Ancona Ducks and Laying, some questions...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by m.kitchengirl, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, I have 2 Ancona ducks and one drake.
    He has become ... frisky with the girls, and lately has moved from surfing to something that actually looks like it may be successful.

    I mostly got the ducks for eggs, but also to help the breed and, if needed, I love to prepare duck, and am willing to eat any boys I can't sell.

    1.) I know that Anconas are supposed to be great layers, but will they come to lay during winter months?
    (I am sure this question has lots of answers that conflict with one another, just looking for experiences.)
    2.) If I am using the eggs as DP (I don't have an incubator, but if I get a broody hen this spring I have no rooster...) should I feed breeder feed?
    3.) Is breeder feed bad for drakes to access?
    I know that layer feed is bad for them, but he is not "picky" about what he eats.

    I am sure a lot of these questions apply to many breeds, and I can't seem to find good info on the subject.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  2. AuroraSprings

    AuroraSprings Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1.) Anconas will mostly lay year-round, with a 2-4 month break depending on where you live, the weather, and the lighting.
    2.) What are you feeding now?
    3.) Mine all get layer feed year round. They are free-fed so they decide how much is okay. I leave out oyster shell as a supplement when the girls are laying.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  3. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Overrun With Chickens

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    I only have one ancona, but she has been laying an egg a day for a few months now. There have only been 2 days in the past 2 months I didn't find an egg from her. They don't have any additional lighting.
     
  4. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    2.) What are you feeding now?

    Now I am feeding Mazuri waterfowl maintenance. I got the girls August 6th and they were a week old.

    I assume they won't lay until Spring, but don't want to deprive them of calcium if I am wrong about that.

    I read drakes shouldn't eat the layer feed, I am just not sure how to keep him feeding separately & am concerned about him having too much calcium.
    I also read that if they are breeding they should have breeder, so it is confusing. I am not sure if the breeder has lower calcium levels & would be better for a mixed gender flock.

    I free feed now as well, and can add oyster shell, just don't want to over expose them if they aren't going to lay for another 4 months.

    I supplement with all sorts of kitchen scraps - mostly vegetables, peeled boiled potatoes, whole oats, lots of kale stems & peas, etc. Have tried to give them yogurt but they just look at it, disgusted. My chickens have a yogurt party and make a giant mess of themselves and anything near themselves when we have yogurt.​
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2011
  5. toadbriar

    toadbriar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Their sibs haven't started laying yet either - but they're thinking drakes are pretty interesting... and the gander too. (The gander looks vaguely disgusted at their shameless displays.)

    My drakes eat the layer with everyone else, I think it even says on the packaging it's fine (Blue Seal)

    Based solely on age I'm not expecting eggs until mid-January at the soonest - maybe not til Feb. Keep them on the Mazuri, it's awesome, but for anyone getting near laying age (do you have an older hen? I forget.) add free-choice grit in a separate dish. I think Breeder formula is more to maximize the nutritional balance to produce hatchable eggs.

    I do think the feeds are formulated for birds who do not forage or get extras... so I can't imagine yours being in anything but awesome condition [​IMG]

    You might add black oil sunflower seeds to the list o' goodies - they like it, and it adds a bit of fat for the winter.

    And yeah I couldn't get anyone to eat yogurt. And me telling em how much chickens like it, didn't help convince em [​IMG]
     
  6. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Their sibs haven't started laying yet either - but they're thinking drakes are pretty interesting... and the gander too. (The gander looks vaguely disgusted at their shameless displays.)

    My drakes eat the layer with everyone else, I think it even says on the packaging it's fine (Blue Seal)

    Thanks, Toadbriar! The girls are doing wonderfully. They are my only two girls. I had a pair, but they were aggressive with the trio so I sold them to another farm. I kept our girls & Mr.B & peace has spread across the land. (Except lately Mr. B. reminds me more of Che Guevara, muttering in a subversive way to his girls all the time. He likes to stand between me & them & guard them from the evil dictator who brings them peas and fills their pool with warm water at 7:15 in the morning so they can have a hot tub party while I go to work.)

    I'm not expecting eggs until mid-January at the soonest - maybe not til Feb.

    I thought February, but wasn't sure. I have 2 bags of Mazuri left before I run out, and my feed store doesn't order it again until February or so. Grrrr. I hope it lasts til then, but it will be cutting it close.
    I think I am going to spend the winter on really understanding feed so I can mix my own. Just in case. That & designing my garden to incorporate more forage and bedding material the rotation.

    I am glad, when the time comes, I don't have to worry about Mr. B. eating the layer/breeder feed. I think we want to hatch a few eggs, so I will probably start them on a breeder ration in late January, and switch them to layer after March/April. Does that sound right?

    I will try the black sunflower seeds. I have eyed them often at the feed store, but I try to feed only healthy treats & not junk food treats, and wasn't sure which side of the line they were on. I'll add them into the mix for sure.

    I got the [​IMG] to add a bigger coop & run area with a built in pond in Spring, so they will be extra happy little quackers come April or May.
    The M.O.T.H. is getting me a sleeping bag suit for Christmas because I have refused to give up time with my flock & sit out there freezing. He says he can't watch anymore, and ordered it the other night. I'll make sure to post pics when it comes. I will look ridiculous, in a way I believe will be worth sharing! [​IMG]
     
  7. mylittlehippie

    mylittlehippie Out Of The Brooder

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    At what age do Ancona ducks stop laying?
     

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