Ducks don't lay anymore, Why?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Ok, all you folks with duck-raising experience-I haven't been able to get a single egg out of our rouen hens since last summer when they molted. We started out with one hen and 3 drakes purchased from the local feed store.(Intended to have 3 hens, 1 drake, but were mis-informed by the employee as to how to tell the sex of the babies!). Anyway, that hen went on to eventually lay and raise a hatch. Then was given 3 more hens, age unknown. We butchered all but one drake and 4 hens last spring. Since they molted, NO EGGS. Anyone have an explanation? They are certainly old enough, are eating the same feed, usually hen scratch and whatever greens I can give them, have shelter, (which they don't use much!) water to swim/bath in, etc. Nothing is different. I thought maybe rats were stealing the eggs, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Should I just start over with new ones this spring? Also, when all 4 of the hens were sitting on eggs, as soon as the first nest hatched, the rest abandoned their eggs and tried to help the first mother raise her babies. Is this normal? How can we avoid that next time, assuming there is a next time? Thanks for any advice you can give! Everyone is really great on this site. It helps to have all the different levels of expertise to gain from! Jan
-- Jan Bullock (Janice12@aol.com), February 28, 2000
We've had rouens and pekins for years and the only time they ever lay is in the spring when they are ready to raise a family. If you want duck eggs to eat you can try to take an egg away but our ducks would always abandon the nest if it was disturbed.(Maybe there's a trick there that I haven't learned yet.) Once in a while when something has happened to a duck's nest she will try again and we've had ducklings as late as September. We've had an unusual spell of warm weather lately and they have laid several eggs at random in the barn- no nests. I suspect yours will begin to lay any day now. As to the problem of trying to "help" with the ducklings, I can't say. My guess would be that they were young and didn't know what to do. Ducks aren't long on brains- it takes a whole pack to make one little decision- but they are usually pretty strong on instinct. Good luck!
-- Peg (email@example.com), February 28, 2000.
Jan, my geese do the same thing with goslings. I guess quantity over quality or something. We have to watch as sometimes one group of adult geese will cut loose a gosling from another group and make off with it. But the gosling will try to get back to its original family and get lost. The geese will also fight over nests. Hard on the eggs and very small goslings. I find it very interesting to watch the social dynamics of the flock, although I'm not at all sure that my interpretation of events is anything close to what the geese are thinking.
If you want to avoid the same problem this year, you'll have to pen the ducks with their nests. Even then they may abandon their nests to watch the hatched ducklings. Sometimes we'll have most of a dozen geese trying to raise the first gosling or two from a nest. I don't really worry about it since I've got more than enough geese. Gerbil
-- Gerbil (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 28, 2000.
Thanks for the info and encouragement..I will just keep waiting and watching them and see how they do this spring. May get a few new ones just to be sure. Someone in the area is always giving away the Easter "pets" they got thier children and then couldn't handle. Jan
-- Jan Bullock (Janice12@aol.com), March 01, 2000.
Are your ducks in a enclosed Duck house that no wildlife can get in? Or do they free range out in a pasture? My Saxonys, and Blue Sweds lay everyday when we have cool weather. (fall, winter,spring) I have found what happens with me,, is wildlife LOVES ducks eggs. I have had a problem with possums, stealing my duck eggs,,Some of my ducks lay as early as 4am,,, perfect time for a possum to steal the eggs!!Possum, will also kill your ducks. We also have crows and ravens,, that can see where the ducks have laid their eggs much better than I can! I hope to have a duck house put up this summer, with a cement floor so all those duck eating wildlife,, can`t get to my ducks eggs!!
-- Mrs S. Nees (email@example.com), March 03, 2000.
Can't be possums, they don't live here. Skunks, porcupines, (but rarely, no trees here to speak of)etc. Haven't seen a possum since I lived in South Carolina! It sure has me puzzled.
-- Jan B. (Janice12@aol.com), March 03, 2000.
Can't be possums, they don't live here. Skunks, porcupines, (but rarely, no trees here to speak of)etc. Haven't seen a possum since I lived in South Carolina! It sure has me puzzled. And, since they are double penned, and had laid eggs inside the interior pen, which is covered, most of the time, no other larger birds, ie ravens, hawks, etc. can get into the nest box area. Lots of other birds do come and feast on their grain when they aren't watching tho. I think we serve dinner to half the pigeon population of Colorado!
-- Jan B. (Janice12@aol.com), March 03, 2000.