How Long Do Duck Eggs Take To Hatch

Anyone who has successfully been hatching chicken eggs will be well-versed in the hatching process and shouldn’t need to make too many adjustments to hatch duck eggs.

However, it is good to know that hatching duck eggs in an incubator is more challenging than having hatched chicken eggs in the same way. Both types of eggs can typically be hatched in incubators. However, it is difficult to hatch chicken and duck eggs together.

Many duck breeds do not successfully lay and sit their eggs, though some do. When raising this well-known breed of duck or another that gets tired of sitting eggs quickly, learning how to correctly incubate duck eggs is essential to maintaining flock numbers.

With t this information, you may need to know after how many days duck eggs hatch. By the end, you’ll have enough information to know how to use a small incubator to increase your successful hatching rates and how long duck eggs hatch by using a bath towel, an old t-shirt, and a broody hen. (Read Why Do Roosters Crow In The Morning)

Duck hatching eggs

Two How To’s For Incubating Duck Eggs

You’ll find two methods to incubate fertile eggs and hatching duck eggs:

  1. Let your duck/ hen (broody) incubate duck eggs.
  2. Incubate duck eggs in an incubator.

Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages. Before choosing whether to use the duck mothers or an incubator, you need to know the ins and outs and which is best for your fertilized duck eggs and duck hatch numbers.

Hatching Duck Eggs With Mother Duck Or Broody Hen

If you decide to let your ducks hatch their own eggs, here are several steps to increase your duckling hatch success:

1. Choose Duck Breed

For parental instincts, some duck breeds perform better than others. Domesticated duck breeds no longer possess mother or egg-laying instincts to varying degrees. They’ve been hatched in incubators for generations, so the technique may tamper with their epigenetic “how to hatch eggs” manual.

2. Hatch At the Right Time Of Year

Compared to wild ducks, domestic ducks lay eggs for much longer. That your duck is laying eggs in the fall or winter does not automatically imply that it is a suitable time for her to rear ducklings.

When it’s chilly outside, even a duck with outstanding maternal instincts probably won’t be able to hatch a duck egg or keep her ducklings alive properly. Therefore, only allow your ducks to lay eggs from spring to summer when it is also the time when wild ducks lay eggs.

3. Provide a Safe Environment

The mother duck is unsafe for a predator, a broody duck on an egg nest during the incubation period. Ensure your mother duck is in a predator-proof coop or run so that she can finish hatching safely.

4. Supply Clean Water

To hatch, duck eggs need an exact relative humidity level, which will vary by stage. A mother recognizes this, and her feathers can deliver the right amount of moisture if she has access to swimming water.

A broody duck leaves the nest to stretch, eat, drink, poop, and swim/bathe. So make sure food, fresh water for swimming, and a water bowl for drinking are available during the incubation period and not too far away.

5. Monitor For Bad Eggs

A duckling’s mother may roll one of her eggs out of the nest. If so, the egg isn’t developing correctly or at all. She protects her other eggs by eliminating the bad egg. If the bad egg shell explodes, bacteria can contaminate her other eggs, killing the developing ducklings.

If you have any doubts, detect for viability by Sniff the egg for unpleasant aromas. Candling the egg in a dark room helps check the inner membrane and embryo for proper development. (Read Can Ducks See At Night)

6. Monitor Duck & Eggs From 24+ days.

Even if your duck has done an excellent job incubating her eggs for the first few weeks, you’re not out of the woods. If the mother duck becomes aggressive toward her eggs, separate her from them.

Likely, if this happens, you’ll need to find an incubator to finish the hatching process if you don’t want ducklings hatching as you are huddled up on the couch.

Incubating Duck Eggs

Happy Hatching Of Duck Eggs With An Incubator

Here are some tips to improve your chances of success if you want to hatch your own duck eggs using an incubator.

Use A Reliable Incubator

Duck egg development and hatching require optimal conditions before eggs begin to hatch. A good incubator that automates as many steps as feasible will make your life easier and increase hatch rates.

Pick the best duck egg incubator, depending on your budget and the number of duck eggs you plan to hatch. Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs; therefore, an incubator with several chicken eggs may not hold the same number of duck eggs.

Depending on your incubator’s features, you may need a humidity reader and wet bulb thermometer. Check your incubator after about four hours throughout the day to ensure everything is working, especially the temperature and humidity, and egg turning. (Learn How Long Can Wasps Live Without Food)

Use Duck Egg Hatching Guidelines

Some guidelines help with duck egg incubation:

1. Egg Placement:

Place eggs in a warm, humid incubator. If the eggs are raised, the air sac should face up.

2. Temperature:

  • Day 1 to 25: Maintain a temperature of 99.5 F
  • Day 26-28: Lower temperature to 98.5 F
  • Day 28: As ducklings begin to use their egg tooth and hatch, drop temps to 97 F.

