I have noticed many people use Incubators to hatch their eggs and this is fine if you have no broody hens.
However,if you do have the odd broody hen,here is a little advice for very high hatch rates.My recent examples are:
Last year 39 out of 42 hatched-hens,This year I have had 62 out of 68 with ducks.Which is very good overall.
I know of some local folk whom sat their hens on some eggs and resulted in One bird out of 7.Birds dying within the shell,many have this-this is due to lack of humidity/wetness of the shells and they become too hard for the chick to break through.
When you buy your hatching eggs and stand them for 24-48 hours on their tips and then go to place them under the hen you must make a "Sod". Make this by cutting a turf of grass the same size as your nesting box.make sure it is a few inches in thickness,I have even soaked the "Sod" and left it a little while prior to putting into place.
Once you have dug your turf shape,turn it upside down and make a hollow inside by removing some of the earth,just enough to fit your broody hen and her eggs on.
I use some straw around the edges and -for creature comforts. Place your eggs inside and then put your broody hen on.Check this every few weeks,if done correctly the "Sod" should stay damp for the entirety and resulting in a softer shell for the youngsters to break through.
Once they have all hatched,remove the "Sod" in exchange for your favourite bedding.Make some chick crumbs up with some water for Chicks and Ducklings and away you go!
(I would not be buying any special expensive crumbs for them,Chick crumbs which are used for Poultry are perfect for ducklings)
I hope this guide is of some use to you,this method works for me every time without fail.
A Guide For a Successful Natural Hatch!
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7 August 2011
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