I'm on day 19 and have similar air cell. I'm hoping they will get large enough before they hatch. I just started spraying it with water, I hope the trick works.. :)

    Good luck
     
  7. JennAK

    JennAK New Egg

    3
    0
    2
    May 7, 2017
    So without any water in the bottom of the incubator, the humidity is registering at 18%. Is it safe to leave it that low until Friday? It will be the end of day 24, and I had planned to take the eggs out of the turner and go into lock down. I will take all kinds of measures to boost up the humidity as high as possible with paper towels and sponges and such when I remove the eggs from the turner. What do you all think?
     
  8. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

    11,573
    5,180
    501
    Mar 27, 2012
    Vermont
    My Coop

    Yep, that's fine. You want it as low as possible to grow those air cells.
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by