Have you ever wondered if the eggs you were eating could have hatched in the right environment? Generally, the answer is no because farmers take special precautions to ensure that the eggs don’t become fertilized. However, one woman’s purchase defied the odds, proving that some supermarket eggs can result in hatchlings. After doing some research, she successfully hatched three duck eggs. Read on to see how this woman ended up with pet ducklings after a trip to the grocery store.
Meet Animal-Lover Charli Lello
This woman is Charli Lello, a resident of Hertfordshire in southern England. As an assistant shop manager, she was furloughed during the pandemic. With all of the extra time on her hands, Charli decided to try something unusual.
After seeing a YouTube video of someone incubating grocery store eggs, she decided to try her hand at it. Little did she know that buying a carton of eggs would be the start of a long and fulfilling journey as a duck provider.
It All Started With A Carton Of Eggs
Rather than buying chicken eggs, Charli opted to buy quail eggs from her local market. The idea spurred from the YouTuber she had seen do the same. At the last minute, she changed her mind, purchasing a carton of six Clarence Court free-range duck eggs.
Charli then situated all of the eggs in an incubator where they could grow if viable. She admitted to CNN, “Part of me thought that it would never work.” But then the extraordinary happened.
Half Of The Eggs Were Fertilized!
What appeared to be an ordinary carton of eggs was indeed a duck family waiting to happen. After six days in the incubator, Charli was able to see tiny veins. Using the candling method, she discovered that there were embryos inside!
Of the six eggs, three were fertilized. Those odds seemed impossible, especially to the farmers and supermarket owners. Nevertheless, 50% of the eggs had indeed been fertilized. Charli could hardly contain her excitement.
The First Duck Hatched!
It took two days for the first duck, Beep, to hatch. Charli said she spent the entire time “glued” to her incubator. We can only imagine how excited she must have felt to see that her plan had worked despite the odds.
Charli told CNN that she and her mother had planned on getting ducks after the lockdown. They already have chickens, so caring for the hatchlings wouldn’t be far fetched for the experienced animal-lovers.
The Market Called It “Extremely Rare”
Clarence Court Farms responded to the hatching, saying, “It is a feat of remarkably slim odds that a duckling has been hatched. But we acknowledge that it’s not impossible.” The supermarket where the eggs were purchased, a chain called Waitrose, echoed this disbelief.
They said that the farmers work to ensure that male and female ducks are kept separate, but they can occasionally intermingle. Still, they considered it an “extremely rare” ordeal to have occurred.
Then The Second Duckling Arrived
Rare as it may have been, yet another egg hatched two days later. While Beep was still a lone duck, Charli said she kept him in a sling she made out of a beanie hat so he’d always have company.
When the second chick did arrive, Charli named it Peep. The name seems highly suiting considering it not only rhymes with Beep, but is also the brand of chick-shaped marshmallows popular during Easter egg hunts.
Creating A Home For The Ducks
Now that Charli had two baby ducks to care for, she needed a place to keep them safe. She crafted a duckpin full of straw and complete with a plastic water bin. She even put a duck plush toy in the pin to make them feel at home.
The fact that Charli had not one, but two hatched ducks that came from the supermarket seemed unbelievable enough. Still, there was one more on its way.
She Thought Of Them As Her “Little Miracles”
On her Instagram page, Charli referred to the ducks as “my little miracles.” Indeed, it’s out of the norm to see a carton half full of fertilized eggs. She explained in a post, “Even in free range farms there’s thousands of birds so males will get missed.”
Once a male does fertilize an egg, it’s impossible to tell the egg apart from the others without incubation, as Waitrose explained to CNN. Fortunately, Charli provided these chicks with a very loving and safe environment.
Charli’s Pet Rabbit Was Jealous
Being that Charli decided to spend her furlough time caring for ducks, it’s no surprise that she’s an animal-lover. She has multiple pets, but the one who grew jealous of the ducks was her rabbit.
Charli shared in an Instagram post, “I also have a brat of a free ranging, house rabbit, ‘Arfur’ who has not wanted anything to do with me since these babies hatched. She finally deemed to say hello and hopped off.”
Beep Had A Fear Of The Water
Charli proved herself to be a remarkable duck mom, particularly through the close eye she kept on the chicks. As their personalities began to flourish, Charli noticed something was off about Beep.
