Egg Laying Basic Questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kcbode, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. kcbode

    kcbode Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 10 Australian Spotted ducks that are about 2 mos. old. I have some VERY basic egg laying questions:
    1. Am I correct they should be laying eggs at about 4 mos. give or take?
    2. Do the layers need different food from the drakes?
    3. In order to eat the eggs, they need to be collected daily?
    4. I am not ready to start the hatching process, so any eggs not gathered daily should be discarded?
    5. Do I set up my nests early and put a artificial egg in it and just wait for them to start laying?

    Thanks for your help! Great information here.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Hi!

    I have a small flock of female runners, but I have read some general information about ducks so here's what I have found or read about:

    4 months is the general time frame, and mine began laying at 16 weeks, four days. That said, I have been told that larger ducks may take longer to start laying, and that the time of year they were hatched may affect when they lay.

    Layers need more calcium than drakes. Free choice oyster shell or clean crushed egg shells is a good way to take care of this, I am told.

    It's a good practice to collect eggs daily - you can roughly track how the flock is doing (fewer eggs may cause you to ask what is going on, for example). I gather eggs daily and get them in a cool place - usually the frij. There is some varying opinion as to how long eggs will be good to eat. My department of agriculture representative recommended that I not wash the eggs, as that may give bacteria a free ride past the shell, by the way.

    If an egg is not collected until the second day, I don't see a big problem. I'd say that if you find a pile of eggs and you're unsure of their age, yes, you might want to discard them. But my ducks 99 times out of 100 lay before 7 a.m. so since that's about the time I let them out in the morning, all the eggs are in the duckhouse. Keep them where you can easily find eggs until they've probably laid them.

    I set up cheese boxes but only after a few ducks started making their own nests. After a while they ignored the boxes, so I let them make their own nests with the straw and shavings we use for bedding.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. kcbode

    kcbode Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2011
    Morgantown, WV
    Yes, it does help, thank you. 60 views of the post and finally a response!!

    So the oyster shells are set out for free choice - doesn't matter if the males eat them?

    Thanks again.
     
  4. Niss

    Niss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2011
    Amiga--My ducks are the same age, aproximately, and I wasn't expecting eggs till next spring. Should they come sooner?
    Also, mine free range. If they aren't getting out of their house until 7-7:30 is it likely they will nest in there as opposed to God-knows-where?
     
  5. QuackerJackFarms

    QuackerJackFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My mallards are at a little over 4 months and haven't started laying yet. Waiting.... [​IMG]
     
  6. gofasterstripe

    gofasterstripe Chillin' With My Peeps

    I got my Runners last August and waited and waited aaaaand waited. They finally laid their 1st egg in March I htink it was. They are just starting to slow down so Im guessing they will molt soon. Ive found that if I let my ducks out before 8.30 half of them will lay their eggs out in the yard so mine dont get out now most days untill 9 and by then all eggs have been laid.
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Based on what I've been told (no drakes here yet), drakes won't bother with the oyster shell. That's the reasoning behind using it with a grower/maintenance ration for everybody. The females, I am told, will eat the oyster shell for the calcium they need.

    My recent experience is that my foraging runners - or at least some of them - got into a calcium deficiency and I think it's related to their foraging, since whatever they nosh on in the garden isn't perfectly balanced. We are working on this with calcium supplements - take a look at the topic that mentions my Sieben in the title. Good information there.

    Niss, it really seems to me, from my runners and reading about others, there is quite a range of laying start ages. As I mentioned, the first runner to lay was 16 weeks 4 days old. We started getting eggs from everybody about 6 weeks later. So that's 16 to 22 weeks. They were all hatched the same day, so even in my little flock of eleven at that time, there was some variability.

    I did notice they were playing "hop on top" about a month before the first duck started laying. I took that as a cue to get the oyster shell out there for them. I set out about a half a cup free choice each week until they started laying, then I just kept about a cupful available at all times.

    My runners were hatched on 2/22, and I'm sure if they were hatched a few months later, the laying story might be different. Also, my broodies seem to get broody both winter and summer, not exactly in the spring. Hmmm.

    My ducks have laid their eggs (with rare exception) by 6:30 a.m. Storey's Guide says 9. My ducks don't read much. [​IMG]
     

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