Duck Egg Incubation – Day 36

Waiting for the duck eggs to hatch is like watching water boil. There’s a plethora of advice available about how to optimize an incubated hatch, but figuring out what works for a specific environment, type of egg, and incubator is a multi-factor challenge. Humidity needs, for example, vary by location; optimal humidity in an arid location would differ from a humid location. It’s challenging to keep the humidity at hatch above 65% relative humidity here without constantly adding more water, but putting slices of sponge in the water wells has helped maintain the higher humidity. Will that still be necessary in the summer? It may not be, but we won’t know until we try it.

Digesting more information about assisted hatching has also prompted us to reconsider our approach for future hatches. Specifically, we plan to focus more on assisted zipping (cracking the shell all the way around) and letting the chick kick out on its own, rather than removing the entire shell. This should allow more blood vessel/yolk absorption time, if needed, and the chick should be stronger when it pushes out of the shell.

With the duck eggs, we can only wait and see. If they don’t hatch tomorrow, we’ll try a “float test” to see if they’re still viable but slow to hatch or dead in shell (DIS). DIS would be disappointing, but there are so many variables involved in a successful hatch that there’s risk of loss every time and at every stage of development. The important takeaway is to try to learn from the experience and continuously improve. In the meantime, patience…

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