Hello. I've acquired some Mallard Duck eggs and have them in an incubator. The mother duck abandoned them and they were given to our class at school. We have an incubator and a brooder. They are coming along nicely, we've been able to candle them and they're growing fast. We have several people on staff who have ducks and chickens who will be taking the hatchlings once they hatch. The problem I have is I don't know how old the eggs are. When I candled them and compared them to pictures online, they look to be around 20 days old. I'm not 100% sure, though. If they stay in the incubator at 99.5 degrees until the day they hatch, will that be a problem? We have planned for someone to check them at 10pm then again at 5am. That's the time period they will be alone. If there is a pip at either of those times, they are instructed to put the eggs in the brooder. We check on them through out the day between 7am and 4pm then the janitors are in and out, checking them periodically...then last check is at 10pm. The 5am janitor will check when he arrives. I hope all of this makes sense...I just really want to do right by these babies. I have been told that it takes the chick 30 minutes from first pip to hatch. Then I read on the internet that it takes a day or so. Which is right?
Just to recap, these are my questions:
Not knowing how old the eggs are, what should I look for when transferring them to the brooder?
Is it bad if they have their first pip in the incubator then transfer them to the brooder?
How long does it take for the chick to hatch, from first external pip to hatch.
I can try to provide a picture of the egg (candled) if there is anyone who can tell me how old the eggs are.
Not to worry. It takes much longer for a duck to exit the egg than a chicken. I don't normally move an egg once it's pipped anyways. I move to brooder after hatch and dry. Is there an automatic turner in the bator? Anything that may hurt the duckling? If not, he'll be fine for a day.....but there may be some risk to the unhatched eggs depending on the set-up.
Thank you for replying, Angela. The 5 eggs are in an incubator with a yellow rack that turns the eggs 3 times a day. I don't think it would be good for a duck to hatch in it. The incubator is big, it could probably hold 24 or more eggs. The whole floor is covered by the rack. I'm really hoping to be there when the first duckling pips. Thanks again for the info!
Turn off the auto turner. When it gets close to hatch, it's unnecessary anyway. If you can remove it...that's even better. Just put the eggs directly on the wire rack. I'm assuming that this is a styrofoam tabletop model, or something similar? I've used them for hatchers for years.
Separate the eggs in the incubator as much as possible. Hatching can be violant as it's difficult for them to exit the eggs and get upright. They should be fine, and 24 hours in the bator will NOT hurt them.
Thanks so much, Angela. Yes, we have the styrofoam tabletop model. I candled the eggs this morning and they're really starting to fill up the space under the air pocket. There's just a little bit of area where you can see veins. Once I don't see the veins, is that when I take the rack out? It won't hurt the embryo if the air pocket isn't up? Thanks!!! We're so excited to see the babies