Hatching call duck eggs

Hatching call duck eggs
Go Social

More than anything, a post on hatching call duck eggs might be just to show off some of this incredible cuteness. I mean, it is really too much!

Hatching call duck eggs

If you are receiving your eggs through the mail, unwrap them carefully and allow the eggs to rest (blunt end upward) for 24 hours before setting in your incubator.  

Eggs may not be perfectly clean, but that’s okay. If there are large chunks of debris on them you can remove them with a fingernail. I have also used a small piece of very fine grade sandpaper to clean. The key here is to avoid using liquids that could allow bacteria to enter the egg.

Much of the information available on incubating and hatching chicken eggs can be applied to ducks, as long as the important differences between these two species are taken into account. Since duck eggs take 28 days to hatch instead of 21, you may need to adjust your incubator.

Hatching call duck eggs

Hatching call duck eggs should be turned (either by hand or by a turner) from days 1-25 with a relative humidity of 50-55% (52% is ideal). My incubator shown here is a Nurture Right 360 and I love the visibility as the eggs hatch. If you have no idea which incubator to choose take a look at the list of egg incubators with automatic egg turning and other features our friends from Backyard Style.

For the last three days of the incubation period do not turn them or open your incubator if at all possible. During this time increase your humidity to 60-65%. Some folks will recommend up to 75% humidity but I find that this lower amount works for me.

I do like to “cool” my eggs for 15-20 minutes each day by removing the lid of the incubator for a little bit. When I put the lid back on I give the eggs a light spritz of water. I do this from day 8 until day 25.

Hatching call duck eggs

The pencil line on the eggs that you see here shows where the air pocket is at in the eggs. I mark this right as the eggs go into “lock down” for their final three days. I’ve found that the ducklings will unzip themselves right along this line when hatching. If I am hatching call duck eggs and I see a pip outside of that mark I can keep a close eye on it to see if assistance is needed.

Hatching call duck eggs

There is lots of information online, but I really like the details at https://www.metzerfarms.com/ They have a very nice visual of what hatching call duck eggs should look like when candled during their development.

Hatching call duck eggs

25 Comments

  1. Nice article, some good info for the kids as well. Thanks.

    Reply
  2. where can you get call duck eggs online? I haven’t been able to find any anywhere

    Reply
    • I know this sounds cliche, but have you tried EBay? There are some really great sellers on there. I would also say don’t be afraid to look up sellers on there and then do some investigating online to see if you can reach out to them and purchase directly.

      Reply
      • I was just wondering when you should expect to see development in an egg? I was told to candle at day 3 but I see no growth

        Reply
        • Yes, at day 3 (if conditions are perfect) you can see the start of small veins in the egg. Give yourself some time though. It is much easier to see at day 7! It helps to candle in a dark room with a bright light source. You can even use a cell phone flashlight successfully and I usually cut off a toilet paper roll to help direct the light on the egg.

          Reply
    • eBay!

      Reply
  3. I am having issues hatching my call duck eggs in a incubator. I dont have issues hatching regular ducks, do i need to do something different with call ducks

    Reply
    • Call duck eggs are notoriously difficult to hatch. The crazy part is that the really good, show quality ducks are the hardest because of their small bills! I can tell you that they do best when turned on their sides (instead of upright) and with a spray of water and cooling period each day.

      Reply
  4. I have a nest of call ducks that are close to hatching but the mom has disappeared within the last 24 hours! How long will they last without her sitting in them and how do I know how far along in development they are?

    Reply
    • Yikes! I hope I’m not too late getting back to you. Calls are notorious for leaving their nests right before hatching. At this point I would put them in an incubator. Since you’ve likely had warm weather it isn’t nearly as terrible as unattended eggs in February. Try looking at this guide for comparison to figure out how old they are: https://www.metzerfarms.com/Candling.cfm. And let me know how this turns out! Good luck

      Reply
  5. Can anyone help I’m sbout to incubate call duck eggs, when do they go into lockdown? Day 23 or day 25 ,?

    Reply
    • Day 25 is lockdown day for call duck eggs.

      Reply
  6. What temp do you set the incubator at? I am not seeing where you say it.

    Reply
      • What is your hatch rate typically, using this method? I tried a different method last time and my hatch rate was about 50% 🙁

        Reply
        • I am about 80% with my own farm-raised eggs. I am not afraid to assist in hatching though, and that has helped increase my hatch rate considerably.

          Reply
  7. Just ordered my first call duck eggs, I’m soooo excited!! Can you tell me WHY you give them a cooling period every day? And also, how do you go about increasing the humidity for the last days?

    Reply
    • Hi! The cooling and misting each day is to simulate the mother duck leaving the nest each day to eat and drink. Likely the mother would swim in some water too and this is the misting part of the equation. I’ve also read that the misting actually helps thin the shell a little to help with hatching.

      Reply
  8. I have 5 call duck eggs and 1 hatched on day 28. Today is day 29 and there is no sign of hatching with the remaining 4 eggs. I can see some slight movement when I candle the eggs but I don’t really think they have broken through the membranes. What should I do? How long should I wait before I try to help them hatch?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi Elise,
      I realize I am late in getting back to you. I would wait until day 30 before attempting to help if you cannot see them internally pip (aka break through the membrane). If your incubator temp is off just a little then they may need an extra couple of days to hatch properly.

      Reply
  9. How often do you turn the duck eggs on a daily basis

    Reply
    • An odd number is best, so I usually go with 3 times a day. It helps to put an X on one side and an O on the other so you can track turning better.

      Reply
  10. I hatch small numbers of Apricot Calls each year and I use exactly the same method as you. I do set my humidity a little higher during lockdown and like you, I am confident in my candling and assistance in hatching where needed. I would also agree that hatching Calls is VERY tricky and a 50% hatch rate (if you’re a novice) is pretty good. After many years of trying different methods, I get the best results with what I do now and also reach 80% on a good year. I agree that cooling and misting is really important (something I never do with my Shetland Poultry). My first – possibly only batch of 19 is ready to go in to the incubator this evening (I rarely trust their Mums !!). Once I am happy with the fertility and hatch rate of this batch I may have some eggs available (apricot and blue fawn) and Yes, I am a trusted seller on Ebay! Good luck to anyone having a go for the first time – the advice on this website is really worth following. Well done to Keri for sharing.

    Reply
  11. After they have pipped, how long should I wait until I assist them in hatching? I have assisted chicks before but never call ducks, one started pipping at lock down and today is day 26 and 2 more have pipped. The one from day 25 has not made any progress, I am thinking of assisting him/her in a couple of hours, I hate the thought of opening the incubator. I put 6 eggs in the incubator, I candled at day 10 and had 5 fertile eggs, at lock down I candled again and can see all 5 moving about, when I went to spray for the last time was when I noticed the pipping, so I made it a little bigger to make sure air was getting in. Thanks in advance

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.



Back To Top