Incubating in the Winter

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by BrineChickFarm, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. BrineChickFarm

    BrineChickFarm Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    39
    Jul 19, 2012
    Hi All - I have a bit of a situation and I need some advice. This past summer I purchased 4 ducklings from the feed store. 2 pekin and 2 Rouen. The 2 pekin ended up being female and the 2 Rouen ended up being Drakes. One of my pekin's passed away tragically two weeks ago. This week the pekin started laying and they are most certainly fertile. The poor thing has a gimp leg and the drakes who are very protective over her are also mating with her quite frequently. After the loss of the other pekin, I can't bare the though of losing her too. SO I was wondering about incubating the pekin's eggs. I have several reasons, one I am heart broken about the loss of the other pekin, two the other ducks are upset as well, they are definitely closer than my chickens are. When she died, and I had to take her, the drakes followed me around the yard with her and stayed by my porch all day. Three, the pekin that is left cannot handle the two drakes by herself. She has a gimp leg and limps (since birth), and 2 drakes with 1 female can't be a good idea. Does anyone have any experience with hatching ducks this time of year? I live in New Hampshire so it is getting colder outside. I have the housing to make sure they stay warm, my concern is with their outside time and pool time with the weather getting colder.
     
  2. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,683
    143
    208
    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    Well... I wouldn't keep one female with 2 drakes at all, especially not if she is physically limited. I think you might be better off trying to adopt adult females. Go check your State Thread and ask there, check CL too. Ducklings that are not incubated by their mothers take longer to mature in my experience, and so my guess is no matter the breed, you'll be looking at 4 wks incubation plus 6-7 wks growing time at the absolute minimum but likely longer. Your single duck might not have that much time. Or you could just rehome a drake.
     
  3. BrineChickFarm

    BrineChickFarm Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    39
    Jul 19, 2012
    Thanks for the reply, I just posted an inquiry in the NH thread, hopefully someone can point me in the right direction
     
  4. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,456
    298
    236
    Apr 1, 2011
    Southern Maine
    Hi,
    I am in southern Maine so can definitely relate to your climate!

    First things first, as stated above, I would get another female(s) asap or see if you can get rid of a drake. If they are overbreeding her then you risk more injuries and possible death as that can be really rough for a single female.

    As for egg hatching, you can do it year round. I would suggest an incubator instead of natural incubation as the drakes may not leave her alone even if she is on a nest, and because pekins are known to be terrible mothers (mine ALWAYS gave up half way through incubating their own eggs).

    They should take about 28 days to hatch under the proper incubating conditions. But when it comes to brooding, winter is tough because you need to keep them warm. I try not to hatch this time of the year for that reason, but I have a batch of ducklings due Dec 4th, so I too will be brooding most of the winter!!
    I keep mine in the basement for the first 3-4 weeks. I keep 2 heat lamps on them (I use a kiddie pool) that way they are still warm if 1 burns out. They don't need to be able to swim but do need clean drinking water which you will likely have to clean out multiple times a day as well as their bedding as its harder to keep them clean and dry inside. But you can put them in a sink or bath tub now and then for a swim as long as the water is warm and they have a place where they can dry off and stay warm after.

    Around 4 weeks I put them out in the coop (they have started to grow thick down by this age). Again, I keep 2 heat lamps on them, more if it's really cold. I do not allow mine to go outside during the winter until they are fully feathered as it poses as too much of a chill risk. So again, it's tricky to keep their coop/brooding area clean and dry when they are always inside.

    Feel free to PM me with questions or anything of the sort :) I'd be happy to help!
     
  5. BrineChickFarm

    BrineChickFarm Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    39
    Jul 19, 2012
    Thank you!! I've asked around for to see if anyone has any female ducks and I haven't had any luck so I have some eggs in the incubator. Will be interesting to see Rouen/Pekin cross. I've also seperated the female for now. The boys seem content just to be able to see her so far.
     
  6. learycow

    learycow Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,456
    298
    236
    Apr 1, 2011
    Southern Maine
    If you want some full grown females I may be able to get some for you.
    There is a woman I know who usually has a bunch this time of the year. Breeds are usually a variety, some are crosses. She gets $20 each.
    If you are interested let me know. I'd be happy to grab a few for you!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by