A First Look at Incubation
Today I first began my research on egg incubation. I decided to start with ducks. Two questions immediately came to mind, and this is where I started. The questions were: “What do I need to do?” and “What do I need to buy?”
I started with the first question, ‘what to do’. I found some answers at https://www.wikihow.com/Hatch-a-Mallard-Duck-Egg. You basically Put them in a 98 to 99.9 degree (F) incubator at 50 to 55 percent humidity, and turn them three times a day (or more, but always an odd number of times). You do this for 24 days. On day 25, however, you decrease the temperature to 97-98 degrees (F) and increase the humidity to 70 percent. On day 28 they should hatch, and what you do next is crucial to their survival. Let them dry of most of the way, then move them to a ‘brooder’. This ‘brooder’ must be at least 6 sq. in per duckling, have hay, water, food, and a heat lamp. If they move away from the lamp, decrease the heat by moving to lamp farther away or decreasing it’s power or wattage. Do the opposite if the huddle under it. Monitor them carefully and provide for anything you think they need for best results. https://www.duckhealth.com/hatcduck.html mentions how important it is to look up your specific duck type before incubation to make sure none of the particulars (like temperature or hatch time) need to be different. It further specifies that you should be at 99.5 degrees (F) and 55% humidity. However, it said to turn the eggs four or more times a day. This contradicts my other information, which says to turn them three times a day, and to never turn them an even amount of times in a day.
Every few days, check the eggs and remove any dead eggs. This is done by holding a light up behind each egg and looking through the egg. This link https://www.metzerfarms.com/Candling.cfm has pictures of what they should look like at various stages. This egg-checking technique is called ‘candling’.
By this point I felt like I had a solid understanding of what i needed to do. So I advanced to my next question-- “What do I need?” This question was a little harder to find an answer to. I had been hoping to find an online list of everything I needed, but wasn’t able to. I looked up the selection at Incubator Warehouse. The prices were better than many competitors, and they offered a 1-year no-hassle guarantee. They had two Major Brands-- Hova Bator and Little Giant. I did some research, wondering what incubator I should buy. Many people said the Hova Bator was better, but they all specifically mentioned the model Genesis 1588, which is a little pricey. They all claimed it was worth it, but I wanted to start with something a little more basic. After further searching and utilizing the Incubator Warehouse Compare tool, I decided on the Hova Bator Ultimate Incubator and Brooder Combo Kit, which has everything you need to start, including a Feeding Kit and some instruction manuals.