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christie71_gw

First time hatching Duck eggs!!

christie71
15 years ago

Hello--

This is my first time hatching duck eggs. I have used a samll dome like incubator. The temp hasn't been as steady as I would have liked during the process but I do have one egg that is tapping and cheerping at 22 days of incubation. The other egg seems to maybe be making a faint sound and nothing from the third(there are three total).

OK my question-- how long should it be before my cheerping tapping chick will appear? Should there be a time a time limit at this point? How long do I give the other two eggs?

For a brooder I have a 4" deep plastic container for them. I plan on putting a box(three sides) over the one corner witha heat lamp and using shallow dish with marbles for water and food. I am planning also using wood shavings for the bedding. Anything I havn't thought of? Any advice is greatly appreciated!!!! Thank you:)

Christie

Comments (67)

  • Yorkipup1_sbcglobal_net
    11 years ago

    Hi this is also my first time hatching ducks and from what your telling I think your on the right track.I have three duck eggs and all are moving inside egg when candled.should be hatching in next week.I did what you are going to do so I think you'll be fine:)

  • Veronicaclancy_aol_com
    11 years ago

    This is also my first time hatching duck eggs. 2 weeks into laying on her eggs, my runner was killed by a fox. Now I have them in the incubator at 99.5 degrees and they are due to hatch anytime!! Yesterday was the 28th day of incubation. I know that runners should hatch after 28.5 days. I do see the eggs moving a little, mostly when I talk to them. Is this a guaranteed sign that they should hatch soon? I'm am beginning to get nervous because I do not see any signs of them beginning to break open the egg. I do not have a controlled way of measuring humidity, but I'm am confident it is high enough. I have both troughs in the bottom of the incubator full as well as a sponge that stays moist without me misting it. Does it sound like I might be seeing some ducklings soon? Should I be doing something differently? Thanks for your help!

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  • Bigkitty_optonline_net
    11 years ago

    Hi All
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    11 years ago

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  • bunsie12
    11 years ago

    hi i need to know if duck eggs start to move around the inside of the egg a week before hatching as my friend is hatching three for me and dosnt think there has been any improvement the last few days.as this is our first time we are not sure what to look for.thankyou.

  • brendasue
    11 years ago

    Yes they start to move, you can "feel" them.

    Candle the eggs to make sure they are viable if you don't feel movement. If not start over.

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  • hamlinmom_aol_com
    11 years ago

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  • Jewel1602
    10 years ago

    Anybody doing any "hatching" this Spring, please post.

  • marc1985
    10 years ago

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  • tetrouge
    9 years ago

    My female mallard started laying Feb 10, 2013, layed 9 & took a break for about 4-5 days, started laying again, same nest. The nest reached total of 12 & I stepped in & took 4, am incubating (first time ever) in homemade incubator. As of today, March 6, 2013, she once again has 12 eggs. Just wondering if she is "ever" going to go the incubating them? Also have silly ???, why is it so critical for temp & humidity to be constant at certain settings. That mama duck isn't carrying a thermometer/humidity gauge around with her all the time & ducks have been doing this for quite some time. In fact, during the incubation period of 28 days, she even leaves the nest at least twice a day to eat, drink & swim. Surely those eggs cool down when she is off of them. Would like some feedback on this please?

  • gardnpondr
    9 years ago

    I didn't read ALL the post so maybe someone said this. When I incubated some duck eggs years ago, and I have the Storeys duck book...... I had read to place the incubator away from your air cond. vents in your house so the temp will stay more consistent. IF you can't get the humidity up like it tells you, wet a clean sponge in warm water and place inside the incubator and that will help get the humidity up. But like someone said, get that book Storeys guide to raising ducks. Its a GOOD book! with may many details on raising ducks. I raised about 60 from eggs myself many years ago and dearly LOVED messing with them! They are a hoot!

