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Continuing a duck generation... Breeding/tips anyone?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey there everyone.

 

I recently moved into a new home on 20 acres with my family. Eventually we intend to live as self-sufficiently as possible. Because of simplicity, we are starting our learning with ducks. We are planning on purchasing our first batch of Pekins at the beginning of May. But there are a few questions I have regarding generations and breeding that maybe some of you veterans could help me with.

 

1. I have my first set of Pekins. Should I try to get the male ducks and female ducks from different sources so there's no inbreeding? I am not sure how this sort of things matter with waterfowl.

 

2. We are keeping the birds for meat. However, we want to be self-reliant, and we want to keep mates to spawn new ducks for us. This is legitimate practice, right? We have done a lot of reading but can't seem to find an answer on how often ducks actually lay fertile eggs. I also haven't found any good information on how to tell if an egg is fertile--- since we plan on collecting some eggs for eating. Any tips on breeding really would help... I have read a few texts but none seem to be answering this question specifically on Pekins. (Easier to find info on Muscovies.)

 

3. What's a good number for a beginner? Assuming I'm keeping 2-3 hens for producing eggs and spawn. Should I get equal numbers of males to keep them company? I know that ducks tend to mate for life, but I've also read that Pekins may not be the same in that regard. Can someone help clear this up for me? I would like to only have to pluck 4 ducks at most when it comes time--- since it is my first time and I've heard plucking is HARD. I don't want to be stuck plucking 5+ ducks come 4-6 months from now-- I do eventually plan on getting a plucker, but I want to make sure I love the meat first. That being said, is 3 breeding pairs too much or little for a beginner? Should I buy PAIRS? Or will one male do the trick?

 

I hope these aren't too much of ignorant questions! I really want to be well prepared. Any tips or resources regarding this information would be very useful! I've been reading "Barnyard in your Backyard" and "Natural Farming and Sustainable Living." Let me know what you're reading!

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 6

Hey! :)

Hopefully someone who knows about breeding can answer these better, I have no personal experience, I've just done quite a lot of reading.

You want at least 3-4 ducks per drake, since they can be overly rough on the hens and injure them, especially if they pick a favorite and over breed her while ignoring the others.

 

Take these with a grain of salt but, based on what I've heard others say, inbreeding is okay as long as it's not too many generations, so you'd wanna make sure you do bring in new blood, but some is okay. I don't have any sources for this one, haven't heard anyone talk about it, but it looks like most of the eggs they lay, as long as they have a drake doing their job, should be fertile.

I found this: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/16008/how-to-tell-a-fertile-vs-infertile-egg-pictures I'm pretty sure it's the same for ducks.

I hope any of those help!

 

Good luck! And enjoy your ducks when you get them.

post #3 of 6

I've got less land than you, but our goals seem to be inline. My plan has been 5-6 adult birds in total made up of 1 drake 4-5 ducks. As Ghibli said, you definitely want to have the ducks outnumber the drakes. Drakes can be rough on ducks. This spring I had one female who was "favorited" and the male managed to pull all the feathers out of the back of her neck in a matter of days. My flock was a heavier on males than I would have liked come the spring and I ended up having to cull some of the flock due to the imbalance.

 

Remember that some breeds lay more than others. I've no experience with Pekins, but I believe they do about 1/day through the laying season. My rule of thumb has been (number of ducks - 1 ) = Max Number of eggs I'll collect in a day.

 

As far as inbreeding or "line breeding" as it's also known you shouldn't really have a problem. Line breeding is used by breeders trying to breed for show and those that are trying to breed for certain characteristics (larger or different colored eggs, better meat production, less skittish birds.) For the farm, I’d suggest using the same breeding stock for a few years. you’ll have your 1 male and a few females  and pretty much all their offspring would be used for meat. You wouldn’t need to add more birds unless you lost some to predation or disease. Since you’re raising meat birds, you’d be able to raise up 1 or 2 at a time to replace any unexpected losses. This is fine for a few generations but my suggestion would be to introduce new stock maybe every 3 years (add a few years if you’re not replacing breeders due to loss more than once a year.) When you introduce new blood you can choose to mix them in with your flocks gene pool, or start over. It’s up to you and what you’re seeing out of the offspring at that point.


Edited by dotknott - 4/12/16 at 7:26am

Follow my flock on instagram and on my blog herouxpotager.com

 

My Flock: 5 ducks, 2 drakes - All Saxonies.

Reply

Follow my flock on instagram and on my blog herouxpotager.com

 

My Flock: 5 ducks, 2 drakes - All Saxonies.

Reply
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hey, thanks alot the both of you. Everything was very useful and I love the photos of a fertilized egg. Really glad you guys could clear up the drake to duck ratio--- because goodness my books made it sound like they needed partners, so I was a little frightened! This makes me feel much better (would hate to be tearing apart couples every time I needed to cull :(  I always get so upset when i see a solo canadian goose.) Thanks!

 

 

One more thing, now that those questions are answered. And this may seem like a silly question--

 

But if you find one fertile egg, does that mean the rest of them will be fertile too, or just the one? I'm a bit confused since it is so much different! I always see ducks with many ducklings, so I assume they are all fertile for a certain amount of time. But I could be wrong? I'm not sure if there are different instances of mating for each fertilized egg. You guys must think I'm silly. :)

 

I do appreciate the answers--- I have been digging and digging for sources on this stuff myself but I seem to be missing information.

 

Thanks again!

post #5 of 6
Egg fertility rates are going to depend on the duck and the drake.

Duck reproductive organs are kinda crazy and ladies can store sperm from males separately and I believe choose to pass sperm to the egg from the sperm source of her choosing. This is a mechanism that wild ducks have to prevent offspring from unwanted mates, and as far ask know the mechanism exists in domestic ducks as well.

In my last round of incubation I set 7 eggs. Of those 7 only one was infertile, though I've checked the eggs I've eaten and all appeared to be fertilized. YMMV, but unless you're asking one male to do the deed with a menagerie of a dozen ladies, I don't think he's going to struggle under the workload.

Follow my flock on instagram and on my blog herouxpotager.com

 

My Flock: 5 ducks, 2 drakes - All Saxonies.

Reply

Follow my flock on instagram and on my blog herouxpotager.com

 

My Flock: 5 ducks, 2 drakes - All Saxonies.

Reply
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dotknott View Post

Egg fertility rates are going to depend on the duck and the drake.

Duck reproductive organs are kinda crazy and ladies can store sperm from males separately and I believe choose to pass sperm to the egg from the sperm source of her choosing. This is a mechanism that wild ducks have to prevent offspring from unwanted mates, and as far ask know the mechanism exists in domestic ducks as well.

In my last round of incubation I set 7 eggs. Of those 7 only one was infertile, though I've checked the eggs I've eaten and all appeared to be fertilized. YMMV, but unless you're asking one male to do the deed with a menagerie of a dozen ladies, I don't think he's going to struggle under the workload.


Thank you!!! This is helpful.

 

I understand alot of this much better now. Thanks for everything!

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