ducks and laying question

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by shelleyd2008, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Sep 14, 2008
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    I have 2 pekin ducks, and 1 rouen duck, with 2 pekin drakes and 3 rouen drakes. I have read that they both lay eggs pretty good. I was wondering if they need a nest box? I really don't have much experience with ducks. I also read that pekins don't set the eggs very well, but couldn't find any info on the rouen. Do rouens set their own eggs? Also, since I have more than enough drakes for my ducks, should the eggs be fertile all the time? Ok, one more question [​IMG] How old do the drakes need to be to breed? I think that's all for now. Hope someone can help!
     
  2. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Quote:Okay, lets see:

    I havent had Rouens but Ive raise Pekins and they do lay pretty well.

    I provide a nest box in hopes that the eggs will be less muddy. It doesnt always work out since ducks seem to have permanently messy feet. LOL.

    Yes the eggs be fertile. Young drakes start breeding sooner than young ducks start laying.
    You actually have too many drakes for your ducks. The drakes will be very rough on those few ducks next spring when they get all worked up. It is not uncommon for several drakes to pile on one duck at the same time, crushing or drowning her.
    Normally I would suggest that you only keep one drake for three ducks , but because you have two different breeds, you could keep one drake of each breed so that you can produce pure bred offspring. You would need to separate them into two breeder pens in the spring to keep them pure and that would prevent the two drakes from ganging up on any one female
    Your alternative is to get more females..... always a good choice, LOL. You can order sexed pekins from Metzer year round. I dont know if they have Rouens available all year or not.

    Chel
     
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    When I first got my ducks, I was supposed to be getting 2 pair, one pekin, and one rouen. It turned out that I had 4 drakes!! I had already let them loose in the pond, and they are pretty wild, it would be very difficult to catch them to reduce my drake population. I have since gotten the ducks, I had 2 of each, and something killed one of each duck. A friend 'donated' one to me, that was supposedly a duck, that turned out being another rouen drake!!! This last week, I got another pekin duck, so that's how I have what I have. Like I said, it would be very difficult to catch any of them, unless I had 2 boats, and a very large drag net! [​IMG] But they should use a nest box, if they had one? I am trying to bring up my duck population, but it is very difficult to find rouen ducks here. But at least I know what they look like now, so I won't get tricked again!!
    Also, how big should the nest boxes be? And should they have seperate ones? or should there be one large one? I'm sorry, I just really don't know much about ducks!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  4. eggchel

    eggchel Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Quote:Bummer that you got stuck with all those drakes. In future, if they are adult ducks, the males make a soft, hoarse quack, and the females make a sharp, loud quack. So, even if the Rouens are in molt, or either breed are not showing a drake feather, you can tell them apart just by their voices.
    Baby ducks are a whole different ball park, but if you compare them to each other, the males get larger, faster, and likely will have larger feet and thicker legs.

    So, if you decide to try to catch the excess drakes..... please be sure to have someone on hand with a video camera cuz that show will be worth watching. [​IMG]

    As for nest boxes, if the ducks are left out on the pond and are not locked up at night, then they will most likely make their own nests somewhere in nearby shrubs or grass. However, if you provide a nest box somewhere near the water and close to where you feed them, they may use the nests.
    If they are locked up at night, then you should provide a nest box in their night cage since they usually lay very early in the morning and they will always drop their egg in the muddiest spot if there isnt a nest, LOL.

    The nest boxes can be a simple as two pieces of wood made into an A-frame (18" to 24" tall x 24" wide would be fine) with some straw or a pile of leaves. Or they can be more elaborate shelters. I often use those plastic, two piece, dog houses that they sell at Lowes/Home Depot. I put lots of shavings inside. Both the geese and the ducks like them. Ive seen people use 50 gallon metal drums, laid on their side for nest boxes, too. Ive used those large plastic pots that trees come in, on their side with a couple rocks on each side to keep them from rolling. Or even an old wooden crate on its side or a rubbermaid tote, upside down, with a door cut in it.

    About sharing nests, I would put out two nests, but they will decide for themselves whether they are going to have their own nest or share. Some ducks will lay their eggs where ever they see other eggs so you can put some fake eggs in both boxes and see if you can get them to each start a clutch. That way, if one duck sits on her nest, you can still collect the eggs from the other box and either incubate them or eat them. Yumm.

    Metzer farms ( http://metzerfarms.com/ ) hatches and sells Rouens through October and Pekins all year. If you pay a little extra they will sell you sexed ducks so you can order females only.
    If you get a box of 10 female ducklings and raise them yourself, then they can be trained to come back to a night pen for their own safety. Otherwise, predators will gradually pick them off. It is possible that the old ducks will learn to follow your new ducks back to the security pen at night, especially if treats are involved. [​IMG]


    Chel
     
  5. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Adair Co., KY
    Yes unfortunately, when I got my ducks, they were still mostly downy. The rouens only had a few wing feathers, and the pekins didin't have any feathers at all. They were probbly at least a month old I would say, judging by their size. We went by the saying that if you hold them the one that makes noise is a ? (think it was duck), and if it's quiet it's (whatever the other was not). And believe me I now know about the quack and (what I call) the whisper. The duck I got last week quacked so much when I was at the sale, I had someone offer me $5 to knock it in the head!!! And boy was she LOUD!!! I did have someone try to pawn off a rouen drake as a duck, but when I poked my finger in the cage, it deffinitely did not quack. I don't care what they look like, if it don't quack, I'm not buying it!! [​IMG] No but even judging by their size, I should have had at least one duck, for they were all hatched at the same time. I guess that one was just a late bloomer [​IMG] I think I will check around here first for ducks, I don't want to have too many!! I wish I could order only 3 or 4, instead of 10. Maybe I can find someone to go in part with me. Thanks for your help chel!
     

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