dumb questions from first timer...

blenderbender

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 9, 2014
34
0
22
Western Pennsylvania
Hi... I have a pair of runners just over a year old. The young lady started laying early this Spring. About 2 weeks ago she started sitting on eggs and only coming off the nest for about 30 minutes a day far as I am aware. Is it likely she will successfully incubate her eggs as I've read that runners are not particularly broody. Does (did) she quit laying at some point? How many eggs could she likely be sitting on? And perhaps the dumbest question.... does she know if an egg is fertile? Should I eventually see some ducklings, is Mama Duck equipped to deal with youngsters or might I need to intervene and help out? Thanks in advance.... Gary
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,815
551
Southern New England
Gary, congratulations!

I have a few Runners who get broody. In fact, little Fünf is sitting on a nest now.

She is sitting on duds, though. Unless Bean slipped a fast one on me. I don't think so, though.

Anyway, some Runners will get broody, they don't actually know if the eggs are fertile, though they may toss an egg that is going bad.

They stop laying when they get broody.

Fünf is on three eggs. Your girl may be sitting on more.

See if you can lure her off the nest with a treat - I try to make sure Fünf comes off enough to run around, swim a little and eat. She'll take a handful of peas from me but otherwise hisses when I get near. She is so cute!

You may need to intervene. Some ducks are excellent broodies but inept or even aggressive toward ducklings. Watch and listen and be ready to brood the ducklings if mama does not take to them. Especially first time hatchers can be ugly toward the hatchlings.
 

blenderbender

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 9, 2014
34
0
22
Western Pennsylvania
Thanks Amiga.... I think she's sitting on quite a pile cause it has grown higher and higher. How long will she sit if they are all duds? Will I need to toss the eggs out to get her off them if they are duds? I know the male was getting pretty frisky with her prior to this.
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,815
551
Southern New England
When my broody dashes off the nest to eat, poop, and swim, I pick up each egg and sniff it. If anything does not smell fresh - in other words if there is a vague, perhaps sulfury something with that egg in particular - I take it. If there are only a few eggs, I swap in a fresh one. I also mark them with a ceramic wax marker in case any of my other ducks lay in the nest.
 

CalBells

Songster
7 Years
Jun 3, 2012
156
26
111
San Francisco East Bay
I just had one of my three year old runners go broodie for the first time. Because we only have females I bought fertile eggs and switched out the duds in one of her morning food runs. We now have 5 week old ducklings and she is a wonderful attentive mother! After 7 days we went out at night and candles the eggs. (Really quite easy with a strong flashlight) She had been on 10 of her own and our other girls eggs, but since one was cold, I only put 7 fertile eggs under her. 1 never developed, may have been infertile, and 1 started developing but died really early on. We were really worried because of all the stories you hear about runners being bad mothers, but our mama is wonderful! here she is protecting her babies from me when I clean the coop:
400
 

blenderbender

In the Brooder
5 Years
Jul 9, 2014
34
0
22
Western Pennsylvania
I just now had the opportunity to check to see just what the girl is sitting on under that mountain of pine shavings she's built up. I was very surprised to find just one egg and it was nearly at the bottom of the pile and relatively cold. I candled it with a flashlight best I could and since this is the first egg I've candled I'm not certain what I'm looking at though there certainly appears to be something different about it. I'm not certain what I should do..... put it back? Clear the pile of pine shavings and let her get back to giving me my eggs! ? Any help appreciated.... Thanks!..... Gary
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,815
551
Southern New England
I would let her sit. Please take a look at the sticky about hatching eggs or some of the photo galleries - not sure if that ring is good news or bad but I think it at least was viable.
 
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Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,815
551
Southern New England
Whew! I had a panicked moment this morning - I got a notification while a bunch of other things were going on, then I was worried I would not find this thread again
th.gif


Most of the time I keep it together pretty well, and then there are days . . . .

Please keep us posted.
 

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