We were caught a little off guard this morning, when we discovered that our 7 month old Blue Swedish, Monneypenny, laid her first egg yesterday. Given her age, the time of year, and the temperature (below freezing all day yesterday), this caught us by surprise.
(Slight chance that it was her Black Swedish sister, Domino, but we've found it in the nest box where Monneypenny has been hanging lately. However, Domino is probably not that far behind...)
So, any sage advice on how we proceed? Specifically, our questions are
1) Does egg laying start off slow, or should we be expecting this to really ramp up quickly?
2) What kind of diet changes should we now introduce? The two girls have been sharing run and coop space with a mallard drake, Scaramanga. We had adjoining runs and coops, with screens in between, with two mallard drakes on one side, and the two Swedish on the other side. But we lost one of the drakes a few weeks back, and we've since opened up the space between the sides, and everybody, so far, has been getting along. We had been thinking about getting food with extra calcium, but we don't want to over-calcium the drake. If we just get a calcium supplement separate from the food, will the drake mostly leave it alone? We could go back to separate living arrangements if that makes it easier for the boys and girls to get their respective best diets, but Scaramanga was a little lonely by himself.
3) Should we be separating the mallard drake from the girls anyhow, just to avoid overly aggressive mating behavior? One of the reasons we went for the slightly large Swedish (about 5 lbs. vs. 2.8 lbs for the mallard) was so they could stand up a bit better to any overzealous advances. So far, however, the only mounting I've seen is between the two girls. Mostly in the pond before it froze, but a few times in the run since. We're presuming that will change come the spring...
Anyhow, any and all advice appreciated!