  • kimbo13
    8 years ago

    Hi, im incubating 4 kayuga duck eggs, last night im 99.9% sure that I heard noise coming from one egg, however today so far I havent heard anything.
    im on day 28 so they should be hatching soon.
    should I be worried that the noises have stopped, or could they be sleeping.
    obviously ill continue to watch and wait, but id like to hear from anyone in the know :)

    thanks

  • 123sophie123
    7 years ago

    Hi

    I have had my Pekin ducks for almost a year now and well I want to hatch some ducklings from my ducks because I only have 1 female and 3 males so how should I make sure that the eggs are fertile on the first day I get them because I already am making a incubator for them. So please help me I am very new at this.

    -Sophie


  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    Sophie, I would agree. If you have three drakes and only one duck, you probably want to get a couple more ducks (females). Are you very handy, in terms of making things? An incubator can be quite a project. Those Styrofoam incubators, which are sold in feed stores, are okay. But they rarely work well past one year, and regulating humidity is a BIG thing when incubating duck eggs. The Styrofoam incubators don't do a great job of regulating humidity.

    The absolute best way to hatch your eggs would be to have a duck set on them. Some Pekins will go broody (decide to set) but the breed isn't known for being good at it. If she is inclined to hatch her own eggs, the first sign will be that she will start laying them in one spot, probably a shallow depression in some secluded spot. Leave them there! Ducks will lay an egg every day or two, leaving them alone until they have a full clutch. Then, just a day or two before they start to incubate their eggs in earnest, they will sit tight on the nest, only leaving for an hour or two a day (food and bath break).

    If you should have chickens which are inclined to set on eggs, you can use them. Chickens do alright. Though, if you go this route, consider misting the eggs (hand sprayer) once a day. Chickens don't maintain the same humidity ducks do. A momma duck takes a daily bath, returning while still damp, to set on her eggs.

    If you have three drakes and only one duck, then, you needn't worry about fertility! They should be fertile!

    There have been several mentions of Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. That is an EXCELLENT suggestion. There is a lot to hatching ducklings. There is more to raising them. For instance, unless free ranged, it is not a safe thing to leave ducklings in contact with a drake. Some drakes will kill ducklings. Also, one needs to be very careful with waterers. With some water pans, a duckling can get in for a drink and dip, but then, cannot get out. It will drown within an hour or two. I put out those chick waterers which attach to a Mason jar. Then, when we graduate to a water pan, I always place some stones in the bottom, near one edge, so a duckling can "get a leg up" in exiting.

    George

    Tahlequah, Oklahoma

  • Andrew Bishop
    7 years ago

    I live on a lake and have watched a mother duck abandon her eggs for hours when the outside temp was like 70. She has only 2 duds out of ten. The last couple of days she stayed with them. So all this baloney about temperature change has just been debunked. She even hatched them on our cold rock scape behind a bush just under the kitchen window. Yeah I get the farmer no it all advice on here but wild ducks still make it with out incubators, smart phones , regulated Temps and tvs.

  • Macmex
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Andrew, I already said that the best incubator for hatching a duck, is a duck. But not everyone has that luxury. I also, already stated that a mother duck will leave the nest for an "hour or two" a day, while she bathes and eats. But when one tries to imitate mother nature it often takes a lot more care and effort to get satisfactory results. Sophie has Pekins, which sometimes lack the brooding instinct. So, what problem do you have with her trying to incubate some eggs with an incubator? How do you think non-broody breeds of domestic duck are propagated if some form of technology isn't used? I see no mention of smart phones or televisions above, other than in your own post. Exactly what "farmer no (sic.) it all" are you referring to? WIth what do you disagree? Let's be specific.

  • redtartan
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    As someone who has Pekins, I can attest to the fact that they do not make very good broody ducks. I did have 1 out of 15 that wanted to sit so I let her. She abandoned the eggs at 2 weeks 5 days. They are not know for being maternal. It doesn't mean they won't just that they are not as good as says a Campbell or Muscovy.
    1 to 3 Female to male is very low. I have 15 females to 4 males and have a 92% hatch rate. You may find the males start to gang up on her. Ducks are very sexual. She is at risk for some injury. Not saying it will happen, just that that is something to be aware of.
    Unfortunately the only way that I know of to tell if eggs are fertile before incubating is by breaking them open. I would get a clutch together, incubate and candle. You should start to see blood vessels within a few days. The longer the eggs sit before you incubate the less likely they will hatch than the freshest ones. You need to keep humidity high with duck eggs too, so make sure you get a hygrometer. I know of people who mist their duck eggs. My neighbor's sister has a duck farm and they do that. It's supposed to give higher hatch rates. However, we don't mist and had excellent hatch rates.
    I'm actually going to try a clutch of Pekin / Muscovy crosses since I have a recently adopted female. I started collecting her eggs a few days ago. If I can get her to sit on eggs though, I'm thinking I am going to do that.
    Good luck, let us know how you make out.

