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Hi! I'm in need of a bit of help!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 



I have a khaki Campbell duck who has suddenly started nesting, but I'm worried/unsure of whether her partner is male or female - I'll give a little background.


When the pair were ducklings, the white Campbell seemed to have a problem with her breathing, but after trying antibiotics and worming to ensure she had no respiratory infections or worms in her respiratory system, the only answer her vet could give us was that maybe she was born with her lungs slightly too far apart. It's actually quite visible in her now that she's older, her chest puffs out far further than the Khaki who is much more slender, but they're both happy, especially her regardless of being slightly weaker.


With that in mind, I thought it was normal that she might not quack properly. She does try to quack loudly but can't seem to get much power behind it like her sister does. 



I'm wondering if maybe I've been mistaken on that and she could actually be a male!


The khaki has laid 16 eggs in a nest box that she had no interest in until recently, we've worked it out that she must be laying 1 - 2 eggs a day and we only noticed her in there in the past two days properly, I guess she must have been sneakily getting in when it was dark and making sure she was out by dawn when we let them out into their run lol


The reason I'm confused about whether the white Campbell is male is also because the eggs were always just dropped in the middle of their house over night, so we've never actually seen her lay one.


That being said we've never seen any signs of mating between them either. They're inseparable, and if anything the khaki was always the more aggressive of the two, and would nip at the other's feathers when she was younger, we were almost convinced she would be the male.


I read some forums and duck advice sites that made it sound as though ducks knew whether or not their eggs were alive, and would leave the nest if they weren't. I've never had ducks before these two, only hens. Have I misunderstood that information? Is it more that after a few weeks if the eggs aren't hatching they will realise that they aren't going to and then leave, the same way that hens do?

post #2 of 7

I have pekin ducks and I hope that maybe this would help with khaki campbells too. Usually the males stand taller and weigh about a pound more than the females. Also the one main difference is that the males are quiet and only quack where as the females are really loud and tend to honk more.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

My Khaki definitely honks a lot, but the White Campbell has on occasion attempted honking, for example if I'd take them for baths when they were younger, but they were getting too big to carry both at the same time, if they were separated they'd make quite a bit of noise. But she's always been more of a quacker than a honker. (You can probably see why I'd be unsure with her now) 

post #4 of 7

How old are they? If old enough, a male should have a curled tail feather.


Also, it would be unusual for a duck to lay 2 normal eggs a day.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

They're about 8 months now I think. I haven't seen any curled tail feathers, and I've been looking out for them. 

If it's unusual for them to lay 2 a day, do you think it would be possible that the other duck is laying them in the same nest? The Khaki is the only one sitting on them. 


The white campbell is also quite a bit heavier than my khaki. But I guessed she was probably fatter because she is lazier due to her breathing. 

Edited by MelodicCreation - 11/19/15 at 8:05am
post #6 of 7

At 8 months a drake would have the tail curl. Sounds like you have two females. It is not uncommon for them to use the same nest. Seems like one taught the other where to lay so that's nice for you so you don't have to go egg hunting every morning.


A fertile egg won't begin to develop until it is incubated. I'd assume that what you read was referring to a duck being able to tell if an egg is viable or not in the later parts of the process. I've read that ducks and chickens will push bad eggs out of their nests so I'm sure they can tell. Sounds like your KC is just a broody duck by nature. Ducks lay a nest full and then sit so that is why she didn't start sitting until she had 16 eggs. Since your eggs are likely infertile I wouldn't encourage her to brood. It wouldn't be the best time of year anyway (assuming your in the northern hemisphere). I would take the eggs out. But be warned, they might find a different place to lay eggs after.


If you want to see if she will hatch some eggs you could wait till spring and see if she will go broody again. Then get some fertile eggs and put them under her.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Okay, we'll take the eggs away. I'm in England so it's quite cold (although it is unusually warm for this time of November), I definitely don't think she'd successfully incubate eggs at this time. 


I guess we'll wait until spring to find out if our White Campbell is a drake. I did think that she was when she was quite a bit younger due to her not quacking and having quite a raspy sounding voice.

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