Khaki Campbell new mother - what do I do with the eggs?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by wwwamericana, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. wwwamericana

    wwwamericana New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2012
    Hi everyone! I am new to duck raising and need some assistance. We got a pair of KC ducklings this spring when they were 3 days old. Just by chance they turned out to be a drake (Parsley) and a hen (Sage). Could not believe how fast they grew - inches each day. Over Labor Day, Sage laid her first egg. She has laid an egg a day, missing only 4 days since then. I picked up the first 13 eggs and got rid of them. Then she laid 15 more which I left in the nest until last week thinking she might set on them. She sits on the nest only at night to lay a new egg and then Parsley sits on it a bit but once they are let out in the morning, they stay out all day. She seems to have no desire to set on her eggs. I finally picked up all 15 eggs and brought them in the house to either trash or incubate. She has continued to lay an egg a day which I now promptly pick up each morning and refrigerate so we can eat them.

    Here's my questions: I thought at first she would lay her clutch and then set on it but after 28 eggs that doesn't seem the case. How long after gathering eggs can you keep eggs before you decide to eat or incubate them?

    Is there anything I can do to encourage her to set on her nest or is she just a bad mother and never will have the urge to raise a family?

    Parsley and Sage mate EVERY morning the minute they hit their pool - does that mean that all her eggs will most likely be fertile?

    Will she continue to lay throughout the winter? Should I leave a few eggs in her nest (marking them of course) to encourage her to set?

    I do not own an incubator and doubt that I would tackle hatching any eggs till Spring.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    jp
     
  2. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Canberra, Australia
    Welcome to BYC!!!!!!!

    Sounds like you have a great layer there :)

    KCs are not known for their interest in going broody. Ducks that are bred for egg laying are so good at what they do partly because they have had the instinct to go broody bred out of them. So it is actually pretty unlikely that your girl will ever go broody. It can happen, but it's unlikely. If you want to try to encourage her to, then leaving eggs in the nest is the best way.

    If they are mating every morning when you see them then no doubt they are doing it many other times during the day too. Eggs can be fertile weeks after a single mating, so there is every likelihood that the eggs are fertile.

    If you are keeping eggs to incubate then keeping them somewhere that is around 55-60 degrees F is best. The fridge is too cold (though not necessarily fatal to fertility, just not optimal). You can keep them for up to 10 days that way and fertility should still be ok. Have the eggs with the fat end up and tilt them alternate directions every morning and night (it's easiest to have them in an egg carton and just put one end up on something a couple of inches high then swap/turn so the other end is elevated, twice a day).

    Eggs that are refrigerated for eating should be fine for a month. Probably longer, but a month would certainly be safe.

    She may continue to lay through the winter if it is her first laying season. It also depends on your latitude and how much daylight you get though winter. My older ducks don't lay through the whole winter but they do start up a couple of weeks after the winter solstice (when the days start getting longer again).
     
  3. wwwamericana

    wwwamericana New Egg

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    Oct 24, 2012
    Thanks so much for your input. I learn a little bit more each day. We never really intended to purchase ducklings - kind of an accident that we came home with them; but having had them now through the summer, I don't think we have had any pets we have enjoyed as much. They definitely have their own personalities. Sage is very loud, always hungry, and a bit timid. Parsley is quiet but extremely protective of Sage and enjoys playing chase with our Belgian Shepherd. It is so amusing that we may have to make a YouTube of it.

    The eggs are delicious eating. And we have several people who have requested fresh duck eggs - just not too sure what I should sell them for. Will hopefully acquire an incubator as a Christmas present and start trying to raise a small flock come Spring. Which of course brings up another question - what about mating among "family members?" Should I plan on giving away all my males as soon as I can determine their sex?

    Would also like to get a pair of Cayuga ducks - will the two breeds interbreed or need I worry about this?

    Again your prompt reply was greatly appreciated.

    jp
     
  4. 70%cocoa

    70%cocoa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Canberra, Australia
    You're very welcome :) Ducks are such great pets, aren't they?

    t's probably not ideal to hatch eggs from brother to sister matings, though the actual mating bit is not an issue. That's not to say that there would be a problem with the offspring, but you do increase the risk of bringing into the foreground recessive genes that, in combination have a negative effect on health or hatchability of eggs. So go ahead and keep the sons of Sage and Parsely, but if you repeatedly hatch eggs that involve successive generations of close family members you may notice things like reduced viability of embryos and and reduced laying ability of the resulting offspring. But you shouldn't get two-headed ducklings :) Just keep an eye on your male to female ratio - once you start keepIng multiple drakes you need to make sure there are at least two girls to each boy, so the girls don't get harassed too much. Life is a bit quieter for everyone in a small flock with just the one drake..

    Cayugas and Runners will interbreed but that's not a problem unless you want purebred offspring. If you want pure offspring then just separate the breeds for at least a month before collecting eggs to hatch. Theoretically, Campbells + Cayugas should produce all black offspring, so the cross would more or less look like Cayugas, but a bit lighter and smaller.
     
  5. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

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    price to sell them at depends on where you are located. Not all ducks go broody and hatch eggs. I would suggest collecting the eggs daily and eating them until you are well planned for ducklings and what you will be doing with them. Remembering that you will get males and females and you never want a large flock with too many boys or the girls can get hurt. 1 khaki drake for every 4-6 girls works very well here for us. Extra drakes goto freezer camp.
     

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