hatching naturally

Callie Ducks

In the Brooder
Mar 16, 2018
3
2
19
Hi there

I took on two miniature silver apple yard ducks from a local animal shelter last year - one duck and one drake - and am considering letting her sit on some eggs.

I've been doing lots of research but most of the information I can find about hatching eggs is about using an incubator and I've found much less info about letting her hatch naturally which is much my preferred method - I'm not fussed about quantity, I'd just like me and the ducks to experience the natural way.

Jerry, our drake is definitely getting protective, and Margo is definitely making nesting signs so in the next few weeks I think I'll give it a try.

I've got a separate enclosure she can go in with any ducklings once hatched and I also have chickens including a few bantams so if Margo doesn't want to sit I can always recruit a broody bantam!

One thing I haven't quite figured out from my reading is whether I let Margo make her nest, start laying and let her choose to sit when she's got enough eggs, or do I collect the eggs and then create a nest for her when I've collected enough?

I know to make sure the ducklings don't have access to water that they could drown in but it would be good to know what people feed their ducklings to ensure healthy growth.

Any advice for a first time natural duck hatcher would be much appreciated!
 

Quacking Pigeon

Crowing
Mar 12, 2018
1,214
2,293
321
NSW, Australia
My Coop
My Coop
You can feed them chick starter for the first few weeks then move them to grower then what you feed your other ducks. If you feed them too much grower/starter they can get angel wing or slipped wing.
 

sylviethecochin

Free Ranging
Jun 14, 2017
5,499
11,305
701
Central PA
Whether I let Margo make her nest, start laying and let her choose to sit when she's got enough eggs, or do I collect the eggs and then create a nest for her when I've collected enough?

Generally, it's best to let the duck pick the nest. Unless they do it somewhere stupid (one of my bantams went under a tractor tire, for example). If a duck doesn't bond to the nesting spot, she's going to assume they're someone else's eggs and she won't sit.

I prefer to collect the eggs and replace them. Usually, I trust the hen (I'm talking chickens) to figure out how many eggs she can set. If I collect and replace the eggs with golf balls daily, though, I don't have to worry about rats, snakes, dogs, chilling, etc. When she does begin to set, I just replace the golf balls.

Whether you can get away with this does depend on how tame your duck is. Sometimes, handling the nest will scare them away permanently, or so I've read, though that has never happened to me. My broodies stay broody. (Again, I usually leave the ducks to themselves. They tend to be more broody than the chickens are, and quite capable of handling themselves. Or maybe it's just that I have Mallards and Muscovies)

I feed chick feed. A lot of people here supplement Brewer's yeast for niacin. I just add B-complex tablets to the water.
 

Callie Ducks

In the Brooder
Mar 16, 2018
3
2
19
Thanks everyone - well since I wrote this Margo has started laying all her eggs in the one spot, quite handily in the nest box which makes it easy for me to check without disturbing it. I have had to remove a couple of chicken eggs as they have clearly got excited about seeing a clutch of eggs and wanted to join in!!

So it's wait and see time!
 

iluvsedward

Crowing
11 Years
Jan 19, 2010
6,057
847
402
Calvert County MD
Thanks everyone - well since I wrote this Margo has started laying all her eggs in the one spot, quite handily in the nest box which makes it easy for me to check without disturbing it. I have had to remove a couple of chicken eggs as they have clearly got excited about seeing a clutch of eggs and wanted to join in!!

So it's wait and see time!

The only thing i would advise with small ducks is they sometimes want to sit on like, 10 eggs, and they dont have as much success trying to keep all those eggs warm on the outsides as they might with a smaller clutch because of their size.
 

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goats
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 8, 2015
62,663
109,134
1,657
The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
Thanks everyone - well since I wrote this Margo has started laying all her eggs in the one spot, quite handily in the nest box which makes it easy for me to check without disturbing it. I have had to remove a couple of chicken eggs as they have clearly got excited about seeing a clutch of eggs and wanted to join in!!

So it's wait and see time!
My Appleyard Bantam and my snowy Call Hen are both setting about 10 eggs each and due mid April. They actually kind of dig a Hole for the eggs and mine are doing great so far..Best wishes...
 

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