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.
The schoolboy from Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, bought a box of half a dozen Gladys-May’s Braddock Whites free range duck eggs from the UK-based supermarket for £2.30. He then placed them under a £40 incubator bought from eBay in his bedroom.
After three days of shining a torch on to the egg shells, Atkins was shocked to see a beating heart.
“From then on the unborn duckling grew bigger inside the shell every day,” he said, reports the Daily Mail.
“Just over three weeks later the egg began rocking and a few days after that the tiny duckling pecked its way out.”
Atkins got the idea to test the theory after a conversation with his family about whether it was possible to hatch a supermarket egg given the fact they are meant to be unfertilised.
‘After doing some research I read about someone who’d managed to hatch a quail’s egg,” he said.
“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.”
Describing the wait for the hatched duckling as “fascinating”, Atkins added that he was “over the moon when it finally pecked its way out”.
He continued: “I love anything to do with wildlife so no one took much notice when I started incubating the egg. They were stunned that I hatched one though – especially mum, who is not sure about me keeping a duckling in my bedroom.”
As for the duckling, which will be called Jeremy or Jemima once its sex has been determined, Atkins’ family plan to give it to a nearby farm when it has grown a bit bigger.
A spokesman for Clarence Court, which produces the eggs, said the chances of hatching a duckling from a supermarket egg were “remarkably slim” but not impossible.
“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 unfertilised eggs.”
This isn’t the first time someone has successfully hatched supermarket-bought eggs.
In 2016, Alwyn Wils from the Netherlands hatched a quails egg a month after buying a dozen eggs at a supermarket in Haarlem, The Netherlands.
The Independent has contacted Waitrose for comment.
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