Does Anyone Track Their Ducks' Productivity??

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ducksgomarching, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. ducksgomarching

    ducksgomarching Just Hatched

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    Hi everyone! I've been looking all over trying to find some idea of how a duck's egg laying frequency changes as they age, and I'm just not having a whole lot of luck. I can find information on when they begin to lay, and how many eggs per year you can expect at their peak, but nothing when it comes to their later years. Commercial egg producers obviously don't keep their hens more than a couple years, and small-scale backyard duck keepers might not need to keep close records on their flock.

    Soooo my question is: Anyone out there have an idea of how many eggs your ducks give you per year past their first couple? At this point I'll take any data you might have - any breed, mixed breed flocks, small flocks, estimates based on memory, links, ANYTHING! Most of the numbers I see are obtained by taking a daily percent (since ducks are kind of impossible to get laying in the same spots). So if you get 80 eggs a day from 100 ducks, you're at 80% production.

    Once I get my ducklings in and they are old enough to lay, I want to chart eggs so I can maybe contribute some information to the collective, haha. Chicken owners have a lot more resources for this kind of stuff, it seems *sigh* Thank you in advance for any help you might be able to offer!
     
  2. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I know in their second year, they lay slightly less eggs, but lay much more consistently, and lay bigger eggs.
    As long as given a "break" in winter and naturally allowed to molt, ducks lay well into their 4th, and 5th years.
    The reason most big commercial farms that produce eggs get rid of their hens at the end of their 1st, or 2nd year, is because these hens and ducks are so "over used" that they are force-molted, and lay the top amount (no break in winter, they lay throughout because of artificial lights). For example, a welsh harlequin duck in a commercial farm would lay 345 eggs a year, with the other 20 days only left for molting. Thus, she would be working hard all year, every day. They become so exhausted, they can barely lay "enough" after their 2nd year.

    If you ran a duck farm like the above, and the duck laid 345 eggs / year, in its 3rd year it would drop to about 310 eggs or less a year, and in its 4th year it would drop to 200 eggs or less.
     
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  3. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I kept records for a while. It took time, and eventually I lost track of how many eggs we were getting, because any family member who went out might see a nest with an egg that needed picked, and no one got the total for the day. Also, the ducks (Muscovies) are free-range for the day, and they keep hiding their eggs, so from time to time we find a nest with 20 eggs in it or something. Other times, nobody remembers to pick eggs at all for a day or two, and when we remember, we find 30 eggs. It’s a bit disorganized, I admit, which makes record-keeping almost impossible.

    I have 18 female Muscovies that are laying age or older. Three of them are 4-5 years old, four are 2 years old, four are a little over 1 year old, and seven are exactly a year old. Of these, three are runts or inbred; thus their laying is likely not quite up to par.

    Lately we’ve been getting at least 4 or 5 eggs a day. Yesterday we only picked two, but I know one nest where many ducks lay was skipped, and several other nests were missed as well. And today we picked 9, but I think we missed a nest again! There is no real average, especially since it varies so much over the year.

    But thanks for reminding me! I really need to organize this egg-picking business so I can get back to keeping records!

    Also, in general record-keeping, these are the things I try to keep track of:
    1. I have a file for each duck, with picture, name, age, who their parents were if I know, notes about them, and all general information.
    2. I keep track of when we breed, who sits on the eggs, how good of a mother they are, how many eggs we hatch, what the offspring turn out like, etc.
    3. When we butcher, I try to get an approximate weight and write it down in their file.
    4. I write down whatever we buy for them; food, bathtubs, etc.
    5. Any general info, by week - X duck went broody, X duck got injured, whatever is worth noticing.
    6. I try to keep track of the eggs. Lately, very little information has been added in ANY of these categories, so I'm really behind. [​IMG]
     
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  4. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I looked at my older records and I noticed, in an 80-day period from May 2015 to August 2015, we got about 200 eggs. In that time, we had 7 ducks, I think. Each duck laid for about 28 days out of the 80.
     