3. Humidity:

  • Day 1 to 25: Keep humidity at 55-58%.
  • Day 26: Increase to 65% humidity.
  • Day 26 to 28: As ducklings pip, increase humidity to 70-80% while increasing ventilation by 50%.
  • Hatch: Once ducklings hatch, humidity should be 70% with full ventilation so ducklings can breathe and dry.

Note: If measuring “wet bulb,” it should be 86% from Days 1 to 25 and 94% from Days 26 to 28.

4. Cooling & Spraying

A mother doesn’t stay sitting on her eggs, so duck eggs adapt to these breaks, where eggs cool. Many duck breeders recommend adding this cooling cycle, which helps increase the hatching rate.

5. Turning:

Days 1- 25: For the first 25 days, the eggs should be turned regularly. A good incubator does this hourly.

If not, turn your eggs four times over 24 hours. The First 1-2 weeks of development are crucial for turning. During this time, turn your eggs seven times every day. Turn the egg about 50% each time.

Days 26+: Don’t turn the eggs during the last three days before hatching. This lets the duckling pip.

6. Mark Eggs

How can you know if your duck eggs are turning, even if your incubator is excellent and automatically turns the eggs for you? You cannot unless you mark your eggs, is the response.

When placing your eggs in the incubator for the first time, make a mark on the visible side, such as a dot, a line, or an X, and another spot on the opposite side. If you do this, you’ll know whether your incubator is operating properly or whether an egg is trapped and not turning.

Although it is unnecessary, you should use a candle to label the air sacs on your eggs to see how the blood vessels growth and the air cell’s extension are related.

When the hatching process is about to begin 25 days after setting, the air cell has grown to occupy about 1/3 of the space inside the egg.

Remove Bad Eggs

Before setting, remove any eggs that are cracked, soft-shelled, or double-yolked. A week after setting, “candle” your eggs every few days to check on their growth and ensure there are no bad eggs in your incubator. A bad egg can grow germs that infect other eggs in the incubator, so remove it quickly.

“Candling” implies holding a bright light on one side of the egg to gain an x-ray glimpse within the developing egg.

A healthily developing egg should vein after 5-7 days. If an egg is clear and veinless seven days after setting, it’s infertile; hazy suggests something went wrong and development stopped. (Read Why Do Flies Like Poop)

Newly Hatched Ducklings

Remove Newly Hatched Ducklings.

It’s tough to say exactly when to take a newly hatched duckling from the incubator. Leaving a hatched duckling in the incubator too long can harm it or the other eggs.

Once the duckling has come out of its shell and cleaned itself, we recommend removing it from the incubator and placing it on clean, dry bedding under a brooder lamp to give warmth. Place the brooder lamp so ducklings can escape if they get too hot.

Should I Leave Eggs With Their Mother?

Homesteaders may leave the eggs with the mother duck while some incubate the eggs. Before the hatch progresses, you’ll need to decide what you want and the hatching method that suits you.

Some things to consider before hatch day:

  • The Scale of Hatching: You will incubate the eggs if you have many ducks to monitor the hatching progress and ensure no errors are made during the procedure.
  • Duck Health: While incubating eggs, some ducks may not eat as much as they should. They will resume their usual lives and even lay new eggs if you remove the eggs.
  • Reason For Incubation: Choose natural and artificial incubation if you decide which methods are best for your soon-to-be newly hatched chicks.
  • Number of Eggs: You should also consider how many eggs a duck can incubate. For instance, Muscovy ducks can incubate up to 15 eggs. There is little reason for an incubator if you have a duck with one egg. A brooder box and mother duck or broody chicken hen are enough.


Why Is My Duck Not Sitting?

Some ducks don’t make good mothers and won’t sit if they expect more eggs. Ducks don’t lay all their eggs at once, but they incubate every egg at the same time.

Give your duck time, and she’ll sit on her eggs if they are fertile. If not, you’ll need to use an incubator.

How Do Mother Ducks Treat Unhatched Eggs?

Ducks can determine whether an egg is still viable. A mother duck will not abandon an unhatched fertile egg. A mother duck will leave the nest with the hatchlings if the egg is not viable.

How long does it take for duck eggs to hatch?

It takes 28 days to hatch fertilized duck eggs after a mama duck, or an incubator incubates them. However, this applies to species from ordinary mallards, not Muscovies, as these require 35 days to hatch.

Older eggs, lower incubation temperatures, or both can bring longer hatching times.

What hatch rate should you expect with duck eggs?

Prepare for success rates of 50–75% under ideal circumstances.

Which duck hens make the best mothers?

  • Excellent: Muscovy
  • Very Good: Mallards and Silver Appleyard
  • Good: Khaki Campbell, Rouen, and Welsh Harlequin
  • Average: Buff, Black, and Blue Swedish, Cayuga, White Layer, Golden 300 Hybrid Layer
  • Below Average: Black, Blue, and Chocolate Runner, Fawn, and White Runner, White Crested
  • Poor: Pekin, Grimaud Hybrid Pekin, Jumbo Pekin

How Long Do Duck Eggs Take To Hatch

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