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Could this work?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ThePolishPrincess, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. Hi! We got an interesting request from a friend who raises and breeds Call ducks. She knows we have tons of broody birds here and originally was wondering if we could use some broody chickens to hatch out her eggs and raise the ducklings until they begin to be weaned off of Mamma. Then we give them back for her to select who goes into the breeding pen and who is sold as a cull. Basically, we'd be the incubators. But when we told her that it was our 'Scovies who were the baddest birds on the block, hissing and biting everything in site while broody, she wondered if we could use them. She has two reasons for wanting this arrangement. One: wants to test a theory that naturally incubated and mother-raised Call females will grow up to have a broody tendencey (I explained that I don't think it worked that way: she said she wanted to give it a try anyway.) And also, none of her chickens OR Calls ever go broody, she says! She wanted us to try and hatch some of her babies out in the spring. We have a small pond, too, so basically, we do have the necessities. But do we have the management abilities?

    So, we're wondering how this could possibly work...we could separate Momma duck with her eggs in a dog crate and let her loose to go swimming a few times a day. But what about when the babies hatch? Would our own ducks try and hurt the babies? (We have one Call drake ourselves, as well as 2 Call hens and one other 'Scovy hen). This is only a thought right now...obviously we'd have some issues that need working out, should be wish to go through with this. We already know that chickens and baby ducks cannot meet. Our chickens are vicious. But we've never had ducklings meet our adult ducks. For what it's worth, our Drake is a tiny, shy and polite gentleman. He's a good boy.

    Ideas or experiences?

  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    It would not be any different than if the muscovy hen laid the eggs herself, she would take care of everything. As for the other ducks they would just think they were momma muscovies babies. When my girls had ducklings she pretty much kept the ducklings away from the other ducks. I have heard of Drakes killing ducklings before but ours didn't bother them
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Bantam hens make great broodies for anything and everything. Super broodies like cochins or silkies wil usually brood and raise ducklings readily. When using chickens to brood ducks some people put a flat piece of sod in the bottom of the nest (for moisture). Lightly sprinkling the eggs with water once a day accomplishes the same thing. I'm not sure how strong call duck eggs are and if the larger heavier muscovy hens might inadvertantly crack them. Like you I am fairly positive that broodiness is an inherited trait rather than a "learned" behavior. Sounds like a neat experiment. Why not try both chickens and muscovies as broodies and find which are most effective?
  4. kuecker1

    kuecker1 Chirping

    Nov 28, 2010
    From my experience muscovy hens do not work at all on call duck eggs. They are too big and crush the eggs when getting off and back on the nest. Also when protecting the nest they tend to crush the eggs. I have used bantam cochins and silkies and they worked great.
  5. Thanks everyone. [​IMG] I had begun to think that the big ducks could cause those sorts of issues. I forgot to mention that one other reason our friend would have prefered a duck mom to a chicken mom was so that she could teach them to swim. Seeing as Momma Silkie would flip out the second those babies found water. [​IMG] As much as a sight it could be, broody ducks were prefered at the moment. (Honestly, I think the Silkies would work better.) (We'd rather not use both animals-just either/or. It would become confusing.)

    So, am I to assume that broody Silkies (for those who have owned them) should be taken away from roosters? My birds come from decent lines and don't have the same tendencies that the more active hatchery birds do. Their pecking order is much more laid back and these birds rarely fight. (I have 3 hens in with 1 rooster.) I usually say that broody hens should be isolated from other birds because of fighting and alot of issues that can result with broken eggs. But I also hear that Silkie roosters can make good fathers and can be civil toward a hen's brood?

    I'd still appreciate anyone's thoughts on the subjects. [​IMG] (And for what it's worth, we have two over-1-year-old Call ladies, neither of whom laid a single egg ever and obviously never went broody. So they're most likely not an option.)

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