do runner ducks use nest boxes

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by sweet duck mom, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. sweet duck mom

    sweet duck mom Out Of The Brooder

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    We have four little female runners who are nearing laying age (just turned sixteen wks). I know they are known for their "un-broodiness" so was wondering if they even make use of nest boxes. Will they sleep in them or just use them for egg laying? My sweet husband built them a beautiful house and run and will build them nest boxes as well but I don't want to have him go to the work of doing it if they won't be used by the girls. Also, do we need a separate box for each of the girls? Do we put the boxes in now or wait for the first egg. I have noticed that their pelvic bones are much less rigid but can still only fit two fingers between them. I'm guessing that we are still a few weeks from the first egg?
    By the way, we have found our runner girls to be quite calm but very busy. We did do a lot of cuddling with them from the start and they spent the first four or five weeks of their lives in the kitchen (where the family spends most of their time). We would have been fine with four nervous Nellies but are so pleased to have ended up with our four cuddlers. One of them expects to be picked up first thing in the morning so that she can climb up and lay her head on our shoulders and nuzzle under our necks. So, so sweet. We are first time duck owners so have nothing to compare to but we think we have the best ducks in the world!
     
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  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I would agree [​IMG]

    My runners are not nervous, they are industrious!!!

    And I have a few cuddlers, too.[​IMG] Not the pick-up kind, but they like to be close.

    I would not build nest boxes, based on my experience. While they have used boxes (large wooden cheese boxes), they got tired of those. Ours build their nests where they want them, and some share their nests, some don't.

    Right now we have three broodies. Two on one nest, one on another. Nothing's going to hatch because our buff drake resides with his two buffy girls in separate quarters. Long story.

    Just provide some nice nesting material. You know what mine do like? Nooks. Corners. I bolted a sturdy piece of plywood at a 90 degree angle from the edge of their night pen, and there is a nest on each side of that plywood.

    Another nest is in another corner. They change up each nesting season. Who knows what they will decide. But I leave it up to them.
     
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  3. sweet duck mom

    sweet duck mom Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Amiga. We'll kind of play it by ear but hold off on the boxes. Thanks for all your posts. You seem to have a lot of experience and knowledge when it comes to runners. I really appreciate your advice and info! By the way, do you live in a northern climate? We live in Iowa and we're thinking we should insulate the girl's house.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Boy-o, boy-o, I sure would!

    A few of my runners just do not cope with temperatures below 35F. So rather than try to force them to toughen up, we all moved into the walkout basement for night time a couple of years ago. And it is much easier on me. And them.

    They may have lived through the winters, but they were not thriving. Within four days of getting them into 40F night shelter, egg production went up, and overall health went up.

    These girls were shipped from Chula Vista, California, by the way. So their forebears were used to warm weather. They do okay during the day above freezing especially on sunny days. They are dark, and get some solar heating. But when it's below freezing, or low 30s and cloudy, they don't spend the whole day outdoors. Their indoor pen is 65 sf for the runners and about 40 or so for the buffs. Seems to work well.

    I had thought of heating the outdoor pen, a double-walled, insulated plywood box with adjustable ventilation. I got nervous about fire hazards. It can happen.

    And I had the space in the basement.

    Side benefits include not having to brave the elements to check on and tend to the ducks, feeling fairly sure that raccoons will not break down the door overnight, and again their overall vigor during the cold months. Oh, and I did not have to spend time and money developing a safe way to keep them warm with a what-about-when-the-electricity-goes-out back up plan.
     
  5. sweet duck mom

    sweet duck mom Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, we will insulate well. I also thought I would make some of the terra cotta flower pot/light bulb heaters the can snuggle up with. If that doesn't work we will try the garage.
    I do have another question (sorry). We plan to move their house to a sheltered spot before the cold temps arrive. Will the move cause them to quit laying (if they're laying by then!)?
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    It may not. I found moving mine into a warmer night shelter increased egg production.
     
  7. malndobe

    malndobe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Runner's just started laying, and I'd like to at least get them to the point of laying in just a few locations. Somewhere other than right in the middle of the pen would be nice. They have nest boxes with shavings in them, I was hoping the Runners would use the boxes if they were the best place in the pen in terms of softness. I think I have 1 girl who has figured it out, or maybe it's multiple girls doing it randomly, I find a duck egg in the nest boxes every other day. But the rest are scattered around. They do seem to have one spot by the pond they like to lay, otherwise it seems like it's just "drop them where you are".

    Any ideas on getting them to use the boxes more?
     
  8. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Mine haven't, much. They make their own nests and everyone seems to agree to use it. There are exceptions, of course. Some just leave their egg here or there. You could try putting a wooden egg in one and see if that inspires anyone.
     
  9. inkedlady

    inkedlady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to medium dog baskets the plastic types with shavings and a little hay in the house and there is an egg in one every day
     
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