How to Encourage My Muscovies to Lay

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by JunkFarmer, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. JunkFarmer

    JunkFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 1, 2014
    Reno, NV
    I usually let my muscovies (trio, one duck over a year, one duck and one drake ~seven months) free range in the backyard but I want a couple of hatches from them so I penned them up and gave them supplemental light and nest boxes with decoy eggs inside. It's been over a week and nada. :/ How much longer should I wait? Or what else should I be doing?
     
  2. eggsellentfarms

    eggsellentfarms Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2010
    Oregon
    If you were letting them free range previously, I would only pen them up at night. Put a light on a timer and gradually increase it so that they get a least 15 hours of light a day. I have mine setup so it comes on at 6 am and goes off at 8 pm. Pretty soon I'll be up to 15 hours and will stop increasing the time. It's also on a photocell so the light shuts off when the sun is up. Three of mine started laying last month and two already have a full nest and have started to set.
    I think you are just going to have to wait a little longer. Also, I've always heard that it's best to increase the amount of supplemental light gradually.
     
  3. JunkFarmer

    JunkFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 1, 2014
    Reno, NV
    I don't have a timer system and have just been leaving the light on all night. Where could I find a cheap/easy light set up with a timer? And is it bad to give them 24 hours of light all at once? Should I give them a few days without supplemental light and start over by gradually increasing it?
     
  4. eggsellentfarms

    eggsellentfarms Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2010
    Oregon
    A cheap lamp timer will work, at least in the short term. You can buy them new for under 10 bucks I think, but often you can find them at thrift stores and garage sales for a dollar or two. Then just plug in a lamp.
    I don't know for sure about the light thing, I've just always heard it is better to change it gradually. Also I've read that lights on 24 hours a day aren't great for chickens, so probably not best for ducks either. I remember reading something about their molting cycle possibly getting messed up.
    If you have already been leaving the light on full time, I would say just cut it back to about 15 or 16 hours and see how they do.
     
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Have the ducks come into lay at all? being only 7mths you need to give this more time.. while i did have a duck go broody under 1yo most wait till a bit closer to that mark or beyond... as well changes in ducks routines only discourages laying.

    Lights? i wouldn't bother.. ducks are seasonal layers, it is normal for them to break and also if ducks are young, often they will not lay till the following spring if they hit that average laying age in the shorter days of winter, frankly the broodiness of scovies is high, there literately is not a year that goes by that i don't thwart nests, so rarely requires encouragement other than a nice safe area to nest and good food.

    Honestly, i think your trio is a bit young, i have no doubt a nest will be set but more likely in the spring.. even my ducks who always resume laying each Feb have not, been a bad winter... i had a clutch last March for comparison... but again this year no eggs as of yet and i have a wide range of ages.
     
  6. JunkFarmer

    JunkFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 1, 2014
    Reno, NV
    Thanks,

    I ran into some other muscovy owners at the feed store last week and heard that their ducks weren't laying yet either so that made me feel better. I am impatient by nature so this will just be a test of my character.

    My question now is should I leave the decoy eggs in the nesting box?
     
  7. ruffledfeathers1234

    ruffledfeathers1234 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2011
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    My muscovies usually make their own nests and choose their own places to lay. Placing decoy eggs has never worked for me, they always seem to avoid the places where I put the nests with decoy eggs.
     
  8. eggsellentfarms

    eggsellentfarms Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2010
    Oregon
    When you do start getting eggs from them, you might want to test them before she build up a clutch and stops laying. They might not be fertile for a while. I've got a young duck who started laying, but when I tested her first few in the incubator they were not fertile. Unfortunately, now she has either stopped laying, or is laying somewhere else and then going back to her best to sit on her"clutch" of two golf balls and one decoy egg. I think I'm going to have to take the decoys away and see what happens.
    As far as the whole nesting location, while it is possible they might choose their own spot, I had good success making several nice nesting boxes in the coop and now have three ducks sitting on eggs in there.
     
  9. JunkFarmer

    JunkFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 1, 2014
    Reno, NV
    They STILL haven't started laying. Ughhhh! I hate waiting. But I am just trying to be patient. The only one that sits on the decoys is the drake. :/ maybe things will change when things warm up a bit more, we have been going through a cold snap.
     
  10. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    At this point you don't need any artificial light. My muscovies are laying and my coworker has 2 that have started setting in the barn and in the rosebush.
     

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