  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    We once hatched a clutch of Muscovy/Campbell crosses. They hatched splendidly and grew very well.

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    I finally got around to putting some Muscovy/ Pekin crosses in the incubator last night. 31 days to go. We'll see in a few days how many are fertile.

  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    I can't say with certainty, if it's exactly the same, when done in an incubator, as under a duck. But usually, if a duck egg goes bad during incubation, it'll look kind of greenish. If you see one in the incubator, which stands out because it's kind of greenish, I'd remove it before it can explode and contaminate other eggs. On the flip side, if you don't see any off color eggs, I bet you're going to find that most of the eggs are fertile!


  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    What I normally find is you wont' see any movement if there is late death (which I find happens rarely). I've seen ones with bacterial growth right in and you can for sure see and least with my pekins and chickens that aren't super dark green or brown eggs. I've only ever had one bad egg (chicken) and you could actually smell it. I VERY carefully removed it. LOL

    I'm just not sure if the guy is managing to do his job or not. LOL I'll candle them in a few days to look for blood vessels rather than waiting longer. Since it's only 1 hen that is a Muscovy the oldest eggs are 16 days so, we'll see. That's pretty darn old. I have considered added some Pekin eggs at day 4 to fill up the incubator. In theory they should all hatch at the same time.

    One thing I like about duck eggs is they are so easy to candle, you don't have to guess. I have some easter egger hens that you cannot see through the egg at all so you just have to leave them in the incubator and wait.

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    10 out of 16 of the Muscovy/Pekin cross were fertile and growing lots of blood vessels. Not sure if the fertility rate is naturally lower or if it's because these eggs were collected over 16 day period. My fertility rate with my pekins is 92% so 63% is shockingly low. Hopefully they all make it to hatch. I put in a few pekin eggs in between day 4 and 5. Also the Muscovy is looking pretty broody. She keeps hanging out in one of the chicken nest boxes and I noticed she had pulled lots of her feathers and put them in there so I may give her a clutch to sit on.

  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    When a Muscovy pulls out down and lines her nest, that means she is ready to sit on eggs and stay on them.

    The lower fertility might have something to do with the longer time over which the eggs were collected. I'm not familiar with the figures on duck eggs. I know the recommendation for chicken eggs is 10 days maximum. Turkey eggs can be held longer.

    We just had about 35 white Muscovies hatch under two different mothers. One more and we'll meet our quota for the year.

    George

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    I was thinking the longer time too, but some of the eggs that were on the older side did better. I was always under the impression of 10 days for duck eggs as well. The odd thing with this girl is that she is laying elsewhere but hanging out in that box and lining it. Her and her mate think they are chickens so I might give her a few chicken eggs to set. LOL


    That's a great hatch for two mothers. I'm not too familiar with Muscovy types and haven't looking into the breed other than the basics. The girl we adopted is all white with red face, no cresting. She's pretty but so dirty. I really wish they liked water. I do like how Muscovies are quite though. Our Pekin female are insanely loud. My husband can be 20 feet from me in the barn and screaming, "I can't hear you." LOL

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    I candled the eggs this morning to see how they were doing. An early death for another cross egg so I am down to 9. I should have put more pekins in the incubator since I'm now down to such a small hatch to begin with only 15 in there. I do notice those crosses do not look like a 13 day old duckling to me so they definitely a slower grower. I still have 19 days to go, so hopefully we won't have any more deaths in that time.

  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    It has been many years since I hatched any duck eggs in an incubator. But it doesn't surprise me that they are taking longer. They say that Muscovy eggs take 35 days. I can never quite nail the hatch date, when my ducks do the incubation.

