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Signs Your Ducks are about to start laying?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I haven't had ducks since I was a kid and although I remember the big important things there are a few things I just don't remember.  Do you see any signs before your ducks start laying eggs?  My hens haven't started yet and I'm wondering what signs I'll see to indicate they are close to starting.  Do they suddenly increase their feed intake?  Show unusual behaviors?  What tells you your ducks are thinking about starting egg laying?

 

Thanks! 

Bordering on insanity alongside my Border collies and Indian runners.
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Bordering on insanity alongside my Border collies and Indian runners.
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post #2 of 6
Once I get an egg I can tell they are starting to lay. Really there aren't all that many signs. They will play hop on top for a while before they start and will start to dig around in the nesting box and may sit or they might do nothing and you will find a random egg.

My phone thinks that it is smarter than I, please excuse the typos and nonsense jabber.

 

5 ducks, 3 chickens, 2 dogs and 1 cat all in suburbia.

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My phone thinks that it is smarter than I, please excuse the typos and nonsense jabber.

 

5 ducks, 3 chickens, 2 dogs and 1 cat all in suburbia.

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post #3 of 6

Mine started hop on top about a month before starting to lay.  One or two made little nests here and there.

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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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

My girls discovered the nesting boxes and it looks like they had a party in them.  No eggs though.  Tonight I'll be cleaning out their messy quacker box before the next freeze- Sunday's high will be 1 F.

Bordering on insanity alongside my Border collies and Indian runners.
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Bordering on insanity alongside my Border collies and Indian runners.
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post #5 of 6

Mine played hop on top for almost 5 months before they started to lay.  Every day seemed like it got more and more ramped up in intensity and how excited they were to head bob and flirty quack to each other.  It started with my boss hen ( who has about 2 lbs on the other hens)  laying flat in the water, then  the boss & the 2nd biggest hen  would lay flat in the water. Until all four were laying flat on the water flirty calling to  each other until one decided to hop on top.

Now when they  hop on top I sometimes see two hens standing on each other standing on top of the boss hen.

 

My boss hen would make the girls all go into the nest box for about an hour day each day.

 

I checked obsessively from about 5 months old til Thanksgiving,  Then i just gave up on looking for eggs.

 

Right before Christmas I found 2 eggs in the nest box.  I only found them because i fluff the bedding daily as long as temps allow.  

 

My smallest hen laid 2 eggs a day for 2 days. Then she settled in to one egg a day and haven't missed a day since.  My second hen started laying  about 1.5 -2 weeks later.  I don't know  who the second layer is but i suspect that it is my 2nd smallest hen.

 

All the hens take a turn in the nest box. My two layers  lay  in the same nest  every day except for the night of our Clipper snow storm.  My tiny hen  slept under the stars that night and laid her egg outside.  Her nest was the only area in the pen that didn't have snow in it.

 

Now that two hens are laying I've noticed that pecking order has changed a bit.  Boss hen is still the talker forthe group but the others  will butt peck her to make her move out ofthe wat. THey didn't dare do that before laying.

 

So far the nesting box is staying super clean. I hope it stays that way.


Edited by cayugaducklady - 1/15/16 at 12:51pm
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

One of my hens is laying!  I found several duck nests and 1 egg!  :weeeSince it was below zero yesterday the egg froze.  I found another egg at 5:35 am this morning when I went to let the ducks out.  That egg is in my fridge.  :)  Also saw 4 nests made-- did I disturb them midlay or is it a matter of making just the right nest to lay eggs in so making several?

Is there a way you can encourage ducks to lay early?  I usually leave for work at 5:30 am and let the ducks out of their pen at that time.  Any eggs laid after I leave for work will freeze.  Heating the duck house wouldn't help as the ducks are determined to lay outside the hut.  I put out a few small nest boxes in the yard so at least they aren't laying them on the frozen ground.  I will be trying to find out if a neighbor would be willing to collect eggs for me in the mornings.  I want to start hatching eggs in an incubator in a few weeks so collecting eggs when they are fresh is very important.  

 

Thanks!

Bordering on insanity alongside my Border collies and Indian runners.
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Bordering on insanity alongside my Border collies and Indian runners.
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