Woody eggs under broody hen


7 Years
Jul 7, 2015
Monmouth County NJ
Unfortunately our female wood duck fell victim to a raccoon one night last week.. I checked her next box after dealing with the predator and found 11 eggs. With no other female woodies or mandarins nesting I figured the next best thing would be one of the broody bar rock hens in the pen next door. I candled the eggs last week after finding them and only saw egg and yolk but today I checked and saw veins with some sort of mass forming so I'm hopeful it might be successful. Has anyone ever had success incubating duck eggs (particularly wood duck) under broody chickens or any advice to offer on hatching the eggs/raising the ducklings assuming they make it, I'm fairly new to this sort of thing any help would be great - Thanks
That's awful...I'm sorry for your loss.

Hens can indeed incubate duck eggs. I do not have personal experience with this, but I've read quite a bit about it, because I'd like to place my goose eggs under a hen next time I decide to incubate. I've read they even do better than artificial incubation.

11 duck eggs might be a bit much for a hen. Make sure she's able to keep them all warm and turn them. You can mark them (don't use red obviously -- she might peck red) and check on her to see if the marks indicate turning. You might have to give them a manual turn 180 degrees once a day if she's not turning well. It's going to be a long incubation period, so make sure the hen is well taken care of.

Let us know how it progresses.
Thanks, this would have been her first time as a mama duck so hopefully we have some success and her legacy can live on! The eggs are actually quite small compared to domestic duck eggs and two broody bar rock sisters decided to share the same nest box so the eggs are more than covered lol what should I use to mark the eggs? Pencil? Crayon? I'll candle all 11 today to see how many are developing and toss any infertile ones.. What should I be doing for the broody hens specifically? Food/water in the box? Sorry for all the questions we've never hatched anything before but I'd really like to do everything if possible to make sure these hatch.. I'll try to get a few pictures of what's going on inside the eggs, thanks again
Make her a nice Brooder so she has food and water and a place to poop....I successfully used a Chicken Hen to set Ducks eggs about a month ago...Do not touch her eggs after you candle them and she will turn them enough times..I think Wood Ducks are on a 26 day incubation?..You might want to look that up though?
You also do not need to must or wet the eggs..The Hen will have the humidity right to hatch them...
How exciting....:wee

Best wishes!!
In your garage is best....No need for a box for the nest just build it out of straw and shaving and pop the eggs in...She will do the rest..Do not hover over her..She might cluck her head off, that doesn't mean anything ..She will settle down once your not in the garage....
Hey so I think we're on day 22.. Our hen has been sitting on and tending to the eggs like a champ, she seems very content with herself.. Are there signs I should be looking for that the ducklings are still developing? I haven't candled any eggs in like 2 weeks. Will the ducklings start piping from within the eggs when they're ready to hatch? Any advise is appreciated we've never hatched anything so it's exciting counting the days with our fingers crossed.. Thanks!
Hey man! Good on you and your broodie.

Mama knows best; I wouldn't touch them til day 28, see if anybody needs help. Go ahead and look up assist hatching techniques in case you find that one of the ducklings is having problems, and also be sure you can tell when an egg has an internal and external pip, and the general hatching process so you can recognize abnormalities.

Also make sure mom is getting adequate time to poop and eat and drink...She's got a week longer to go than she normally would.

Let us know!
Thanks, is there a way to tell if the embryos are still good? Candled one yesterday and couldn't see much aside from the air pocket at the larger end of the egg.. Read up on hatching and assisted hatching techniques, it seems pretty intense hopefully I won't have to intervene but I feel a bit more knowledgeable on the hatching process

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