Extreme drop in egg count?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by cmart009, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. cmart009

    cmart009 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 13, 2010
    Northern Indiana
    Besides owning my own flock of twelve ducks, we also own 6000 Pekin ducks for egg production, split among three houses with 2000 in each. Each house has their own lights, keeping them laying all year round. They are fed in the morning, and bed down at night. They have heaters in winter, and fans in the summer. They have water lines which they drink from, which are available at all times.

    Egg production out of these houses in total was 3519 right before Thanksgiving, all combined.

    However, right after Thanksgiving, something caused our ducks in house 2 and 1 to drop drastically. Our total dropped to 3092 eggs. A loss of 500 eggs in a day is almost unheard of.

    This has happened for the past three years, all around the same time frame. House number 3 remained unaffected, oddly enough.

    What could cause this to happen? Nothing, to our knowledge, is getting in and scaring them, nor do we have anything in there that changes. The only thing that comes to mind is that it became horrendously cold a few nights before they had the drop, although the only house that suffered any cold damage was house number three, which froze the waters lines. Yet, as said, there was no effect on them.

    This has stumped my grandfather, grandmother, wife, and I for the past three years. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Puddle Foot Farm

    Puddle Foot Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 20, 2008
    Maryland
    My ducks drop off because of physical temperature change, not the availability of water, I believe.. Is the temperature in the pens different?

    What I really want to ask is.. What do you do with 3500 duck eggs? [​IMG]
     
  3. duckfat

    duckfat Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Michigan
    What are the ages of your ducks in each barn? How long has each group been laying? How many hours a day do you have them under lights? Do they have unlimited access to food and water?
     
  4. duckfat

    duckfat Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Michigan
    Out of curiosity, are you an independent or are you under contract?
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    My tiny flock's (ten runners) egg production dropped from 8 to 10 a day down to three in a matter of weeks. I assumed it was reduced daylight in the fall, but when I moved them to where the temperatures are 40F or above, within a week we were up to six a day, now getting eight a day.

    What made the difference I cannot prove. There is a little more light available to them. But there was a good bit of light for them in their outdoor, double-walled insulated but unheated house, too. Outdoors there was more light in the a.m. indoors there is more light in the p.m.

    Here in New England, there are woodland molds that "bloom" in the fall with the falling of leaves and cooling weather. Could that have an effect? That goes away after the first hard frost.

    They still go outdoors when it's above 20, and seem quite fine with that.
     
  6. cmart009

    cmart009 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 13, 2010
    Northern Indiana
    Quote:Oh, sorry for not explaining that. We work for a company called Culver Duck, which hatches those duck eggs into more ducks, which are then processed or raised for eggs. Every morning we either take them all in, or someone comes and picks them up to be taken to their facility.

    Quote:Our ducks are under a year old in both barns. Each group has been laying since they started...so around this past July or August. We have all houses under sixteen hours of light a day. They have access to water 24/7, and get fed in the morning and night.

    We are under contract with Culver Duck. We're part of the "layers" portion of their work. Other farms are under the "grower" program, which raises the ducks from babies to full grown, at which point they are processed and shipped out.



    To our knowledge, nothing had spooked them, either. And for it to only happen to two of the three houses is causing us confusion. If it were something large-scale, all the houses should have dropped. What's even more confusing is that the house that DID have problems (frozen water lines, so no water for awhile), didn't have any drop in eggs at all.

    Quote:I'd assume that part of our issue was with the temperature, since there was a horrible drop right before this occurred...but as stated, and I don't want to sound like a broken record here, the only house that reached freezing point and had lack of water, had no drop in egg production at all! Both the other houses that did stayed above the 40 degree mark, with no problems in the water and food department.
     
  7. duckfat

    duckfat Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2010
    Michigan
    Thanks for the information. I wondered if you were under contract by Culver or Maple Leaf. I know Maple Leaf has good tasting duck. Never had a Culver but don't imagine much difference.

    Have you directed this question towards Cornell University's Duck Research Laboratory? A while back almost all of the large duck farms were in Long Island. Then some survivors moved their operations to Indiana where feed was cheap and environmental pressures were minimal.

    We are not your size, but the one coop of 100 laying pekin ducks started going offline in the Fall. They were hatched in August 2009 and went online in March 2010. Another group of similar size hatched in May 2010 came online in in November 2010. They are all in unheated, insulated coops under 16 hours of light each day. Production is about 75% and rising. Our difference is these birds are allowed to free range every day during daylight hours on a large spring fed pond. The only time we had a temporary drop in production was when they spent a night out on the pond after being spooked by a predator. Production was off for a week.
     

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