Bringing "Egg Zen" to the duck pen!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Dusky Beauty, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Songster

    Aug 11, 2011
    Upshur County, Texas
    The 5 khaki campbells I ordered are now 18 weeks old, and my layer hybrids are 13 weeks, so it's a little soon for them, but I also have a fully adult buff orpington duck I have had for 2 months, and a campbell I acquired a few days ago who was laying until she arrived, as well as two black swedish "girls" (I got them with the buff, no drake plumage, and their quacks are loud (unlike my drake), but not quite as full bodied as all my other hens, they sound kind of breathless when they "talk"-- I'm starting to suspect they're a bit androgynous.)
    Is there anything I can do to make my pen more "zen" to encourage laying in my adult girls?

    My nighttime pen is 23x11 in open floor space, located about a hundred yards from the house in a very quiet corner of the yard. It's a chain link run with no roof, a windbreak set up, and about 3 nesting "huts" filled with hay- one large, two small in the opposite corner from where all the ducks gather to eat and drink.

    22 ducks are housed in that space from approx 6 pm to 10 am, they free range and forage around the 2 acre backyard the rest of the time. I'm feeding a mana pro chicken layer crumble feed with a little cracked corn mixed in since it got colder, Sometimes when they free range I notice them eating dog food from the outdoor dog bowls (which is purina complete.)
    None of the ducks are obese, and none of them are too thin, and there is usually a little food left in the feeder when they get out in the late morning. They get a full feeding in the evening and a half feeding 12 hours later.

    Feather condition is quite good and no one is sick.

    I've never had any predators thanks to my guard dogs, and I only have one drake so it's not like they are being harassed.

    They all seem pretty content during the day.

    It seems to me like the buff should be well adjusted enough by now to be producing, and like I mentioned, a khaki I got a few days ago laid for her previous owner the morning before she came out to the farm (they gave her to me because she was an only duck and very lonely.)

    I keep them penned up until 10 am, and I've checked all over the yard, just in case there is an egg hiding spot, it's too cold for snakes to be stealing eggs so it's a pretty sure thing they just aren't laying.
    The only thing I can possibly think of that might "stress" them is when my daughter has to chase and catch her 4H duck briefly to handle it, and the adult swedish "girls" are very bossy to the other ducks sometimes.

    Any one have any suggestions of things I could do to close the "no egg" gap? holiday baking season is coming fast!
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Have you tried putting wooden eggs into little nooks and corners with some extra straw? That encourages my runners to lay in that spot.

    I leave the wooden eggs and just take the duck eggs.
  3. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    That's a lot to read... However if they are stressed out they will not lay right now.
  4. Tivona

    Tivona Songster

    Jun 2, 2011
    Do you provide any light (part or all) of the night? Usually from what I read you want a total of 17 hours of light every day for best laying. I don't quite manage 17 hours but I do have a few extra hours of light supplied during the fall and winter and I got eggs every day last winter from my layer hybrids. Metzers Farms has a great page on Maximizing Egg Production that gave me a number of tips. You can find it by going to their website and its on the left hand list under Care & Management.
  5. SassyKat6181

    SassyKat6181 Songster

    Aug 30, 2010
    Western Mass
    My khaki campbells started laying at about 20 weeks old. I also agree that stress will cause the new birds to not lay. And, light is a major factor. I was consistently getting 8-9 eggs per day from my 9 girls and last week we got a freak snowstorm and were without power for 6 days. The lack of extended light in the coop had dropped my eggs to 2 per day. They've had the light back on for a week now and today I got 4. Even the chickens got messed up. I usually get 18-22 and was down to 7 a few days ago.

    Some birds are also seasonal layers. My mallard stopped laying about a month ago.
  6. Czech's_chicks

    Czech's_chicks Songster

    Jul 24, 2011
    Vista, CA
    the top of a dog house laying on the ground with straw seems to be an egg magnet for me. Already have another broody with a next of over a dozen.
  7. Luciesbuddys

    Luciesbuddys In the Brooder

    Mar 21, 2011
    I had been getting one egg a day from one of my ducks (the others are not laying or they are just way to good at hiding them) until i put the heat lamp in the coop. Now that she has more light no egg [​IMG] Thank god it didn't mess up my chickens .... Like you said its baking season!.... but i would prefer to have the duck eggs for baking
  8. Dusky Beauty

    Dusky Beauty Songster

    Aug 11, 2011
    Upshur County, Texas
    This week, I am beginning to notice several of my girls doing the head bob soft quacks at my drake and androgynous dinner ducks. Can't be long now! [​IMG] My poor crippled penciled runner drake is going to go nuts with 20 hens all after him! [​IMG]

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