Compared with the incubation of the eggs of other poultry, hatching duck eggs (and goose eggs too) require some additional precautions. So, let us to explain the method to obtain the best results when incubating the eggs of palmipedes.
Indeed, often the beginners who incubate duck and goose eggs use the same parameters as for the incubation of hen and general poultry eggs. The result is that many ducklings and goslings die inside the egg before hatching. What should you do to avoid this situation?
Before examining how to incubate duck and goose eggs, let’s try and understand how these birds behave in nature. These animals usually keep close to water and also the brooding females do the same. Indeed, once a day they leave the nest for various minutes, often to go to a nearby body of water to swim. When they go back, their thick feathering soaked in water increases the humidity of the nest for the eggs, which benefit from it. In addition, many species mate in water.
What the behaviour of these animals in nature can suggest to us to hatching duck eggs? Obviously, we can try to artificially recreate the conditions of natural brooding. Let’s see how.
First of all, many duck and goose species have difficulty in mating on the ground, so if you want to obtain a good amount of fertile eggs, it is better to assure the presence of a small body of water for the animals – a small basin or a tub may be OK, but the ideal solution is a small pond. Remember to somehow facilitate the entrance and the exit into/from the water for the animals.
Second, duck and goose eggs require a higher ambient humidity. At a temperature of 37.7 °C, the humidity of the incubator would have to be kept at around 55%-60%, trying to increase it afterwards during the hatching phase. From incubation day 9, we have to remove the cover from the incubator (or we have to open the device), and leave the eggs to cool down for 15-20 minutes. So, before re-installing the cover into the incubator, spray the eggs with lukewarm water (better if distilled water) using a normal sprayer. The above-mentioned operations must be interrupted the last 3 days, close to the hatching, where we will only increase the ambient humidity inside the incubator. Hatching duck eggs will be easier in this way.
It may also be necessary incubate duck and goose eggs together, or maybe duck together with Muscovy duck. You need to know that the development times of the eggs are different for the three above-mentioned species and, in particular, the incubation lasts about:
- Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos): 27-28 days
- Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata): 35-40 days
- Greylag goose (Anser anser): 29-30 days.
So, if you want to incubate duck and goose eggs together, you should start by incubating the eggs of the species having the longer development time and, after a few days, introduce the eggs of the species whose development time is shorter, so that the hatching phase will coincide for both of them. For example, if you want to incubate the eggs of Muscovy and common ducks together, you can start by introducing the eggs of Muscovy duck in the incubator and, after about 9-10 days, the eggs of the common duck. This way, the hatching should be more or less simultaneous.
Among the models manufactured by Novital, the incubator Covatutto 54 (both analogue and digital versions) demonstrated to be one of the most well-performing devices for the incubation of duck and goose eggs. Together with its excellent features of sturdiness, safety and reliability, humidity management is simple, also thanks to the opportunity to top up from the outside without opening the device. The size of this incubator and the movable spacers allow suitably managing the eggs of anatids of different sizes, as well as the incubation up to about 40 duck eggs or 15 goose eggs. Therefore, Covatutto 54 confirms to be a perfect support and an irreplaceable help to farm the above-mentioned animals.
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So, are you ready to measure yourself against the challenge of hatching duck eggs – and goose – and raise many ducklings and goslings? Novital will help you to be successful!