    It's wonderful that you have enough experience to recognize the difference between the mallard derived and the Muscovy derived eggs, while in incubation.

  • gardendawgie
    7 years ago

    The two of you are super at incubation. way better than I ever was. Nice to learn that people can do such a great job at incubation. nice going. pat yourself on the back for many jobs well done!

    Maxmec nice to see you after all these years. I tried for personal message but this new board does not allow for much of that. You once sent me some of your squash seeds which I grew and the Jalapeno which I grew. I loved the Jalapeno. but I lost everything in the economic bust of 2010 and now am raising a smaller garden in pots. foreclosed and bankrupted in 2010 alive and gardening a little in 2015.

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    gardendawgie - Believe me, I've had my share of incubation horrors. You can read and read about something but it's not until you actually do it yourself that you really learn. I've had thermostat failures, low humidity, babies to hatch. This will be a new experience for me too with the crosses. I hope what I read was right and they take 32 days, that way the timing of when I put in the Pekin eggs should be right. Hopefully it doesn't end up as a horrific failure.

    I do want to get a larger incubator though. It seems that for me the ducklings are what has the interest for people. Our hobby farm has been a rather expense venture. It's not easy that's for sure. We were considering re-financing because of all the expenses we have had just to get it up and running but have now decided to sell off some of our livestock. So I sold a few of my beloved goats recently and we'll be selling two of our cows this weekend. I'm thinking I want to get into ducks as a business. We already have most everything we need, just need to put the plan into action. It would just be to make enough to still allow us to raise the other animals as meat for our family and as pets but still keep a roof over our head with all the stuff that still needs to be done to better the farm.

    I will post pictures if the hatch is successful. They still have just over 2 weeks to go.

  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    Gardendawgie, in order to message under Houz, you have to use the "following" feature. I just went to your profile and clicked on "follow." So now you should be able to message me. If you follow me, then I can message you.

    For years now, folk have been saying that the economy is improving. But so far as we have seen, it's all mainly a lot of fast talk. Prices are up, wages don't keep up with the cost of living. There may be more jobs than there have been, for a while. But they are almost all part time, with no benefits (Thanks to The "Affordable" Health Care Act).

    Littlemonkeys3, I feel your pain. We are trying to make the homestead pay for itself. It's not at all easy. I work a full time job. My wife works a part time (better paying) job. We've started two small, independent businesses. I have a nursery license and sell sweet potato slips, etc. We raise and sell Buckeye chickens (mainly chicks). Literally, we both work, at least, two full time jobs. Yet we barely make it.

    Ducks have great potential, especially if you are near an urban/cosmopolitan area. International/cosmopolitan people more often appreciate duck meat and duck eggs. I am convinced that, if allowed to free range, my white Muscovies are more practical than any chicken.

    Sale of livestock fluctuates from year to year. One year I can sell a certain kind of livestock and another they don't sell at all. This winter I had a run on White Muscovies. I wished I had saved aside more to sell "on the hoof."

    Then, there may be a niche for raising certain breeds. I've sometimes toyed with the idea of raising Anconas, as they are relatively rare, yet quite practical, according to what I've read in Carol Deppe's book The Resiliant Gardener. But in the end, I can't stretch myself any thinner by taking on another breed of duck, and, I have to admit, that I cannot imagine an improvement on what we already have.

    Okay, here's a video of one of the ducks with her newly hatched ducklings. This video is several hundred megabytes in size.

    Super Muscovy Momma

    George

    Tahlequah, OK

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    Another Muscovy/Pekin death. I think this one I missed at the last candling because there are no blood vessels present any longer. I didn't crack the egg, but from candling it looks somewhere around the day 10-12 mark. I've never had these issues with my Pekins. Not sure if it's this particular hen or the fact that they are a cross where the one breed is not mallard related. Pretty disappointing, but we'll see how the outcome is.

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    Two more on the weekend that I had to toss. Such bad rates. Perhaps could also be due to the fact that I think this Muscovy female this is her first year laying. She's now getting more of the facial bumps (sorry haven't checked into what they are called) so I'm not even sure if she's a year old or not. I don't know but it's so much worse than any rates I've had with my Pekins. Normally we have about 11 out of 12 make it to maturity and that's feedback from others that have hatched as well.

