This Spring, we got some ducklings along with our chicks. They were raised alongside eachother (brooders side by side, outdoor runs separated by a fence). The ducks always tried to stay close to the chicks. We went away on vacation when everyone was about 3 months old. By this time, the pullets were in with our hens and the duck run alongside the chicken run still. To make things easier for our house sitter, a week before we left, I moved the duck house into the chicken yarn and started letting them all mingle together during the day. While we were gone, the house sitter said the ducks wanted to sleep in the coop so she let them. When we left, we were getting about 4+ dozen eggs/week. When we got back, we were getting two, three if we were lucky. Last week, we decided to rehome the ducks and the next day, 13 or our 15 hens laid. Day after that, 12. And the numbers have been up ever since. What could the ducks have been doing to discourage the hens from laying? They stayed out of the coop all day. They usually spent about half of the day out of the chicken yard so they could go down to the creek. We'd never seen the drake mount the hens, though we had seen him on the duck. Sometimes he seemed to be pecking at their backs, but upon closer observation, he was gently cleaning them, I think. Any ideas?