A 14-year-old boy has successfully hatched a Waitrose supermarket egg.
William Atkins, 14, wanted to test out the theory that it is possible to hatch a supermarket egg as long as it is put under the right conditions.
Fourteen-year-old William Atkins, from Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, decided to try and hatch some eggs he bought from Waitrose, which are supposed to be unfertilized after he had heard stories of other people doing the same.
So, armed with a £40 incubator he bought off eBay and half a dozen free-range Gladys-May’s Braddock Whites, William got cracking with his plan.
And within three days, he saw a little heartbeat inside one of the eggs when shining a torch on it – by day 28 the egg had hatched and William had an adorable duckling on his hands.
The schoolboy said: “The duckling is absolutely adorable and already making little quacking noises. I am amazed a supermarket egg has actually hatched. But also really excited.”
Surely you mean ‘eggcited’, William?
Explaining why he attempted to hatch an egg in the first place, he added: “I got the idea after a family discussion about whether it would be possible to hatch a supermarket egg as they are not supposed to be fertilized.
“After doing some research I read about someone who’d managed to hatch a quail’s egg. But despite buying supermarket quail eggs, nothing happened. So I thought I would try with hens’ eggs and ducks’ eggs, buying half a dozen of each.
“I wasn’t really expecting any to hatch so I was thrilled when around three days after buying the eggs and placing them under the incubator, I noticed one had a beating heart.
“Watching it develop over the next three weeks was fascinating. I was over the moon when it finally pecked its way out.”
William plans to name the little duck Jemima or Jeremy, depending on its sex, but he’s trying not to get too attached, as once it’s old enough he’ll be giving it away to a nearby farm where other rescue ducks live.
“It will live the happiest life there and I will be able to visit,” William said.
His dad David, 47, added: “I was amazed when I saw William carrying boxes of eggs into his bedroom. I confess I never thought he would actually produce a live duck.”
A spokesperson for Clarence Court, which produces and supplies the eggs, said that although the chances of a fertilized egg are ‘remarkably slim’, it’s not impossible.
The spokesperson said: “The separation of males from females relies wholly upon the skill of very few qualified people. Inevitably, the odd sexing error is made.
“Our ducks are kept in small flocks with access to the outdoors. In this open-air environment, while it is infrequent, our ducks may attract the attention of wild drakes. So, while it is very unusual for males and females to come into contact with one another, it is not impossible.
“Fertilised eggs are harmless to eat, and without incubation would be totally indistinguishable from unfertilized eggs.”
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