Caring for Duck Eggs

Maintaining the proper temperature and humidity is important when incubating eggs. This guide is about caring for duck eggs.

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A duckling being hatched.
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Yesterday my little brother and I were at a local park with a lake/pond. Well there's geese and ducks there and my little brother was feeding the ducks while they were laying down, he got too close and they jumped into the water. After they swam away he found an egg in shallow water. We grabbed the egg and took it home and put it in blankets and under a lamp that lets off a lot of heat. It also has small crack. I need to know what I need to do. Also when I candle the egg, you can see the embryo at the top.

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    With the small crack the egg will not hatch. It is best to discard it before it begins to rot and smell really bad.

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    I had several duck eggs laid about two weeks ago, 12 in total. I noticed two days ago one egg was out of the nest about two feet away. Today 4 more seemingly were kicked out again all about two feet away. One of the eggs the very top was broken off and looked to have some egg yolk left but not much else. I see ducks over there every day. Are these eggs not good or what could have happened?

    Duck Eggs Moved Out of Nest
      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      If the ducks are not sitting on the eggs and/or they have rolled away from the nest, and are cold for even a short time (only a few hours), then the babies are dead.

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      ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      I found a cold egg in a park and I family visited. It had been there for about 5-6 hours. I've been keeping the egg fairly warm and still. The egg had been laid that day and I'm not sure if it has even been fertilized, but now my siblings and I are so exited to maybe have a little duckling.

       Duck Egg
        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        If the egg has been cold for several hours, any inhabitant was most probably dead long before you found it. Also, even if there was a living embryo inside when found, it would have died as the embryo requires specific temperature and humidity over time to survive.

        ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        I found an egg the size of a chicken egg lying in a creek today. I was wondering if anyone knew what kind of egg it is and how to look after it. It was really cold so I ran it under some warm water. I hope it's okay. Now I just have it in a blanket under a lamp.
        I don't know what to do next!

        Kind Regards.

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          Sadly, I agree with the previous posters. I think it is very likely that the embryo in that egg is dead. If it was in water and very cold, that would kill it. I have hatched chicken eggs in an incubator in a school science lab, and they need a constant warm temp, a fairly high humidity, and need to be turned twice a day. It takes about 22 days, if I remember correctly, maybe longer.

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          I noticed this morning that a mallard hen made a nest in my backyard. This afternoon I had a yard service put mulch down. When I got home the duck was gone and the eggs were covered with mulch. I uncovered them and I really hope she'll come back! Do you think she will return? How long will the eggs be OK without her setting on the nest?

          By Monte from Overland Park, KS

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          I agree, please contact your local fish and wildlife office, they may have some ideas. Good luck

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          Yesterday I found 4 duck eggs and I have been watching them. The mother hasn't come back, so I took them into my house and I am keeping them warm. I need to know when they are going to hatch, which then leads me to needing to know how old they are. Does anyone know how to tell how old an egg is?

          By Gracie

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          Take a toilet paper core, the egg and a flashlight into a dark closet. Egg in one end flashlight at the bottom and you will see if there is a youngster developing in there. Call wildlife rescue in your area as there are all sorts of things that are needed for developing eggs. They have to have proper temperature, proper moisture, proper turning.

          Should they hatch, do not help them by peeling shell away. That kills them as they bleed very easily. Please call wildlife rescue if you want them to live. Ask at your local feed store if they know someone to help you.

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          My 6 year old son found an egg, a duck egg. He brought it home. We have it under a light. But we want to know how long would it take for it to hatch?

          By Anthony D.

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          If you just have it under a light, it most likely will not hatch. They have to be kept at a stead 99.5 degrees and with a humidity of 55%. They also have to be turned at least 4 times a day. Then, if all conditions are just right, most breeds hatch in about 28 days. The humidity sometimes needs to be changed as well, depending on the duck breed.

          ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          About 6 hours ago, we found 9 duck eggs in front of our house in our flower bed under our bush. When we opened the front door the duck mom left, she did not come back. We are worried. I have a small basket and I've put a soft blanket underneath and we've put all 9 eggs in the basket. I covered them with a tea towel and two soft table cloths. The basket is now in the garage. Our questions:
          What do we do now?
          How do we take care of the eggs?
          Will the mom come back?
          Do we put the eggs back?
          Please give us some answers, it is urgent.

          By Victoria

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          I would suggest putting the eggs back where they were. The mama may come back to them. Do not leave the blanket or anything with the eggs! If she doesn't come back in the next day or so,put the eggs back in the basket with the blanket. You will need to hang a light of some kind (for warmth) about a foot or so from them.

          Also, turn the eggs over at least twice a day.That's what we did when we found our duck dead.We had about 12 eggs in all. All of them hatched out in about two weeks, except for one. We gave them away to our farmer friend. LOL

          There is a chance that the mama will come back! Give her a chance first before you do anything else. Good Luck, Kathy

          ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          We live on a golf course, and a few weeks ago a duck laid its eggs in a neighbor's empty clay flower pot filled with some dirt on her front porch. She has been sitting on them, but today it rained all afternoon, and when we went over to check, the eggs were floating in water in the pot. We removed the eggs, put in fresh warm potting soil and moved the pot under the porch awning where the pot would stay dry.

          At first the mother would not come under the porch. She stayed where the pot had been in the rain. i showed her the pot with the eggs, and she immediately hissed at me and jumped in the pot and my husband moved it back under the porch. She stayed in the pot while he moved it, of course hissing and trying to bite the whole time.

          Will she continue to lay on these eggs even though the pot has been moved? We have checked from a distance several times, and she is still there.

