At the school farm we’ve had quite a bit of success artificially incubating chicken eggs (with two batches of growing pullets to show for that effort) but rather less success with duck eggs – sadly, they often don’t hatch. It seems duck eggs are more sensitive to the conditions they are incubated in than chicken eggs – it may be our incubator isn’t sophisticated enough.
But, one of our chickens recently went ‘broody’, just like one of our farms wild bird in the spring she would like a clutch of eggs to sit on, to incubate and then hatch. We wondered if she would sit on duck eggs, so we swapped the various hens eggs she kept trying to sit one for some duck eggs.
It takes 28 days for duck eggs to incubate, but the hen was diligent and sat contentedly on the eggs. Thursday 9th was day 28 and we were surprised and delighted to find 3 lovely duckling with a very proud hen watching over them!
We don’t think the hen will take to water, but it’s clear the ducklings do – they were happily splashing around within hours of hatching…