Ducks no longer laying after predator attack

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by duckiquackers, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. duckiquackers

    duckiquackers Hatching

    Apr 17, 2015
    Our flock has had a rough summer. First we had to euthanized one of our hens because of a serious recurring bumblefoot infection that didn’t respond to treatment. Then within the span of a week, we lost our drake and another hen to a predator (got into their nighttime pen and killed them). In the course of a month, our little flock of 7 lost 3 members. We reinforced the pen and solved the predator issue, but now 3 of my 4 remaining ladies are not laying.
    They are Welsh Harlequins, only a little over a year old, and they started laying in September 2015. Before the predator attack I was getting an egg a day from each of them. After the attack, 2 stopped laying but I was still getting 2 eggs per day for a week or so. Now I only get one egg per day, and I suspect it is from the same female (she is always the one leaving the nest box in the morning when I go out to feed them). The predator attack was 3 weeks ago. I know stress can affect laying in poultry, but I’m wondering if something else could be going on. Their diet is good (outside forage, laying pellets, oyster shell added every now and then for calcium, brewers yeast added every now and then as a supplement) and it’s the same as it has always been. They all look to be in good health and enjoy looking for bugs, bathing, and doing ducky things in the sunshine.

    I love my ducks for their own sake, but seriously…where are my eggs?
  2. 0wen

    0wen Songster

    Mar 25, 2016
    Southwest Virginia
    It happens after times of serious stress. Sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months before they start laying consistently again.
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    After making sure their security, nutrition, water situation are all good, I would sit down and chat with them. I would not ask them to lay. I would tell them how I feel about the losses, and tell them I respect their grief.

    I doubt they will understand each word, but my ducks seem to grasp the feelings behind the words, and that seems to make them feel better. I am blessed that I have not had to have many grief chats with them. But Romy nearly died a few days after her bff Michele died of egg yolk peritonitis. So in desperation, in addition to having the vet look her over, I had a heart to heart with her. She has mostly recovered, but there are days she gets a certain look in her eye and I suspect she still misses Shelly.

    And it helps me, too, to just talk about the loss and realize I am not the only one hurt by it.
    1 person likes this.
  4. duckiquackers

    duckiquackers Hatching

    Apr 17, 2015
    Thanks Owen and Amiga!

    I knew the stress would affect them immediately afterwards, but I guess I totally underestimated how much of a shock it was to lose almost half of the group. I've been noticing a lot of feathers on the ground outside, so maybe there is quite a bit of chasing and other social re-arrangement still going on. I'm sure the poor creatures are still very shaken up over the losses, and it doesn't help that they now need to completely reorganize their flock social ladder.

    I'll just keep babying them for now :)

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