I'm receiving silky duck hatching eggs in a few days, and it will be my first time hatching ducks. If anyone has any tips/tricks/hints or anything else to guide me along the way, I would REALLY appreciate it!
I've never hatched silkie ducks, so I don't know if they're different from Indian Runner ducks or not. But I have great luck running the incubator with very low humidity, using a standard auto-turner, then locking them down in egg cartons when I notice the first duck has pipped internally (I start candling around Day 23 to check for this). I lockdown with as high humidity as I can manage.
My latest hatch rate (this past weekend) was 85%. My hatch rates range from 75-95% with most of them in the 85-90% range.
You're here in NC, but I don't know if your humidity is similar to mine--where the heck is Rougemont? lol Whether your AC is running or not will impact your ambient humidity too, but really, I just don't ever go wrong using a very low humidity.
I'm going to start spritzing my eggs with water every day, to see if it helps soften the shell and raise my rates even higher. But I'm pretty happy at 85-90%.
"I have had a really hard time hatching them in the past, and I guess I'm not alone. Holderread's has had a difficult time too. Apparently the young ducks lay a really dense not very porous egg, that isn't able to dehydrate enough before hatch. I have a really hard time getting a decent sized air cell on them by hatch time. I have learned through trial and error, that daily spraying of the eggs is essential in the incubator. The best luck I have had was under a runner duck hen. Otherwise, it is sometimes necessary to help the babies out of their shells. They take about 26 days to hatch." (from Feather Acres)
I also have Silky Ducks and I have the hens hatch them, they always do a great job and surprisingly handle a pretty big clutch. I do however take the babies because last year I lost some due to the Hen forgetting about them once in a while.
The woman I purchased them from also suggested that I would most likely need to help them out of their shells. She said they develop beautifully, but then have a difficult time when it comes to hatching. I'll let you know how it goes in approximately a month!
iamcuriositycat, Rougemont lol is just North of Durham. I'm in Semora, NC. Bet you really haven't ever heard of it! I am right on the VA line about 40 miles N. of Durham, and I mean my house is 1.5 miles down the road from the state line.
I walk down there all the time, i walk across states!
I am really in the boonies, peeps isn't, i know where she lives cause I got some silkie chicks from her about a month ago.