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Keeping the males with the females......

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DiamondSwan, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. DiamondSwan

    DiamondSwan Crowing

    Sep 18, 2015
    Desti-ny-Nation: Swan Pond!
    We are going to be getting 10 Welsh Harlequin ducklings from Metzer farms soon (8 females 2 males.) When they get older I want them to raise ducklings and lay eggs to eat. I heard that you can eat fertilized eggs if the female hasn't sat on them, but it would break my heart to eat an egg that could of been a baby. My first question is: would all the eggs be fertile if the males are kept with the females? I want them to be free ranged during the day and kept in a pen at night, I would have to keep them in separate pens at night and switch out which ones are free ranging if all of them would end up being fertile and put the ones I want to breed together in a third pen..... I really want to avoid that. I read that the eggs stay good for weeks without being refrigerated even if the female has sat on them, I also read you can do a float test to see if they are good or bad. So I thought maybe I could go out a couple times a day to put a date on the eggs and let the females lay their clutch and sit on them for like 2 days, then I could candle them to see if they are fertile or not. So what do you guys think? What do you do with yours?

  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    I don't own ducks (yet!), but I've talked a lot with other duck raisers and researched waterfowl greatly on the Internet and in books. So these are just my thoughts:

    Assuming the drakes are fertile, most (if not all) of the eggs your female ducks would lay should be fertile. This fertility may vary depending on the time of year (for example, the spring is the main breeding season), but I would still expect fertility much of the time.

    I've heard that eggs can stay relatively fresh for weeks without refrigeration. However, I have also heard that an egg ages more one hour at room temperature than one week in a refrigerator. If I was eating the eggs, I would probably keep them refrigerated, just to be safe. That being said, it certainly wouldn't hurt to experiment with letting your females sit on the eggs and test their fertility that way. I just wouldn't make it a habit of eating partially incubated, possibly fertile eggs or eggs which have been exposed to outside-refrigerator conditions for a good deal of time.

    Good luck with your future ducks!
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    It takes more than a couple of days for duck embryos to be detectable once they begin to be incubated.

    I don't know the exact time limits, I just gather eggs every day and set them aside - I don't always refrigerate them as the eggs are kept in the cellar where it's fairly cool even in summer.
  4. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    If you have males with females, most of your eggs will be fertile. Like Amiga said, development doesn't really start asap and it takes about a week before you can see any veining in the egg.
    Just collect daily and you are good to go.

    I keep eggs on the counter for 3-4 weeks in cooler weather, otherwise I just keep them in the fridge.
  5. Kleonaptra

    Kleonaptra Songster

    I take the eggs first thing in the morning and put them in the fridge. Most will be fertile but so long as you get them straight away, you cant really tell. It used to squick me out that they might have been babies...but you get over that when you learn to love duck eggs! If i want ducklings I store the eggs for incubation. I only have one duck that regularly goes broody and she has never hatched anything. I have one call giving it a go right now but I might have to move her as we have foxes around. None of my ducks have ever managed successful hatch and that's with all the help I could give. Whatever plans you have, your ducks will be sure to change them!
  6. DiamondSwan

    DiamondSwan Crowing

    Sep 18, 2015
    Desti-ny-Nation: Swan Pond!
    Thanks for the info guys. I think I'm just going to separate them. I could manage with a large pen for the females and a small pen for the males, and switch out which ones are free ranging during the day. I could let the males in with the females like twice a year or something, so I'd know those eggs have babies. Anyone know if Welsh Harlequins are natural mommies? I know I'm getting ahead of myself since they're only babies and they haven't even got here yet! LOL :p, but I like being prepared and it all comes down to how many pens I'll need.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015

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