Originally Posted by ChickenOfTheC
Thanks for the replies. Love all of your ducks, learycow! I'm with you, I also like the blue pied. These are my first ducks, but I am definitely hooked. I plan to get a few more females. What do you think a good male to female ratio would be? They have such personality. I love seeing them out there with all my chickens. I have heard duck eggs can be a little harder to hatch out than chicken eggs. Do any of you have experience in incubating them?
I have had a hard time getting muscovy eggs to hatch in the incubator so I too let the mothers do it for me.
I have 2-3 hens for every drake. If you keep them in a pen area, I generally won't put more than 2 drakes in the same pen. But I've found that there is always a more dominant one that ends up doing all the breeding and won't let the other drake breed.
I let mine free range during the day. I have one main breeding group, 2 hens with a very large drake. He tends to breed with anyone he wants, but he sticks with his two girls and is very protective of them.
I have another drake, a young one, that I have penned with 4 hens. He was picked on by my main drake which is why I have him separate now. He isn't quite full grown but will be a beautiful duck to breed. So I want to make sure he mates with some of my hens!
If you do let the hens do it, make sure they nest in an area where they can't get taken by a predator (or where eggs won't get taken by rats). Last year, each of my hens laid and hatched out 3 clutches. I would leave the ducklings with them for the first 2-5 days, then take them away. The hens would generally take 3-4 weeks off to fatten up and start a new nest. Then do the process all over again. They are a lot of fun to have :)