    Anyway topped up the water this morning and took out the slats in the incubator since the 25th is hatch day. I did all my barn chores, came back in for some breakfast and hear this really loud cheeping. A duck hatched early. Not good. I had the same thing happen last hatch. Ever since I leant my neighbor my incubator last year I've had issues with it. Hoping I didn't shrink wrap any when I opened the incubator to add water. Here's the impatient one



  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    Also adding, I think this could be one of the crosses so maybe they only take 28 days and not 32. That would be ideal if I give it another try after this.

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    Looks like there is a second egg that has a pip. Can't see any others with pips through the incubator. I guess this guy will be spending a few days in the incubator while the rest finish baking.

  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    I understand that the crosses do hatch earlier than a pure Muscovy. Though, I don't know if the male to female (Muscovy drake or duck to Pekin drake or duck) direction make any difference.

    I just had a terrible hatch of turkey poults. I attribute this, mainly, the terrible rain and humidity we experienced over the last month. We finally had to put on the AC to try to bring the humidity down.

    I think you'll love these little "mule ducks."

    George

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    Thanks George. I too had read they hatch earlier. Several places said 32 days, which would be the 25th. I added some Pekins 4 days in since they are 28 day hatchers. I'm wondering if maybe there is a difference or maybe my temperature is off, but when I did candling they weren't developing faster than their age. I guess I'll just have to wait and see. Last time I did the Pekins some did pip 3 days early too. Others weren't even ready to hatch though. Not sure what's going on.

    It's never a good feeling when a hatch doesn't work out is it. What breed of turkey were you hatching?

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    Actually it looks like that other egg might not have been pipped. It's in the middle so it's hard to see since the duckling has knocked them all around. I think it might have just been gunk from the first one that transferred on to an egg. So I think it's pretty well either a single early hatcher or I may have inadvertently put in a Pekin on day one with the crosses. The eggs do look slightly different, but it's possible there was one that looked close to the cross ones. Anyway that guy should be good for about 4 days so I think I'll just leave him/her because the others are not close enough to hatch date yet. Hatching eggs really helps to develop your patience.

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    What a horrendous hatch. If having an early hatcher wasn't bad enough also had power outtages last night. So I opened up the eggs and every single one had pipped, but membranes were all like paper. A little less than half had died in shell, the rest I have half hatched for now. Here's the kicker, every single one, live and dead has had a large yolk sac still. Above all I think the #1 problem was that the eggs were too small. I didn't know the age of the female (we adopted her) so I think the ducklings ran out of room, most had almost no air space. Or this could be because the Pekins are larger than the Muscovy. Perhaps a better crossing would be Pekin Hen with Muscovy drake. I may try it again but I'll see if the Muscovy will go broody.

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    Just updating again incase someone reads this in the future looking for hatch issues.

    1) Looks like Duckling #1 was a Pekin, since all others from the crosses seem to also have brown.

    2) Of the rest of the eggs that made it to hatch day, I opened all up. 4 had already died, and they all had very large yolk sacs still. They were all the crosses. All had already internally pipped through and one had externally pipped.

    3) Of the rest of the viable eggs 5 are Pekins and 2 are the crosses. The crosses have much larger yolk sac than the Pekins. All have their body out now, but I have them wrapped to given them more time to absorb the yolk sac.

    4) The Crosses are much smaller than the Pekins.

    5) The early hatcher was actually one of the Pekins that I put in at a later date. I only put in 6 Pekins total and the amount of Muscovies live and dead add up to the total I had left. So that's a second hatch in row that I have had an early hatcher. There has to be some genetic component to that. We're talking like 3 days early.

    6) Opening the incubator on what should have been the last day to add water caused a major quick decrease in humidity which lead to dried membranes. Once the membrane dries like that there is no way the duckling can hatch on it's own.

    7) Eggs that were from a new layer lead to ducklings running out of room. Some were right up into their airspace. I'm not sure what a good weight for Muscovy is, but find the Pekins at 3.4 oz or above seem to be best for hatching.


