A woman who bought a box of duck eggs from Waitrose popped them into an incubator as an experiment to see if they would hatch.
Lauren Barton, 26, went to her local Waitrose last month and picked up the six-pack of Clarence Court Braddock Whites Free Range Duck Eggs, for £2.59.
English teacher Lauren put half of the eggs into an incubator she bought on Amazon to see if she could hatch a duckling.
And to Lauren’s delight, 28 days later, one of the eggs in the incubator started to show cracks – and after an intense 48 hours of hatching, a tiny little duckling waddled out.
Lauren, from Ipswich, Suffolk, has named the fluffy little chick Darwin – and says it is just like having a dog.
She said: ‘He’s gorgeous. He’s so friendly, he loves us completely.
‘He’s like a little dog – he’s so loyal and just follows us around everywhere, and wants attention all the time.
‘I think he thinks he’s a human, or we’re ducks.’
The incubator cost Lauren £20 and combined with the price of the eggs, her new little pet was pretty cheap.
Lauren, who teaches at Copleston High School in Ipswich, Suffolk, said she got the idea after reading another news story about someone who had hatched supermarket eggs recently.
She said: ‘No-one in my family thought it was a good idea, because they said ducks are messy and hard work. My partner really didn’t want me to do it.
‘But I loved the idea, so I went ahead and did it.
‘The incubation was actually quite laborious, it’s quite intense. It was certainly an experiment, but it was well worth it.’
For the experiement, the eggs spent a month in the incubator and Lauren had to turn them three times a day every day, and then mist the eggs towards the end to keep their temperature right.
Lauren bought the smallest size of incubator she could find – meaning she could only fit three of the eggs into it, and had to throw away the other three eggs.
She added: ‘I was shocked when I saw that two of the three I put into the incubator were viable and were growing. We weren’t really expecting it to work.’
And even though Darwin was the only duck that made it in the end, Lauren said that she had to wait a long 48 hours for him to emerge – and that she didn’t think he was going to survive.
She said: ‘On the day that he started cracking, it was my last day of teaching at school before the summer and I went out the next night with some of the other staff.
‘I had to cut it short to go home and check on the duckling.
‘I stayed up really late that night, and then went to sleep for a few hours and woke up again and in the end I had to help him out a little bit.
‘They say you’re supposed to leave them to break through the egg themselves, but I did help him along a bit – and then there he was.’
She joked: ‘I suppose it proves that Waitrose eggs are free range and are doing what they should be.’
Lauren is now besotted with little Darwin and says she and her fiance are planning on keeping him as a pet even after he grows.
‘He’s part of the family now,’ she said.
Lauren also has a cat and two rabbits – none of which seem perturbed by the new arrival to the house.
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