I am so confused right now, and have been often when reading what others have said about their ducks and breeding..... Don't know allot about ducks so sorry if this is stupid, but I was sure ducks, especially Mallards matted for life??? So if that is the case how do you get them to breed more than 1 hen?
So what I am hearing is that I messed up getting rid of my hatchery breeds and getting all heritage, if I want eggs through the winter???? Dang'it!!!
BAHAHAHAAHHAHA! Ducks mating for life; what a riot! Nope, nope and nope. Drakes are the horniest, most rapacious little swingers God has ever made, I think. Muscovy are better than Mallard-derived (my Muscovy drakes have yet to get busy with anyone). Geese are monogamous (supposedly, though research into different wild geese has found that there is some fooling around that happens between largely monogamous couples).
Hatchery birds are probably more likely to lay well because hatcheries make their living on eggs, and the customers generally want eggs more than beautiful type. Heritage birds tend to lay smaller eggs, less often and get a really late start (7 mos to a year). Size and number may pick up as the bird ages (to a point). Champion egg layers are industrial, commercial strains that are as far from heritage as you're likely to get.
EDIT: Regarding winter layers specifically: Look for huge birds. Brahmas, Faverolles, Cochins, Bielefelders, possibly Giants and big Orps. Huge birds don't feel the cold quite so much and keep plugging along right through it (if you're lucky). My Brahmas and Cochin have been really, really good layers this winter. Oddly enough, an Australorp and one of the EEs have been pretty good too.
Well, kinda they do. I have noticed my mallards pick one drake or the other. Seems like the hens do the choosing here. Huey the scovy, for example picks one drake. Until she goes broody, no other hen dares go near her guy. Once she is on that nest, that fella gets picked up by another hen unless theres another drake around they like. The dominant drakes are always the fellas that are chosen.
The geese are sort of the same, but Embden show the most bonds. BB (BigBoy) will only breed the dominant goose, once she is on a nest, he is on to the next hen. Its more like a group bonds, than pairs in domestic waterfowl.
Now in wild geese and ducks, I understand its different.