How many nest boxes? First time with two hens need advise.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by cat1994, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. cat1994

    cat1994 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    This is my first time having more then one duck but since it is only one more duck I figured I could stick with still only one nest box and that the two could just share, but my dad pointed out that I plan on letting my ducks do their own hatching, so now I’m not sure if only one nest box will work. So I have some questions, pleas help.
    I know for a fact that my original duck will go broody and is very protective of her nest, dose this mean that she will be mean to the younger new duck and not share the nest?
    Or do I need two nests so if one is broody and the other is not the one that is not broody does not lay any eggs in the broody ones nest causing the hatch to be uneven?
    Or do ducks go broody at the same time?
    If they did go broody at the same time on the same nest would they take turns setting on the eggs and raise them together when they hatch, or will one hen take over and force the other one away from the nest?
    Help I’m getting confused, maybe I should have a second nest just in case, or perhaps I as soon as one of the ducks goes broody I will separate her from the rest of the flock so the other hen can’t lay any eggs in the nest. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. SpringChickens

    SpringChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2009
    College Station, Tx
    Since you only have two ducks, I would recommend two nest boxes. You really don't want one laying under another who is broody because you really don't need to spend the time sorting out which eggs are fertile/developed, etc. Good luck!
     
  3. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 24, 2011
    Canberra, Australia
    I have 4 ducks sharing one nest box. They take turns and manage fine. But I don't want my ducks to raise their own offspring.

    If you do want your ducks to go broody and sit then there are a couple of things to consider. First, it's not ideal to have ducklings hatching in a coop with other ducks and drakes as they can be aggressive towards the newly hatched ducklings. Second, if you try to move broody ducks often they won't stay broody - ducks often don't take well to being moved. So, to overcome these issues I'd set up two or three nest boxes (minimum two) in your pen/coop that can be fenced off from the rest of the ducks if a duck starts to sit. That way, you will avoid other ducks laying in the nest throughout the incubation process and you will keep the new hatchlings safe from the other ducks. Once the hatch is over you can move the mother and babies to a separate coop (so I'd also build a separate coop suitable for a mother and brood). Ducklings can get through or stick their heads out mesh that is too big so make any mesh that is meant to keep ducklings in about half an inch square. In my broody coop I have thick mesh to keep predators out and then finer mesh over this to keep ducklings/chicks in.
     
  4. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    70%cocoa :

    I have 4 ducks sharing one nest box. They take turns and manage fine. But I don't want my ducks to raise their own offspring.

    If you do want your ducks to go broody and sit then there are a couple of things to consider. First, it's not ideal to have ducklings hatching in a coop with other ducks and drakes as they can be aggressive towards the newly hatched ducklings. Second, if you try to move broody ducks often they won't stay broody - ducks often don't take well to being moved. So, to overcome these issues I'd set up two or three nest boxes (minimum two) in your pen/coop that can be fenced off from the rest of the ducks if a duck starts to sit. That way, you will avoid other ducks laying in the nest throughout the incubation process and you will keep the new hatchlings safe from the other ducks. Once the hatch is over you can move the mother and babies to a separate coop (so I'd also build a separate coop suitable for a mother and brood). Ducklings can get through or stick their heads out mesh that is too big so make any mesh that is meant to keep ducklings in about half an inch square. In my broody coop I have thick mesh to keep predators out and then finer mesh over this to keep ducklings/chicks in.

    X2 [​IMG]
     
  5. cat1994

    cat1994 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    Alright I got it I will put two nest boxes in two different rooms of their breeding hutch. Then when one goes broody I can close that room off and the other hen will still have the second next box in the other room, then when the second hen goes broody (she may not this is my first season with her) I will close that room off also so the drake can not get to the ducklings when they hatch. I really understand that drakes can kill ducklings’ b/c I lost one to a drake before it was really sad. I’ve never tried to move my broody duck but I am sure it would not work as my ducks aren't very tame at all and would probably abandon the nest. Once they hatch I will move the duck and babies to my new chicken tractor that my Silkies are in now, it will make a great broody coop b/c it has thick mesh with holes small enough so no ducklings can get through. But if both ducks go broody and hatch out some ducklings can I put them all together in the same broody coop or will the two ducks hurt each others ducklings? Thanks
     
  6. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 24, 2011
    Canberra, Australia
    I would keep the mothers and their ducklings separate, to be on the safe side. After a week or so I'd start introducing them to eachother by letting one group out in the yard while the other stays in the coop and vice versa. When you are confident that the mothers are ok with eachother you can let them out in the yard all together.

    I just like to play it safe [​IMG]

    All your other plans sound great!!!
     
  7. cat1994

    cat1994 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    Ok thanks the only problem is that I really only have one broody coop, I have this feeling that I will need to build yet another in the near future. I guess I will just have to use the nesting area of my banty shanty for now like I did before I built my chicken tractor/broody coop that I have now. That’s going to be a real pain but it is better to be safe then sorry, I know for a fact that my oldest duck is very protective of her lil babies and that would just be horrible if she hurt the other ducks ducklings thinking she was protecting hers.
     

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