Raising Ducklings and Goslings

Gray Runner Ducks

Welcome to Our Live Hatching Video Page!

The camera is not running now. It is only on when the birds are hatching. See below for the best time to come back and watch them hatch.

We turn on our Live Hatching Video camera when we transfer eggs into our hatcher every Friday morning. On Friday there is little visible hatching. The best time to watch the hatching process is Saturday evening and Sunday *. When we start removing the birds from the hatcher early Monday morning, the camera is turned off. Refer to our calendar if you want to watch a specific breed hatch.

We also have a time lapse video of the hatching process. This time lapse video condenses 40 minutes of hatch time into one minute of view time and shows two Pekin ducklings hatching.

If you attempt to watch the video without success, please contact us. It may be that we have reached the maximum number of people that can watch at one time. We can only solve the problem if you let us know how frequently we reach this maximum. When you report this problem in the email, please tell us the day and time you were unable to log on to the live video.

Hatching is a fascinating process. By the time we have transferred the eggs into the hatcher, the duck and turkeys have incubated 25 days, the guineas 24 days and the geese 27 days. The plan is for them to all hatch at the same time so they can all be mailed fresh on Monday.

The embryo first breaks into the air sac on Friday. As the air sac is fairly large (see the progression of incubation on our Egg Candling webpage), they can breathe that air for 6-12 hours. But then the oxygen is used up in the air sac and the hatching muscle contracts causing the embryo to strike upwards against the shell. It creates a small break in the shell that normally looks like a small pyramid but may simply be a crack or small hole. Once this is done, it is said to have “pipped” the shell and has access to more oxygen. The embryo now rests.

At this point, there is little external activity. But a great deal is occuring within the shell. Abdominal contractions and changing pressure in the thorax are used to suck the yolk sac inside the abdominal cavity. In addition, the chorio-allantoic membrane starts to close down and recede into the navel. This is the membrane under the shell through which oxygen was absorbed into the embryo's blood stream and carbon dioxide dispelled. But now that the bird is breathing with its lungs, this membrane is no longer needed and it begins to shrink and wither.

As this whole process may take up to two days, many people become concerned and want to help the hatching process. Now is not the time to do this. The yolk sac is not completely absorbed and many of the chorio-allantoic blood vessels are still active. If you break through the shell and rupture these blood vessels, the embryo can bleed to death.

However, once the yolk is absorbed and the blood is no longer circulating outside the embryo, and the embryo needs greater amounts of oxygen, it starts breaking the shell again. The bird's beak is under its right wing. It breaks and turns around the shell in a counterclockwise movement (looking at the large end of the egg), It will travel about 80% of the way around the egg, continually pushing with its legs until it is finally able to break open the “cap” and emerge from the egg. This final hatching process takes from 15 minutes to two hours.

The bird emerges and rests after this major exertion. After drying it starts to explore its surroundings and looks for good things to eat and drink. As it has just absorbed its yolk, it does not need food and water but its instinct is to find nutrition as soon as possible. They look for out-of-the-ordinary items to nibble – a black spot on a yellow back, a wiggly toe, some shining droppings or afterbirth, a fragment of shell, etc.. Most items are discarded and they continue their quest elsewhere. They will then rest again. You will see many hatched birds sleeping after their strenuous effort.

If you are incubating your own eggs, try not to help a bird hatch until it has started breaking and circling in the shell. Once it has started this movement, it means the yolk sac has been absorbed and the chorio-allantoic membrane is shut down. Do not help until there has been at least one hour with no more breakage. Gradually break the shell in the same circular pattern around the shell until you can pop open the “cap”. Pull the head out from under the wing. Pull slightly on the embryo to make sure it has not become stuck to the membrane and shell and then leave the bird so it can emerge from the shell itself.

It is not true that you should never help a bird hatch. It could be that the environmental conditions in the incubator or hatcher were not ideal and the embryo got stuck in one spot due to inadequate humidity or the turner was not working properly and the bird could not position itself properly. These are problems with the incubator – not the egg and embryo. For this reason you do not want to assume that a bird that cannot hatch has a genetic or health problem.

* If Monday is a postal holiday, we set the eggs a day late so they complete their hatching by Tuesday morning instead of Monday morning. On these weekends, most hatching activity will be on Sunday and Monday.

Hatching Calendar

July 02, 2016July 03, 2016 PekinDuck
July 09, 2016July 10, 2016 RouenDuck
July 16, 2016July 17, 2016 Blue SwedishDuck
July 23, 2016July 24, 2016 BuffDuck
July 30, 2016July 31, 2016 CayugaDuck
August 06, 2016August 07, 2016 Black SwedishDuck
August 13, 2016August 14, 2016 Golden 300 HybridDuck
August 20, 2016August 21, 2016 Fawn & White RunnerDuck
August 27, 2016August 28, 2016 Black RunnerDuck
September 03, 2016September 04, 2016 Blue RunnerDuck
September 10, 2016September 11, 2016 Chocolate RunnerDuck
September 17, 2016September 18, 2016 White CrestedDuck
September 24, 2016September 25, 2016 Welsh HarlequinDuck
October 01, 2016October 02, 2016 Khaki CampbellDuck
October 08, 2016October 09, 2016 MallardDuck
October 15, 2016October 16, 2016 PekinDuck
October 22, 2016October 23, 2016 RouenDuck
October 29, 2016October 30, 2016 Khaki CampbellDuck
November 05, 2016November 06, 2016 Golden 300 HybridDuck
November 12, 2016November 13, 2016 White LayerDuck
November 19, 2016November 20, 2016 CayugaDuck
November 26, 2016 *November 27, 2016 *PekinDuck
December 03, 2016December 04, 2016 PekinDuck
December 10, 2016December 11, 2016 MallardDuck
December 17, 2016December 18, 2016 PekinDuck
December 24, 2016December 25, 2016 PekinDuck