Hello there forums.
My family and I have had ducks for a little over a year now. We got them from a local pet store, and until recently have been raising them in an outdoor enclosure where they swim, lay their eggs and spend the day with one another (and of course their humans!)
Unfortunately, Our fawn runner duck Wilber passed away one night of an unknown cause, and a mere week later, our white crested was taken away by a coyote in the blink of an eye.
While we reinforce our outside enclosure, our two remaining ducks have been living inside. The two are quite happy and comfortable as all of the ducks have spent much time in the house while growing up.
Ramon, (my black swedish drake) and Chip (a rouen female) now take up residence on our main floor. They've settled in happily, and Chip began nesting in a box we gave to her.
The matriarch of the house, Shauna, would like to breed our ducks to try and mend the broken flock. We do not have an incubator and Chip doesn't seem like the particularly broody type. Chip has consistently been laying eggs since late winter, and Ramon does his best to make sure the eggs are fertilized, but until recently the rest of the family has shown little to no interest in hatching eggs.
I'm not very confident that Chip will be able to keep her eggs warm enough to hatch, and I question the safety of ducklings so young in a house with many other pets and (relatively) inexperienced humans. Another concern I had was the possibility of inbreeding as the ducklings grow into mature ducks. I don't know how much this effects the ducks if the eggs are not being hatched, but I've heard of hens disappearing to hatch eggs and re-appearing with a miniature flock weeks later. Looking forward, I'd hate to have an issue in that department with Ramon and a new duck, or with a new drake and Chip in years to come.
I want only the best for my Ramon and his favorite girl, and it is important to me that I don't make rash decisions based on grief for the ducks I lost, or a rebound desire for peeping fluffy angels.
If it's possible to allow Chip to hatch and raise her own, then I don't want to stand in the way - but if the venture is an irresponsible one, I'd like to stop it before it has chance to occur.
Ultimately I'd like to become more educated so I may properly care for my beloved animals.