Candling and Beyond

This page is about how to candle a duck egg and how a duckling hatches.  For more information, check out my Handy Hints page!


The light box is a simple wooden box with a light bulb in it and an egg shaped hole cut in the top. It is best to put the main light out when you check the eggs this way as it is much clearer. (You can use a torch shone through the cardboard bit of  a loo roll apparently) You can see the veins first after 5-10 days, then a heartbeat and then the embryo starts wriggling as it grows.

Eventually, it gets so big that it is harder to see much movement until it pushes its beak through the membrane into the air sac at one end of the egg (a process called internal pipping). At this point you can hear the ducklings tapping on the shells and cheeping.

The next stage (up to two days later) is the external pip when they make the first tiny crack in the shell. It just looks like a little bump but gives them the air they need to continue.

Finally (again one or two days later) the duckling pushes its beak through the shell breaking it and then wriggling round to break the next section until the end of the egg opens enough for it to be free!

The duckling spends the next 12 hours in the incubator. It then goes out into a brooding box/ pen with a heat lamp.

For more information about looking after your duckling, check out my Handy Hints page which takes you from collecting the eggs to problems with their feathers as they grow!


Muscovy ducks hatch in 35 days, all others at 28 except Call ducks which, as miniatures, are often a day or two earlier.

If you plan to hatch your own ducklings, I recommend you follow this link to the Quackers site where you will find more information about incubating and hatching, including details about candling and pictures of candled eggs!


Click here to read about our Second Hatch!



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