Ducks aren't laying.... help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by asmilligan17, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. asmilligan17

    asmilligan17 New Egg

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    I have 10 ducks-different breeds, different ages, in a tractor about 8x9 feet. Earlier in the summer, I had one khaki campbell that would everyday for 3 months. Never missed a day. Then, all of a sudden, no more eggs. We then moved her in with the others now. About half of the other ducks are "of age" to lay but won't lay! I don't know if the coop is too small or what. I feed them layer pellets at 16% protein (which worked fine for the khaki while she was laying). We just started putting a nesting box in to see if that would help (the khaki never needed one before).

    Any ideas, suggestions? We don't know what we're doing wrong!
     
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Ducks stop laying when they are molting, they may even stop in winter due to lack of light. They should have 14-17 hours of daylight. Right now I have a timer with a light bulb in my duck house that comes on at 4am and turns off at 7.30am. That gives them enough light for now, but I do need to adjust it later in winter. Check out this post from me for ideas:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=405232
     
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yup, what katherinad said. Young ducks that reach maturity at the end of Summer/Fall sometimes won't begin laying until the days get longer in March/April. Ducks that are laying heavily need to take occasional breaks to moult, and sometimes they'll stop laying for winter.

    A lot has to do with your length of days, but some has to do with the line of ducks. When I talked to Dave Holderread (author of Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, world expert on ducks & show breeder for over 40 years) a couple months ago, he said a lot of folks think choosing the right breed of duck is the most important thing, but it's actually the *line* of duck that matters. Anyone can take a bunch of khaki campbells and make a bunch more khaki campbells, but if they're not choosing carefully for laying ability and other positive qualities, those qualities will quickly degrade in the offspring and before long you have ordinary ducks that look like khaki campbells but don't lay like khaki campbells.

    Anyway--just keep feeding them a good quality diet, keep them healthy, and they'll start laying again when they're ready. If laying ability is important to you, you'll want to research the breeders carefully when you buy stock. Holderread (www.holderreadwaterfowlfarm.com) is always a safe bet, but there are many other quality breeders in the U.S. too.

    Good luck--and wait for Spring. Come April, you won't know what to do with all the eggs! Me, I started freezing them a couple weeks ago (I have a mix of mature & young ducks, and some from Holderread stock, so while mine are tapering off on production, I'm still getting a good half dozen a day), so I'll have eggs when the lean times hit mid-winter and early Spring.
     
  4. asmilligan17

    asmilligan17 New Egg

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    thank you so much for replying! We were getting very worried that they weren't happy. It's hard to keep up with their water intake, so worried about that too.

    How do you freeze your eggs? Thanks for the info on the line, not just the breed!
     
  5. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do make sure they have water ALL the time. This is very important to them, and if they're drying up periodically, that will affect laying as well as happiness. You can use a kiddie pool that you dump every couple days, or several buckets, or plastic tubs, or feed troughs, or whatever--but make sure they always have access to water.

    Freezing eggs: I crack about a half dozen into a bowl, and lightly beat them to break the yolks and tenderize the whites. Then I pour them into an ice cube tray and freeze. Within the next day or two, I pull them out again and empty the tray onto a plate, then put them in a freezer bag and freeze. Half a dozen duck eggs fit neatly in a dollar-store ice cube tray; a dozen frozen duck eggs fit neatly in a quart-sized freezer bag. Very convenient. Just be sure to label--they look a lot like frozen orange or mango juice, and that would be an unpleasant surprise. [​IMG]
     
  6. asmilligan17

    asmilligan17 New Egg

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    do you recommend having a pond and a waterer. We have a small pond and a 3 gallon waterer. We fill up the 3 gallon waterer 3-5 times a day! Is that normal? Do your ducks lay in a nesting box or wherever?
     
  7. dumb_cluck

    dumb_cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 5 gallon waterer and they can empty it in no time.......mostly because they are playing in the water and splashing it all over.

    I tried a smaller waterer with a small access lip and they just dump it over.
     
  8. Senna95

    Senna95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are automatic waterers. They save TONS of time...
     
  9. dumb_cluck

    dumb_cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can you provide a link or two about the automatic waterers?
     
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    ditto iamcuriositycat's advice. Fresh water, balanced diet, safe environment, not too hot, not too cold. Right now we are getting five or six eggs a day. But I did not want scads of eggs - I mostly wanted help in the garden. The eggs are great, we get enough to share.

    I have ten runners, and a simple setup for watering. They have two 2'x3' 8 inch deep pans that I empty and refill once a day or two. Summertime is the twice a day routine, when it's so very hot, and the water can get real soupy. Those are on a bed of pea gravel, and when I dump them, the water goes through a channel into the grape arbor (the grapes are thus watered and fertilized).

    Anyway, in addition to their swim pans, I have a three or four gallon steel mixing pan in their veranda (a hardware-cloth lined area attached to their house). That gets fresh water in the morning and in the evening. It has a hardware cloth over soil floor, and I keep an inch or two of sand over that, then sawdust over that. It drains pretty well.

    This means I only need to deal with water twice a day for the veranda (a three minute job) and once a day or so for the swim pans (a fifteen minute job at most).
     

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