  5. ducksgomarching

    ducksgomarching Just Hatched

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    Jul 4, 2016
    Roseburg, OR
    Thank you both! I knew that big egg producers force a longer period of lay, but I didn't know the break for the ducks was so short 0_o It's good to know that our ducks might lay reasonably well past their first years. We usually sell extra eggs to co-workers since we get too many to eat ourselves, so we don't need to run our poor girls ragged.

    What really brought this question up is that our girls have paused/ceased laying in the past few days, and I was trying to figure out if they are sick, eggbound, over/underfed, or just taking a break while their feathers moult (lots of feathers piling up while they sit and preen). They are about two years old now and have been giving us 1-2 eggs per day from 4 ducks. So I went looking online to see if I could find information on laying patterns over a duck's lifetime. Problem is, most of that info comes from big egg producers, whose ducks have a very different life than your average backyard duck :/

    @HannahDuckLover Thank you for your numbers! I have to go egg hunting all around our property because we have one duck who really likes to hide her eggs, and yeah, she definitely throws our count when we stumble upon her secret cache XD I'll start making records like yours, seems like a pretty thorough list.
     
  6. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, well I may have forgotten to mention this but ducks can not lay and molt at the same time. Ducks also can stop laying because of a diet change, sickness, broodiness, molting, stress, shock, seasons (eg winter), new flock member, or if their schedule suddenly changes.

    If you want to increase egg production without artificial lighting, so they still have a good laying span, and are productive, giving them water 24-7 helps. I know a lot of people that take water away at night, but Holderread actually studied this and it does reduce their egg numbers slightly. Proper feed, water, calcium, and outside time (along with cleanliness) are the key factors for a backyard flock. :D
     
  7. ducksgomarching

    ducksgomarching Just Hatched

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    Jul 4, 2016
    Roseburg, OR
    That's a relief! Now I can stop fretting so much since they're just changing into their new feather jackets :p They do have access to water 24hrs/day, and I just bought some oystershell for them after doing some research. Our ducks came with the house we bought several months ago, and the previous owner fed them a general poultry feed rather than a layer feed. They free range for the majority of the day on and around our ~40,000 gallon pond. I'm still new to ducks though, so I haven't gotten their rhythms down yet. Thank you for putting my mind at ease [​IMG]

    While I'm asking questions, do you still supplement your adult ducks with niacin? I bought brewers yeast for the ducklings we'll be getting on Wednesday, but I was thinking that the big girls might benefit too.
     
  8. Welshies

    Welshies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2016
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    No, once they start free ranging and have their new feathers in I don't supply any niacin. Basically, I let my ducklings free range from 3 weeks onward (with adults), and once their feathers are fully in (usually around 8-12 weeks) I stop supplying niacin, because they get niacin from bugs. A lot of people stop niacin at 8-10 weeks.
    And for my laying ducks, I don't give them layer feed because I keep drakes. I give them 16 % maintenence ration free choice at night, and free choice oyster shell 24/7. I also let the laying hens have some 18% grower once a day or so (only in early to mid spring and mid to late fall, because throughout the prime bug seasons they find enough for themselves to lay plentiful and strong eggs) for extra protein and vitamins. My ducks free range, though. If someone kept ducks on sand or dirt and let them have a run, they'd need to feed them 18% protein layer feed and oyster shell, all the time.
    Also quick note: Whenever your ducks are expected to lay (depending on the breed- more prolific layers lay earlier, slow growers lay later, etc), write it down. 2 weeks before this date I give the oyster shell because it assures that the first few eggs are strong. When your ducks are ready to lay their abdomens will drop, their vents will widen and moisten, etc.
    *Other note: I may have already said this, but as your climate gets warmer, you will need to raise the protein level of your laying duck feed for the eggs to maintain their size... (ex., higher protein=bigger eggs)

    Sorry for going on and on.... I'm a duck nerd now and it's hard to control myself. :D
     
  9. ducksgomarching

    ducksgomarching Just Hatched

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    Jul 4, 2016
    Roseburg, OR
    No worries, I appreciate the input from those who have more experience than myself :)
     

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