Hatching Duck Eggs (part 2)

September 2, 2008 | By Anonymous

Humidity Readings

If your egg incubator is big enough there are some ways to measure humidity. One way to make your own wet bulb thermometer is to place the end of a short, hollow shoestring over the end of a thermometer. Place the other end in a container of water and put it all in the incubator. As the water evaporates from the cloth, the thermometer is cooled. If the air is very dry, much water evaporates from the cloth, cooling the thermometer. If the air is very humid, less evaporates which cools the thermometer less and a higher temperature is recorded. You can adjust the humidity by increasing the amount of water in the incubator or reducing ventilation.

Reading relative humidity is one of the more difficult things to do in a small incubator. Duck eggs require a little more humidity than chicken eggs do. Most small egg incubators (those that hold less than 40 eggs) have a well or two that holds water and generally don’t have an easy way to measure humidity. Try to follow the instructions included with the incubator as close as possible.

Turning Your Eggs

Turning your eggs is critical during the first week of incubation. Commercial egg incubators turn eggs every hour. If your incubator does not have an automatic egg turner, then a good tip is to turn your eggs an odd number of times each day. This is important so you don’t leave the eggs laying on the same side each night which is the longest period of time they go each day without turning. Draw a small pencil line on one side of each egg. Then when you turn them, it will be easy to see that you switched them from one side to the other. In small incubators, most eggs are turned on their sides. Try to set the eggs so that the large end of the egg with the air sac is higher than the small end.

Misting Your Eggs

Some breeders suggest that you spray waterfowl eggs daily. This can be done with a small amount of slightly warmed water. You can then leave the incubator open for a minute or so afterwards. Sometimes this can be of benefit. If you do it, start at day 7 and do not spray after day 25. The actual consequences of spraying are interesting. It changes the membrane of the egg so a greater percentage of moisture is lost during incubation. Ideally, a duck egg looses about 13% of its weight between the time it is laid and day 25 of incubation. Loosing significantly more or less than this reduces hatchability.

SOURCE: www.duckeggs.com/hatching-eggs.html
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