ARE MY MUSCOVIES BREEDING?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by zeberman, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. zeberman

    zeberman Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2013
    Hello. I am a first time muscovy owner, with a pair of 8 month-olds (1 drake, 1 hen), that i have been raising since they were 3 weeks old. Six days ago my little hen started a nest in the old duck house that we used to keep them in when they were babies (its a little small for them as adults). over the last six days she has laid 8 eggs, (2 a day over the last 2 days). Now my question is, are the eggs fertile? while i have seen the drake nibble the back of her neck on occasion, i have never witnessed them mating. So I am wondering, is it possible that the hen could have started laying before the drake was ready to mate? or, conversely, is it possible that they are mating and I just haven't seen it? I don't have my eye on them all the time, and they also spend plenty of time in secluded areas where i don't see them. i really want her to have ducklings, so i have not disturbed the nest. I am planning on waiting til she starts brooding and then candling the eggs to see if they are viable, however I don't want the eggs to rot, and would happily try a few for eating. The weather is still fairly cold as i live in western pennsylvania, so temperature shouldn't be too much of a factor. So i guess my main question would be, is it possible that the ducks could be mating unobserved or is it more likely that they just haven't started yet? any input? thanks.
    -Danica
     
  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm going to try to answer these in order.

    2 a day is unlikely but she may have hidden some extras and decided to move them.

    Typically, the first eggs aren't fertile or have a low hatch rate anyway because her system is still working out the kinks. I remove the first 10-14 eggs to get better hatches.

    I rarely ever see my drake mating and have 13 juveniles and 11 2-week olds. So, who knows. ;)

    I would remove the oldest looking eggs, any very dirty, misshapen or very small eggs. Mark the remaining eggs with a sharpie so you
    know which are older. Crack open one of the removed eggs to see if there is a bullseye shape on the yolk. If there is, its fertile.

    I'd recommend only allowing her 10-15 max to better her chances of hatching. Make sure you have a plan for the ducklings or only allow her to set on the max that you can keep.

    Good luck
     
  3. zeberman

    zeberman Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2013
    Thanks for your response. now i am very confused though because i just found another nest in with the chickens with one more duck egg in it. that would mean that she has laid two eggs a day for the last three days. yesterday i did have them locked up in the chicken coop all afternoon after a scare with a hawk, which means she could have decided to lay an egg there. but now i'm starting to question whether my male is actually a female?? which would blow my mind...because "he" is several lbs larger, has more developed caruncles, is the only one of the two who makes the raspy honk sound, and generally stands guard around her. also i have seen her in the nest box but not him. but...how is she laying so many eggs? i dont think she could have moved them into the nest as she has to fly up into a little door on the duck house to get in. literally 9 eggs in 6 days...and thanks i will mark them and take out the older dirtier ones. maybe i will slowly start taking them out a couple at a time until ive taken out about a dozen and then let her go from there. heres a picture of the nest, quite perfect. i have not touched this as of yet.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would be a little unsure also. Laying 2 eggs isn't unheard of but it is an occasional thing not a recuring thing.

    Hens can vary in size but not by much. I have 1 adult female that is noticably smaller than the others, maybe 1 lb difference difference though.

    Are you 100% that they are all duck eggs?

    By their age, the size difference will be unmistakable.

    I don't think you can post pics yet. So we can't help from there. If you take out one of the older eggs and open it and it's fertile than you know. If you haven't seen a fertile egg, search for "bullseye" on this site and you'll get threads with pics, it looks the same with chickens.

    Here is a compatison of size from some of mine.
    Mine at about 1 year old, dad in the foreground and mom just behind the babies.
    [​IMG]

    The drake on the right and 2 of the hens on the left. They were about 5-6 months in this pic.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. zeberman

    zeberman Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, i'm starting to feel pretty certain that i have two females! They are MUCH closer in size than your picture, i just took this pic tonight so its dark but you can see that they are very similar.
    [​IMG]
    The one on the left is what i thought was the drake. you can see his caruncle is more developed (the red nub forming on his bill is not present on the one on the right, and he has more around his bill). He puts his crest up and honks, while the one on the right just makes the chirping sound.
    But I have locked the "boy" up in the nesting house, and the female in the chicken coop, so I guess if there is a new egg in the nesting house tomorrow morning I will know for sure that they are both girls! Then to find a drake for the ladies!
     
  6. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would lean more towards female, a little hard to tell with the angle. Pictures can be so decieving in size comparison. Seperating is a great idea but they don't always lay an egg a day so I'd maybe keep them seperate if you don't get an egg from both today. My females raise their crests too. My drake is the only one that hisses and the girls chirp.

    If you do indeed have 2 girls, I'd try to get them used to using their own individual nest. Shared nests can cause problems with incubation and hatching. Just make another nest and put a few eggs in it.
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I agree with jw looks like to girls.[​IMG]
     
  8. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    The other one honks? like a quack? no drake then, they don't ever make that sound, only hiss... the females OTOH, trill, coo, chirp, honk/quack and hiss. Females do raise there crests and can be a bit more forward there not all docile.

    Here to show a drake and duck a good one i captured a few years ago... bet you know who is who and these ducks at the time were not 1yo. Good luck in your drake search!

    [​IMG]
     
  9. zeberman

    zeberman Out Of The Brooder

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    Yep. You were all right! "He" laid an egg last night!! Oops! i can't believe i went this long thinking he was a boy. Oh well guess that's how you learn. Now I need to get me a good drake for the ladies. Thanks for all your input.
     

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