Hatching Eggs: Broody Chickens and Duck Eggs on the Way

Reader Contribution by Troy Griepentrog

We have a broody hen that’s been sitting on eggs for three weeks. Today should be hatch day! For the last few days, though, she’s been off the nest quite a lot. The eggs look dirty. And much of the time she’s simply hovering over them — even standing on them. She still seems broody, though, so I’m not quite sure what’s going. (It’s been quite a while since I’ve used a broody to hatch eggs.) Two things come to mind: 1) The chicks in the eggs are creating enough heat that the hen doesn’t need to sit right on them all the time, or 2) something is wrong with the broody hen and she’s not going to pull off this hatch. I’ll write an update on that next week. In the mean time, share your thoughts on this in the comments section below.

Next week, the Community Chickens project will be off to an exciting start. Duck eggs will be arriving for us to use in our incubator tests. Metzer Farms will be sending 60 Golden 300 Hybrid eggs. We’re getting 35 Pekin duck eggs from Hoffman Hatchery. And Ridgway Hatcheries is sending an assortment of duck eggs.

I’ve been hoping to try a few of the Golden 300 Hybrid ducks for some time. They’re supposed to be excellent egg layers and calmer than Khaki Campbell ducks. A bonus for our project is that the male ducklings are shades of black; the females, shades of brown. We’ll be able to determine the gender of the ducklings easily. (Because they’re hybrids, this characteristic doesn’t continue in future generations.)

Duck eggs can be a challenge to hatch, so this will be a good test of the incubators. Duck and goose eggs require more humidity during incubation than chicken eggs. Another challenge is the wait! The duck eggs will take 28 to hatch (instead of just 21 for chickens).

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