Though he was the first chick to hatch, Beep had a timid side. When it came to swimming, he lacked confidence. Charli knew that something was off because she did extensive research to ensure that she took proper care of the chicks and that they had the proper setup.
Learning To Swim
Despite Beep’s fear of the water, Charli managed to get both ducks into the tub for a swim session. She captioned this photo, “Learning to use those big, flat, flipper feet while we are STILL waiting for ‘Meep’ to hatch.”
That’s right; there was still a third duckling on the way! In the meantime, Charli focused all of her attention on caring for the first two ducks. All the while, she kept her Instagram followers up to date on all of the chicks’ progress.
Waiting For Their Third Sibling
As with the first two, waiting for the final duck to hatch required some patience. Charli had already named the final chick Meep to rhyme with the other two. Having hatched two other ducks already, she knew when the time was nearing.
She waiting with Beep and Peep in anticipation of their third and final sibling. It had been two weeks since Beep hatched, so he would be much larger than the newest family addition.
The Third Duck Hatched!
At last, the moment had come and Charli welcomed Meep into the world. Sure enough, of the six eggs she had purchased, half of them were now living, breathing, waddling ducks!
As precious as the moment was, Charli warns others not to hatch ducks until they are well researched and prepared to do so. She also told the Evening Standard, “I do not want to be the cause of an influx of dumped domestic ducks in rivers, lakes and rescue centres. They will not survive in the wild.”
The Siblings Were Together At Last
All three ducks were finally together and looked adorable as ever. The oldest, Beep, was already a couple of weeks old. Peep was just two days younger than Beep, and Meep was only a handful of days old when this photo was taken.
The size difference between all three is noticeable since ducks grow incredibly fast. Being that they can reach adulthood in as little as a month, Beep was nearly halfway through his development!
The Young And Curious Meep
Charli captioned this photo, “Meep’s first full day of life, and he’s already in charge.” Unlike Beep’s timid demeanor, Meep was full of curiosity and wasn’t afraid to explore. Here, Meep is hopping in their container of food while Peep tries to get a bite, and Beep stares off cluelessly.
Seeing their differences manifest made Charli bond with her furry friends even more. Though they grow up quickly, ducks can live for up to a decade, so she would have them around for some time.
Beep’s White Feathers Started To Emerge
Right before her eyes, Charli started to see her little chicks growing into adult ducks. She captioned this photo, “Everyone is getting so big. Beep has even started to get his white feathers through.”
The final phase of development is marked by the ducks’ yellow coat tranforming into white feathers. Since Beep is the oldest, he would be the first to reach this milestone. The other two would only be a matter of days or weeks behind.
Their Temporary Home
Charli constructed this duckpin to house the chicks until they are old enough to stay outside. Once they have their white feathers and are fully grown, the ducks will stay outside in the same area that Charli keeps her chickens.
For the time being, they have plenty of room to comfortably live in their pin. However, Charli loves to lounge with her ducks on her bed, as well. Their domesticated upbringing means that the ducks will need to remain in Charli’s care until they pass.
Concern About Beep’s Niacin Deficiency
Like any proud pet parent, Charli stayed highly attuned when it came to her ducklings’ health. She mentioned on her Instagram that Beep had a mild Niacin deficiency and tended to fatigue more quickly than the other two.
To compensate, she added some foods to their diet that were high in Niacin. The ordeal was far from a crisis, but goes to show was a thorough caretaker Charli is. Though they aren’t the most common domesticated animals, ducks need as much care as any pet.
Overcoming His Fear Of Water
Beep proved to need more attention and care than the other two, but that’s part of what’s so satisfying about his successful development. After weeks of avoiding the water, Beep overcame his fear and learned to make peace with swimming.
Charli captioned this photo, “A quick dip before lights out. That’s Beep in the water! What a brave boy, I’m so proud.” Being that Charli has been there every step of the way, it was quite a relief to see that her first hatchling would be just fine.
A Joyful Story We All Needed
Charli’s Instagram followers have been amazed at the journey of these three unlikely ducks. Now fully grown, they look healthy and happy, and Charli couldn’t be more proud. She wrote, “The interviews I’ve done today have been so much fun, and that’s why I’m doing them.
This is not the first time supermarket eggs have been incubated. Hundreds of people have done this before me. I’m just blessed to be able to bring our story to life in a time when we really need to smile.”