First Time layers starting in February?!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by LittleAcreFarm, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. LittleAcreFarm

    LittleAcreFarm Just Hatched

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    Hello All-

    I have a small mixed flock of female free ranging ducks that were hatched this past Spring. A Blue Swedish, a Cayuga, a white hybrid layer, and a golden hybrid layer. They did not begin laying in the Fall I think due to some early extra-chilly weather as well as some changes to their living arrangements.. any how, here we are on February 2nd and I've found their first 2 eggs in the duck house this morning! We've had some warmer weather, snow melting, etc. though it's been pretty mild in terms of Vermont winters.

    I am wondering if this seems unusual to any of you duck experts or those of you who've experienced a similar delayed onset of laying behaviors. Why now?

    Also, a few days ago (and again today!) I witnessed two of the girls engaging in some sort of faux-mating behavior. Not surprisingly it was the largest and most dominant White layer (Bernadette Sanders!) who was "on-top"... I've always noticed a change in the behavior of my chickens when they reach laying age- more friendly, cushing down, "asking" for back rubs, etc. haha, but did not notice a change in the duck's behavior towards me or each other until now.

    Could this be coincidental or completely related? I am hoping to figure out who has started laying..
    Do anyone else's ducks do this dominant or faux-mating behavior? Should I expect to see this laying continue given that it's February now and I'm sure temps will dip back down before REAL Spring comes...?

    Any input or comments would be greatly appreciated, thank you!


    Laura
     
  2. dan26552

    dan26552 True BYC Addict

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    Congrats on the eggs. It was probably the short hours that delayed their laying and now that the days are getting longer they've started. They'll probably continue to lay now they've started. I don't know about the faux mating as I have drakes in my flock and haven't had any females do that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
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  3. dotknott

    dotknott Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh congrats on the eggs! And the great name!
    I'm with Dan on this...
    It's not out of the norm for a spring hatch to not lay in the fall. In these cases they usually pick up a little before the equinox (I generally start seeing new layers start about 4 weeks before equinox if they didn't start in the fall. My guess is breed probably plays a role in this just as breed plays a role in # eggs/year.)

    Knowing when they start is good, if you ever want to use additional lighting you have a starting point on daylight hours since you likely just hit 10hrs of daylight, which they wouldn't have seen since late October early November.

    ETA: oh! And the lady mating thing is totally normal, and can be related to the hormonal change associated with egg production but may also just be setting a hierarchy. I'm leaning towards it being related to egg production just because of the timing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
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  4. LittleAcreFarm

    LittleAcreFarm Just Hatched

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    Thanks for your thoughts! As it was mentioned- Since then they've layed 6 more eggs, feels like Easter and Christmas each time I look in the duck house [​IMG]
     
  5. Lilki

    Lilki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My mallard just started laying two weeks ago, but I'm also in California- don't know if that matters.

    The hens mating eachother is normal. My dominant duck mounts the other ones all the time- but then she asks to be mounted too. Get that girl a drake, lol.
     
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    My Ducks started laying in December....I have one Duckling hatched and 11 growing in my incubator due on February 20th.....All my Ducks are young and won't be a year old till the First part of April......I am also surprised they started so early in the year....no eggs now for the past two days......


    Cheers! .....:)
     

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