Duck, Goose, Chicken & Game Bird Hatchery

Live Hatching Video Stream


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

Hatching Calendar for 2019

January 06 Pekin
January 13 Mallard
January 20 Pekin
January 27 White Layer
February 03Khaki Campbell
February 10Pekin
February 17 Buff
February 24Blue Swedish
March 03Chocolate Runner
March 10Fawn & White Runner
March 17 Blue Runner
March 24White Crested
March 31Welsh Harlequin
April 07Sebastopol
April 14Embden
April 21Buff Toulouse
April 28African
May 05 Roman Tufted
May 12 Tufted Buff
May 19 Large Dewlap Toulouse
May 26 Brown Chinese
June 02 Buff Geese
June 09 Brown Chinese
June 16 Pilgrim
June 23 French Toulouse
June 30Toulouse
July 07Pekin
July 14Saxony
July 21 Silver Appleyard
July 28Khaki Campbell
August 04Blue Swedish
August 11Buff Ducks
August 18Cayuga
August 25Black Swedish
September 01 Black Runner
September 08 Blue Runner
September 15 Chocolate Runner
September 22 White Layer
September 29 Golden 300 Hybrid
October 06 White Crested
October 13 Jumbo Pekin
October 20 Duclair
October 27 Rouen
November 03Saxony
November 10Blue Swedish
November 17 Cayuga
November 24Fawn & White Runner
December 01Pekin
December 08Mallard
December 15White Layer
December 22Jumbo Pekin
December 29Mallard