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Free Range Duck Egg Laying Questions

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 

I have 25 ducks (saxony, runner, welsh harlequin, cayuga, white layer, silver appleyard--we wanted to try a few breeds to see which we prefer).

We had be overnighting them in a run and were building them their own run, but they suddenly decided they wanted to stay overnight at our pond instead of coming inside for the night <sigh>.  So far no coyotes or dog troubles, thank the Lord.

 

Our pond is in a clearing.  There is no underbrush for them to tuck into as the pond is in our yard, so there are some bushes by the house but they do not come up to the house, etc.  They snooze on the banks of the pond.

We do have a duck coop that we pulled to the side of the pond for them.  It has three nest boxes with doors that open out.  It also has a large "room" and is about 4' high.  Kinda like a huge dog house with three cubbies for nesting in.  I toss scratch for them around the duck coop, and sometimes a duck or drake will chill in a nest area for an hour or two, but none hang out in the big inner area.  We also built a floating chiki for them and a floating platform.  They like the chiki, not so much the open platform.

 

Anyway, today I got my first duck eggs! I found three along the bank of the pond.  I think they may have been laying way under the dock, but we had so much rain, they cannot get under there.  (I *HAD* wondered if ALLLLLL the ducks had decided to focus on their careers instead of actually laying eggs :rantas we are a good 7-8 months in for the first batch of ducks).

 

The ducks seem perfectly happy with the arrangement, but, as much as I enjoy a good Easter egg hunt, it would be more helpful if they laid SOMEWHERE instead of just plopping eggs wherever the mood strikes.  Plus, I would not mind encouraging a little broodiness if one had the notion.  Is there something I can do to make one place more desirable than another?  Do I need to buy bushes and make a U with an opening to the pond so they kind of feel protected?  Let the grass grow up along the bank of the pond, or a patch of grass a foot or so away from the bank?  Have my poor husband build yet another "duck thing" with more of a covered patio like the floating chiki instead of enclosed like the duck coop?  More hay in the nest boxes?  close the doors of the nest boxes and make them enter through the large room door?

Anything? :)  Thank you!


BTW, I got one brown egg, one white, and...one GREEN!!!  :woot  Funny, they are the same size as my naked neck's eggs (she lays HUGE eggs).

post #2 of 2

With great tenderness, I must say that to keep up with the ducks' eggs, they need to be in a shelter - a dry one ;) - that you can keep them in till they lay their eggs - the commonly mentioned time is around 9 a.m., but it does vary.

 

And - predators find ducks.  Some predators don't mind getting wet to get at a duck.  I would at least get them into predator-safe shelter at night.

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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