Table of Contents
A Few Commonly Asked Questions About Hatching and Our Program
What if the hatch fails?
We will do our best to provide you with either more eggs or newly hatched ducklings. It may become necessary to wait for a subsequent hatch as we don't normally hatch more than we need. Also, since I give out only the liveliest and strongest eggs, those still at the farm by Thursday or Friday are the least likely to hatch and I would not recommend them.
What if only 1 hatches?
Please let us know and we will give you a companion for your baby. Raising a duckling or gosling in isolation is very unnatural and should be avoided when-ever possible.
What if there is something wrong with a duckling?
As long as the baby is able to get around well enough to eat and drink and it seems healthy otherwise it will probably be OK It may be a great opportunity to discuss physical disabilities with your class. (We only destroy baby birds if they are suffering or unable to eat and drink.)
What do WE do with the birds once returned?
We used to raise ALL ducklings and goslings to adulthood. Due to the rising costs of feed (among other things) we can no longer afford to do this. Some are kept at the farm for breeding stock, some are sold to other farms for breeding or as pets, and yes, some do in fact become dinner (for us or our dogs). We typically hatch get over 150 ducklings returned each season and it is simply not possible to keep them all forever. We keep our breeding stock as long as we can. Our oldest birds are now in their FIFTEENTH season and still going strong.
If the thought that 'your' ducklings may be killed bothers you, then this is something you should consider when you order a kit. The ducklings are brought into this world superficially for YOU. They are alive because of you. Part of the learning objective of this unit should be an increased awareness that the meat (and any other products made using animal products) we eat comes at the expense of an animal's life. Please think about how many ducklings you actually NEED for your unit.
What if the power goes off while the eggs are still in the incubator?
All is not necessarily lost. Warm the eggs AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. If you discover the problem before the power is back on, keep the eggs warm any way you can. Holding them against your bare belly under your shirt will work. Once the power is restored and the incubator warm, put the eggs back in. Wait at least 2-3 hours before taking the eggs out to candle them. If you are not sure whether the eggs survived, wait 24 hours and then candle them again.
What if the incubator over-heats?
Take the eggs out and let them cool for 15-20 minutes. Check to make sure the water receptacle in the incubator is NOT dry. Allowing the source of humidity in the incubator to dry out is the most common cause of overheating. If the eggs are really hot (more than 106 degrees) spray or dip them in cool (NOT COLD) water. Leave the lid off the incubator for about 5 minutes and if the reason for the overheating was lack of humidity it should now be possible to put the lid back on without further adjustments If the incubator has been tampered with, you only have about 30 minutes to get it stable again. Make a small adjustment, keep the lid off for 60-90 SECONDS and then replace it WATCH CLOSELY to see how hot it gets. The eggs should not be in the incubator while this is happening. If the eggs are starting to feel cooler, hold them against your skin or put them in a warm towel.
What do those marks on the eggs mean?
The marks identify the breed of the bird who laid the egg (SX = saxony; SA = silver appleyard; KC = khaki campbell; AN = ancona; BA = brown african; PG = pilgrim), and usually two dates: when the egg was laid, and its due date (F14 = February 14). If there is only a number between 1 and 10, then that signifies the hatch number. All eggs in one batch are set in the incubator at the same time so the date they were laid does not affect the date they will hatch. Eggs should be less than two weeks old when put in the incubator. They don't hatch well if they are too old.