British Teen Incubates Supermarket Egg, Hatches A Duckling

It's confusing to explain supermarket eggs to kids. Thanks to all those picture books about chickens and ducks (what is the publishing world's obsession with poultry?), kids know birds hatch from eggs. So, mom/dad/babysitter, what do you have to say about this plate of scrambled eggs, hmmmm?


Just when you thought you'd finished laying out the idea of fertilization for an audience who counts their ages as "this many," here comes a monkey wrench to spoil that tidy explainer: Today comes news that a British teen hatched a duckling from an egg he bought in a carton at the supermarket.

The Daily Mail reports 14-year-old William Atkins was curious about whether it was possible to hatch a regular grocery-store duck egg. He bought half a dozen eggs, placed them under an incubator he'd bought from eBay, and 28 days later, he hatched a new fluffy duckling pal. (This is the point at which your 7-year-old orders an incubator by asking Alexa before you even have time to react.) The teen tells the paper he had previously tried to incubate quail eggs, but that none of them hatched; however, after just three days under the incubator, this duck egg began to show a heartbeat when viewed under an intense light.


Atkins says the eggs he bought were Gladys-May's Braddock Whites free range duck eggs. A spokesperson for that brand's parent company, Clarence Court, tells the paper that though male and female ducks are separated at the farms, some contact can occur due to sexing errors (it's rather difficult to sort male from female fowls when they're young) or contact with wild ducks. Ergo, a small amount of eggs could be fertilized.

"The duckling is absolutely adorable and already making little quacking noises," Atkins told The Daily Mail. To that end, The Takeout apologizes to any and all parents whose young children read this article and have now set up incubation and brooding stations in their rooms. To counteract their enthusiasm, please share with them this essay/cautionary tale.