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questions from an excited duck-newb!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
hello! i am a nervous (and delighted) first-time duck person and i have a few questions about my ducks. and wow, i totally adore my ducks! i am basically in love with them... lol. i guess i will lay out the scenario for you and ask my questions at the end.
 
i have had my two beautiful anconas, a hen and a drake, for about two weeks. every night, i lock them in a large, mink/raccoon-proof dog carrier. the hen (roäc) has been laying eggs in the hay in the dog carrier and covering them with hay. i have left the eggs alone because i am hoping roäc will hatch them. until a few days ago, the ducks spent all day in a net-covered pen which i moved to fresh ground every other day. then they started escaping, and i couldn't say no to them because they are too cute, so now they free range on my 1/2 acre fenced property during the day. there are lots of big trees and undergrowth, so i am not too worried about ravens (though i am a bit worried). anyway, here are my questions:
 
1. does the fact that roäc lays the eggs in a depression in the hay and then covers them mean that roäc might want to sit on them when they have accumulated enough eggs?
 
2. should i put the drake (baba yaga) in separate night quarters when (if) roäc starts sitting? i don't want roäc to be disturbed, but i also don't want either duck to feel lonely. they get along famously right now.
 
3. currently, the ducks free range in the day, i give them kale in their water, and i give them duck grower and rolled oats at night (plus oyster shell for roäc). should i give roäc more commercial feed and oats (or greens) if roäc starts sitting so the eggs don't get cold while roäc forages for hours?
 
4. if roäc hatches the eggs and we have ducklings(!!!!!!!), could all the ducks, including the drake,  share night quarters?
 
5. (haha, this is a lot questions, thank you for even reading this far!) can adult anconas get through 3.5-inch wide x 4-inch high gaps in a wire fence? they haven't yet, but i am worried about my sweet ducks meeting my angry neighbour or a random dog. i know the hoped-for ducklings would need something duckling-proof.
 
also, omg, i am a full-time fan of my ducks. they are supremely photogenic and i will post pics of them if i ever have enough time online.
 
thank you to anyone who replies!!! i can't reply to your replies right away because i have very limited access to the internet, but i am grateful in advance to all the helpful folks!
 
[edited to add:] i wrote this post offline yesterday and now i am online and some new stuff has happened!
 
roäc, my hen, didn't come out of the house right away this morning. usually both ducks rush out making their "yay! foraging!" noises. but today roäc stayed inside on the clutch of eggs! and had arranged the hay to be more nest-like! so i was super excited and i thought roäc had started sitting. i put out food and water near the house and then left the ducks alone. (the drake was hanging out near the house instead of going off to forage.)
 
a couple hours later, i noticed the ducks were foraging in the orchard! after 4 hours out and about, roäc returned to the eggs. does anyone know what is going on with my mysterious ducks? and are the eggs still ok after being sat on for at least a couple hours and left for four hours? should i try to find a broody hen or goose and give them the eggs before the eggs die?
 
haha, i know i am being overly anxious. my ducks know what they are doing and roäc will either hatch some eggs or not. anyway, thank you for reading and possibly replying!
post #2 of 5

It sounds as if your hen is thinking about going broody.  When she starts pulling feathers to add to the nest you will know that she is even closer to setting.  Many times a hen will hover over the eggs without completely setting prior to going broody.  She knows what she is doing through her genetic programing.  once she starts setting is there any possibility of putting the drake in a separate crate at night facing hers so that they can see one another?  Many if not most drakes especially in a pair type situation can actually be attentive parents.  Note how he reacts to the ducklings and then determine if you feel that it is safe to leave him with them unsupervised.

 

Somehow I get the feeling that you are a bit excited.  :P  Best wishes for a successful hatch.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

thanks for the reassurance! i will watch for roac to start adding feathers to the nest, for sure. i'm not sure about the drake. the drake has just hung around quietly today, but maybe i'll get another dog crate just in case...

 

hah, i am so ridiculously excited, i can't even. :weeewhich is sort of silly, because i know my hen could stop sitting at any time. roac definitely waddles to the beat of their own drum. what a character, omg.

post #4 of 5

You might want to get a 'back up' incubator just in case.  This can help lead to another set of hatching addictions.  Yeah, I am an enabler.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
Reply
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

haha, funny story...my hen stopped sitting. :( so i started saving up eggs to try again, wondering whether my hen could be trusted with them, and my friend said i could borrow her chicken hen! she has been sitting for over a week! so i am very excited, as you can imagine. anyway, i shall post belated updates as i make it to the internet. and hopefully, cute pics of ducklings if all goes well.:love

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