    So if all 7 still in the incubator survive, I'll be at a 50% hatch rate for the 10 original fertilized Crosses plus 6 Pekins. Pretty poor results, but if they all survive at least it's better than just 1.

  • redtartan
    7 years ago

    One of the two crosses ripped open it's yolk sac and didn't make it. One Pekin didn't make it, just rough hatch. So there are 4 Pekins left in the incubator and 1 cross. The cross and 3 of the Pekins are doing great. I had tied off their yolk sacs and they are just little stubs now. They are energetic and trying to stand. The other Pekin is pretty weak, it's stub is quite large still.

    I've decided to look for an incubator that you don't have to open up to add water. This is the second hatch in a row that I've had issues. The chickens I've hatch seem to do a little better since they don't need as high of humidity. I have a Brinsea and it was pretty expensive (I'm in Canada and we pay over double US rates). I'm I just can't keep the humidity up in it. I just wish we had more variety available to us here and at better prices.

  • marksm1958
    7 years ago

    Hello,

    My duck laid one egg on Sunday the twentieth and I'm not sure if she laid on it at all on Sunday, is there still a possibility that it might hatch? She then laid one today (Wednesday the 23rd)! She has been laying on them now! If she continues laying eggs through fall and winter do you recommend getting a incubator?

  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    You could save up eggs and hatch them in an incubator. What kind of duck do you have? If she is a Muscovy, you can just leave the eggs where she lays them and in a week or two she'll build a nest around them and start incubating them herself.

  • marksm1958
    7 years ago

    I got her and a male from Orschelns so I don't really know what kind they are but I did some researching and I think they are magpie ducks! How long can the eggs wait in the nest till I get an incubator? or do you think I should leave them in the nest for the mother? If I do leave them with her do I need to lock her and the other one in the coop with the nest?

  • marksm1958
    7 years ago

    I just checked this morning and she know has four eggs! And both ducks seem to be taking turns laying on them! Do you still recommend getting an incubator for the cold season?

  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    Look on the Internet to find out if Magpie ducks will incubate (set on) their own eggs. As long as they are not in with a lot of other birds, I suspect that she would succeed in hatching her own. Sometimes they lay an egg every other day, until they reach what they consider to be a full clutch. Before they are actually starting to set on the eggs seriously, you'll notice that she will start building the nest and lining it with fluff from her own breast. This is, of course, if she will set on her own. I reckon that those eggs will be good for at least two weeks, while she gathers more.

    If you decide to use an incubator, I'd recommend one with a thermostat, hydrometer, forced air and egg turner; that is if you can afford it. I used to purchase the Styrofoam cheapo incubators, about every 12 months. They would get contaminated during hatching and after a couple of uses there was no way to use them successfully, as the eggs would become contaminated and cause sick, deformed chicks. Ducks require a bit more humidit'y for incubation, so you'd have to research that.

    I have hatched duck eggs under a broody hen. That works. But once they hatch, you have to take the ducklings and raise them yourself. The hen doesn't "speak the same language" as the ducklings. They don't communicate well and the ducklings abandon the hen after less than a day.

    Hope this helps,

    George

  • marksm1958
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Where would I get that kind of incubator? I looked it up and found this "Little Giant Farm & Ag Miller Manufacturing 9200 Still Air Incubator"! You will have to look it up!

  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    You could shop around. Here's a site I found with a quick look. I have the 1502 Sportsman Cabinet Egg Incubator. But they also list a 1588 Genesis Hovabator Incubator, which has all the accessories I mentioned. It says that this incubator can hatch up to 50 eggs at a time, while the 1502 Sportsman, theoretically, can hatch over 200.


    Kemp's Koops

    George

  • Macmex
    7 years ago

    Marksm1958, it's hard to say, especially since I can't see your arrangement. It could have been just exactly what you suggest. I'd probably wait and see if any more disappear.



  • marksm1958
    7 years ago

    Thank-you so much for your help!

  • Jack Chandler
    6 years ago

    hi there I am hatching ducklings that are due to hatch any day now, I am very worried I wont be their when they hatch. will they hatch safely without me or are there risks.

    jack