breeding ducks for broodiness??

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by v.cyr, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. v.cyr

    v.cyr Songster

    May 4, 2010
    Greene, NY
    is there a way to breed for broodiness?... we have done more research and have settled on getting pekin ducks this spring... great for meat, good for eggs, and seem pretty much ideal for us... but I was talking to a couple old time farmers, who dislike the breed because they don't set... it seems that the general concensus among the farmers I talk to is thatducks are supposed to be really low maintinence... the only time some of them do anything with them is butchering time, and none want to be bothered with raising them... heck, most don't even bother to colect eggs from their duck(which is a shame)... but they don't have the same attitude about chickens, so go figure... anyways, back on topic...not setting wouldn't be an issue for us, because we have an incubator(and some chickens who would do the job for us), and don't mind the idea of a brooder full of ducklings, but it got me wondering... how would one go about breeding broodiness into pekins?...
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Yes, you can select for broodiness. Sepp Holzer, an Austrian farmer, has runners that are good mothers, so he doesn't need to incubate or brood the little ones.

    Seems to me that the ones that show any signs of broodiness (I have three, in my little flock of nine runners that get fairly broody), you hatch out their eggs and not the ones from the non-broody.

    I haven't done this, at least not yet, so this is conjecture on my part. But I know it has been done successfully.
  3. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Amiga is correct. Broodiness, or any trait that you want to amplify (?), is done by breeding the animals that exhibit that trait. You have a duck that is broody, hatch her eggs, any hens from that hatch that are broody are bred those that aren't are culled. And so on and so forth. I think the biggest thing on trying to do this that someone needs to realize is that there will be a lot of culls. A LOT.

    Pekin were bred to develop quickly at the expense of some traits, like broodiness. Artificial incubation done well on a mass scale, think hatchery, results in more viable offspring than a duck could hatch. The hen doesn't take a break from laying to set on a nest. It would take a lot of time to breed broodiness back in (at least on a regular basis, not just the odd broody Pekin).

    When I have the space (hopefully in the near future) I would like to do something like this. I have muscovy now and crossing them with other breeds results in sterility but I would love to work on developing a faster maturing line. I am considering just crossing muscovy and pekin to get a large fast growing meat breed.
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Broodiness is diametrically opposed to heavy egg laying. You can't have both. Thus, many breeds have had the broodiness bred out of them as much as possible.

    I don't want my ducks to brood. I want them to lay eggs. I pick their eggs up as soon as they are laid.

    However, I want my geese to brood and to raise their own young, so I let the geese hatch their own eggs. There won't be any little goslings in my flock that don't have a mother who knows how to hatch her own eggs. That effectively eliminates birds who don't brood from the gene pool of my flock.

    I expect my ganders to be good fathers, too, and would cull any who isn't good with babysitting tasks. It's different with ducks. Drakes just aren't into that domestic responsibility, so you can't expect drakes to be good fathers.

    If I did have a drake who was extra good with ducklings, He'd get more points towards being selected as a breeding animal. I'm not naturally hatching ducks, but I think that speaks towards a good temperament, and I seriously breed for temperament.

    So, if you want to breed towards broodiness, keep only replacement ducklings that were naturally hatched. You will get ducks from a mother who goes broody.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by