          By Leslie S

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          We get ducks nesting in the yard often, and I believe she will continue to sit on them. I am very surprised she sat in the pot while your hubby moved it. LOL. That must have been a sight. When the babies hatch, she will most likely have them moved before you will ever get a good look at them. That's usually what happens to me. They always seem to hatch while I'm at work. :(

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          We have a mallard duck sitting outside our living room window. She has 8 eggs and has been sitting on them for 4 weeks. What is the incubation time for them?

          By Lyn

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          I'm told 28-35 days, depending on care. Varieties may differ. Also, you can candle the eggs with a bright flashlight (LED best) to see if anyone's home.

          ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          We had a mallard hen lay 11 eggs, 1 was broken. She sat and hardly ever left. We thought they would start hatching about the 4th. We've been checking off and on. She was there Monday! Today she is not there and 3 shells are broken there is down in the nest.

          By Teri

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          I don't know for sure, but I get Birds and Blooms Magazine and read it cover to cover every time. If I remember correctly, one of the articles said that they do come back. She may be coming back at night and leaving in the morning to eat. You can try taking one egg and try hatching it yourself but these efforts usually do not come to fruitation unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing. So if you try it, don't be too disappointed if the egg does not hatch.

          ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          We have a wild duck on our boat. She laid 7 eggs. How long does it take for them to hatch? When we use the boat she takes off. She seems to come back and sit on them.

          By Cheryl from MI

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          They will take 28-35 days to hatch. Sorry, but I wouldn't take the boat out until they hatch. They need to stay at an almost constant temperature in order to hatch. It's good the mother comes back, but the mother needs to sit on her eggs almost all the time. Good luck! Maybe you will be able to see the ducklings if they hatch.

          ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          I found a duck egg. I don't know how to tell if it's still alive. Any suggestions? Thanks.

          Chaeda from Columbia, MD

          AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          I found an egg. I do not know what to do and I do not know if it is alive or not.

          ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

          I found a duck egg. I don't know how to tell if it's still

          alive. Any suggestions? Thanks.

          Chaeda from Columbia, MD

          Answers:

          I Found a Duck Egg

          Try to find a bird rescue site that's local online. They will

          take it and take care of it if it's alive. (03/30/2007)

          By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

          profile=thr416933">Lily 59

          I Found a Duck Egg

          I know freshly laid eggs can last up to 10-14 days cold and

          still hatch. They seem to go dormant then once put under a bird

          or in an incubator they start to grow and take the usual days to

          hatch.

          Nicki from England (03/31/2007)

          By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

          profile=thr882351">Baa-me-chick

          I Found a Duck Egg

          It doesn't matter what kind of egg (curious how you know it's a

          duck egg:-), but all above tips are correct. They remain non

          fertile until the hen begins incubating them. Once incubation

          begins they will be dead in shell if the process is interrupted

          (lack of heat) for more than a a few hours. You can "candle"

          them by cutting cardboard circle to cover a flashlight with a

          hole in the center (place the egg) going in a dark room, place

          egg in hole and see if there are red veins). If you decide to

          make a homemade incubator temp 100 or 101 degrees, be sure to

          provide moisture and softly turn the egg periodically. Good

          luck! (04/01/2007)

          By macawmadam

          I Found a Duck Egg

          From what I've been reading online, wild duck eggs, if touched

          by humans, may never be taken back by their mothers. Consider

          carefully before you pick up wild duck eggs, the mother may just

          be off the nest getting some food. (05/01/2007)

          By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

          profile=ver1000140">ThriftyFun

          I Found a Duck Egg

          Eggs don't get fertilized by something sitting on them.

          Here is the bird side of the birds and the bees from

          enaturalist.com, by Jim Berry:

          "After mating, inside the female, sperm swim up a tube called

          the oviduct, at the end of which there is an ovum, inside which

          resides the female sex germ. If the ovum is mature, it's already

          equipped with yolk, the yellow part of the future egg. The sperm

          may now fertilize the ovum by penetrating it and uniting the two

          sex-cells' genetic material.

          After fertilization, the ovum with its yolk begins its own

          journey down the oviduct, a process lasting about 24 hours.

          During the first three or four hours, moving at about one tenth

          of an inch (2.3 mm) per minute, albumen (egg white) is added

          around the ovum and its yolk. The yellow yolk will serve as food

          material for the developing chick; the white will mainly keep

          the yolk from drying out, and will give the yolk physical

          support

          Now the future egg slows to about 40 percent of its earlier

          speed, and membranes are added around the yolk and egg white.

          Finally the shell is put in place, taking 19 to 20 hours. Then,

          the hen Mallard lays her fertilized egg!"

          (05/01/2007)

          By <a href="http://www.thriftyfun.com//profile/index.lasso?

          profile=thr715957">the Oracle

          I Found a Duck Egg

          I use to have a duck. If any of your have a store called

          Southern States near you, that is where we used to buy our duck

          food. If not, check with some local farms, they should be able

          answer your questions. (06/03/2007)

          By Paul

          I Found a Duck Egg

          I found a duck egg too and you just have to put it in a cup with

          a wash cloth underneath it and put a light over it, but not too

          close. Spray it with warm water every hour and turn it 3-5 times

          a day. To see if it is alive just put it under a flashlight in a

          dark room. (06/24/2007)

          By moogan

          I Found a Duck Egg

          First see if it's warm. If it it is cold, throw it out. If not

          take a egg carton and shine a light through it and put the egg

          on top if there is a embryo inside. Keep it warm (not hot) and

          find someone who can incubate it. (05/11/2008)

          By Janelle

          CommentWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
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