Using a Forced Air Incuvator for Duck Eggs
The following information is what I have put together for myself, and comes from sources off of the web as well as books I have read. Since a lot of this is trial and error, on some of the information included below, I have included several ways to do things.
- Eggs to be placed in the incubator should be clean free of cracks and damage etc. This will reduce the amount of bacteria in the incubator. If a commercial egg cleaning product is used the humidity may need to be increased 5-10%.
- Set up your incubator 24-48hrs prior to placing the eggs. This way you can make sure it is functioning properly. The incubator should be placed in a room that has a steady temp.
- If eggs have been stored in a cool area allow them to reach room temp. for at least 6hrs. prior to placing in the incubator.
- When placing eggs in the incubator either place them on their sides or with the large end up. If you are hand turning an X should be marked on one side of the egg.
- Eggs that are hand turned should be turned 180 degrees at least 3 times daily.
- The temp. should be set at 99.5 degrees F. (I have found in my search 99.25-99.75 degrees F.)
- The temp should not be adjusted during the first 24 hrs. The cooler eggs will cause the temp. to read lower. The eggs should not be turned during this time. Turning starts on day 2.
- The wet bulb reading should show relative humidity of 55 to 60% (again I have found recommendations from 50%-65%). This is a wet bulb reading of 84.9-86.7 degrees F. You will need a hygrometer and a conversion chart for this. Most incubators that come with hygrometers provide conversion charts.
- Vents on the incubators need to be adjusted as directed by manufacturer. Venting is increased during the hatch.
- It is important to candle the eggs every 7-10 days and remove any non-fertile or dead embryos. See University of Nebraska Page
- It is important to monitor air cell development. If the air cell is too large, increase humidity and/or decrease ventilation. Individual eggs can also be sprayed with warm water. If the cell is too small, decrease humidity and/or increase ventilation.
- Three days prior to the hatch the eggs can stop being turned and the wet bulb temp. should be increased to 96.6 degrees F (90% relative humidity). The eggs can be removed to a separate hatcher or can be hatched in the incubator.
- If hatching in the incubator the incubator can be lined with cheesecloth to aid in clean up.
- After the hatch is complete it is important to sanitize the incubator.