I'm Craig. I been stalking the forum for wisdom for awhile but this is my first posting. This year my fiance and I have started up a small duck farm outside of Sebastopol, California. After culling out males, we've got 47 appleyards. We've had a few bumps in the road- normal learning curve sort of problems- but this one really takes the cake.
Without a light on in the coop all night, my ducks simply do not give me any peace. They are a panicking mess from sundown to sunup. My bedroom is uninsulated and very close to theirs.With the light on they're quiet. I've read here about others having this issue and keeping a light on, but I'm not satisfied with that solution. First off I hate running an extension cord out to the coop on a longterm basis. Second I've read in Holderread's book that a 24 hour light cycle can wreak havoc on a growing duck- activating hormones at an improper time and causing the bird to lay eggs too soon at the expense of the bird's ovaries and overall longevity. Third it's just ridiculous that my waterfowl need a night light.
I'm sure that I've caused this issue. These birds are my whole future livelihood so I kept a red heat lamp on them at night longer than necessary. When I tried turning it off they panicked all night- so I went out and bought a low wattage light bulb to placate them. Figured it was better than wasting 50 watts on a heat lamp every night. I've tried several times to turn the light off but every time eventually gave in and turned it on so i could get some sleep.
A couple days ago I decided to dig my heels in and stow the extension cord. As expected, I slept very little last night. This is now night two. About a quarter after midnight. And I'm ready to pull my hair out. About every two minutes my charming flock erupts into a cacophony of panicked quacking. And I know what's going on in there. Mad rushing from wall to wall. Piles of thrashing birds. No good.
Has anybody had and then solved this problem? Is it a patience thing? A few nights from now will we all be peacefully sleeping? Or is there something I can do? I've considered maybe making some small, low shelters in there that they can tuck themselves into. Or, if I can't outright fix the problem, compromising and using a low wattage red bulb in the corner of the duckhouse. Perhaps a red bulb won't mess with their perceived daylight cycle and won't result in premature laying and prolapsed ovaries.
Any help is greatly appreciated!