Duck! No really Duck!
Today I fired up the incubator for the first time in a couple of years. Someone we know has decided that they like duck eggs and wants to raise some so we thought we’d help them out.
We raise Khaki Campbell ducks. They are to the duck world what the white Leghorn is to the chicken world. They are fantastic, highly efficient egg layers. They lay on average over three hundred and twenty eggs a year. Although they can fly, they only fly about three feet off the ground. Once they start laying they don’t really fly at all.
The breed go’s back to the early 1900s in England. The hens are all khaki colored and the drakes are also but they have a little color along the trailing edge of their wings as well as a dark head and tail during part of the year. They also have a very good feed conversion rate. They require very little food for the amount of eggs that they lay.
They are very active birds and for the most part will not sit and hatch their eggs. We collect and clean the eggs. When we put them in the incubator we write the day on each egg with a pencil. It takes about 32 days for them to hatch. Eggs must be turned over several times a day. Our incubator does that for us. On about the 27th day we transfer them to the hatching unit. It maintains the correct temperature and humidity but it doesn’t turn the eggs. The reason for that is that the baby needs to get into the correct position to begin the process of breaking out of its shell. On the 31st day the egg will rock back and forth as the baby begins to break a small hole in its shell. This is called “piping”. from there it can take anywhere from a few hours to over a day for them to extricate themselves from the shell. It’s a strenuous endeavor that leaves it completely spent. Even after they have crawled out of their shell, their umbilicus will remain attached to the shell for several hours. They will be soaking wet and it will take them several hours to dry off and look like little puff balls.