Raising Ducklings and Goslings

Embden Geese

Our New Jamesway Incubators

We had always purchased used incubators and in 2008 we had incubators from three different manufacturers (Robbins, Buckeye and Petersime), using three different trays. We were constantly repairing them and trying to find parts. Some were over 60 years old. I decided we needed new incubators and did a lot of research and communication with other duck farms. I traveled to Hungary, Poland, Germany and England in the fall of 2008 to look at machines over there. I ultimately decided on Jamesway and have been very pleased with the results. It is a completely different system as it is single stage incubation, heating is with hot water from a boiler and cooling is from cold water from a chiller. For a more detailed explanation of single stage incubation (and how it might benefit you) go to the article I wrote for NAGA News. Below are some pictures showing our building remodel and the construction of the four incubators and one hatcher inside our hatchery.

Click on the small photos to see larger versions of each.

incubators These were two Robbins machines that we moved out. The white fiberglass machine in the back went on to another hatchery to continue hatching. The redwood machine in the front was at least 50 years old.
incubation This is a picture of one of our Petersime incubators. Yes, it was very beautiful - but difficult to manage and had inadequate hatchability. We ultimately sold all our redwood incubators to Seco Vineyards. The owner converted them to coolers and displays for the wine he produced.
incubating eggs They are loaded and ready to start their new life as wine coolers.
incubating duck eggs We poured a new floor. The pad on the right is perfectly level for the machines. The pad to the left slopes to the drain along the left wall. It is not cold here but we put insulation below the machines before the concrete was poured.
hatchery incubatorsWe had to extend the hatchery about 10 feet to accommodate the new equipment.
hatching eggsThis pad is for the boiler and chiller - for heating and cooling the machines.
incubators for duck eggsOur daughter, Erin, painting during Christmas break from college.
Jamesway incubatorsThe truck has arrived with all the parts from Toronto, Canada.
incubating equipmentNow to unload it all.
incubatorsWilco, the technician that installed the machines, is making sure this part does not fall off the short forks of the forklift. This is not an OSHA approved procedure!
duck egg incubatorsAll the motors, fans and doors can be stacked outside for now.
incubating duck and goose eggsThe racks and machine walls go inside.
incubating and hatchingThe first step is to lay out all the brackets on the floor for the incubator and hatcher walls. Notice the copper pipes on top to deliver the hot and cold water to the machines.
Jamesway incubator installationThe walls are going up.
incubator for duck eggsA closeup of the walls and a hatcher rack.
controlling incubation temperatureCenter control panels in along with the ceilings.
incubation equipmentDoors are in place.
incubator controlsAll the machines put together with one control panel open showing the electronics inside.
Jamesway incubatorsTops of the machines - before electricity or air hoses for turning the eggs.
Incubator installersThe crew that helped put them together. Wilco, under the ladder is from The Netherlands and supervised the work. Bill is on the bucket. Lito is beside Bill and then going clockwise from Lito we have Mauricio, Leo, Adam and Rogelio.
incubating duck eggsAll four incubators running. The incoming air into the room is kept between 72 and 75 degrees and a positive pressure is maintained for good air flow through the incubators. Notice the air duct in the top, left corner.
hatching duck eggs I am standing inside the left side of the incubator taking a picture of the racks on the right side. The four fans blow air straight up, the air circulates through the eggs, passes by the copper tubes below the fans (to either heat or cool the air) and then through the fans again. You see three racks of eggs and there are three more behind those for a total of 12 racks per machine. The smaller black and white tubing is to actuate an air cylinder on each rack to turn the eggs.
duck hatcheryOn the other side of this door is the hatcher, with ducklings being removed in this picture. For sanitation purposes, it is best to keep the hatchers in a separate room from the incubators.
hatching ducklingsThis is the day we pull the ducklings. See the yellow down on the floor from all the Pekin ducklings? You can’t see them but there are about 12,000 ducklings in here. One of the six hatcher racks has been removed.
duck egg incubatorsThis is the area above the incubators. Except for the hatcher, which vents directly outside, the four incubators vent into this space and then it is drawn outside with a fan. Blue hoses on the right bring hot and cold water to the machines.


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