Layers for how long? Molting questions too

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by zooweemama, May 15, 2012.

  1. zooweemama

    zooweemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    I keep reading 3 years as the cut off. Any of that keep ducks for egg laying- can you share what your experiences are with egg laying? Did yours lay after 3 years? Did quantity drop off drastically after the 3rd year? They do not lay all 12 months each year- they stop laying eggs when molting correct? How long does molting generally last? Do they start laying again right away or after a time? Is there a general time during the year when ducks molt or is it individual to the duck?

    And for any of you with laying experience- of the ducks you have raised- which were the best layers? I have been surprised to read sometimes that ducks that would normally not lay well, can lay nearly daily...like a Pekin.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  2. Tivona

    Tivona Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have only had duck just over 2 years now but I had chickens that were older then 3. The 2 year old ducks this last winter did slow up but never truly stopped. The chickens I had years ago were over 3 and they stopped laying in the winter then started up in the spring again. However they would miss more days then young birds in the summer time.

    As far as the molting, my chickens molted in the winter and they did not lay the whole time. By the time spring rolled around they were fully feathered again when they started laying. My ducks are molting at various times of the year and usually continue laying until the last part of their molt. I did notice that more days were missed laying during a molt and that some shells were a bit thin. Also the eggs were a bit smaller then usual from my molting girls.

    I only have 3 types of ducks. 9 Golden 300 hybrids (crazy good layers of lots of good sized cream colored eggs), 1 Black Swedish (big eggs with a dark coating on the shell), and 1 Buff (big pale eggs). The 300s are not quite as big as my Swedish or the Buff. The size of the birds I think explains the egg size. If your in it for eggs and don't plan on hatching babies then the 300s are wonderful. They do not breed true though as they are hybrids. I have a few 2nd generation 300s and they are still good layers but slightly different then the ones from the hatchery. I don't worry about the birds age to much until they reallllly slow up. I figure even if they are not laying like crazy as long as I have enough to eat then all is good.
     
  3. zooweemama

    zooweemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow thanks so much! Of course we have a while to wait before we get any laying. This is our first year with ducks so we got a little bit of everything. We have kids and will eventually have other animals (like goats) and we just really needed to experience some of the different kinds of ducks to see what fit us best. We do want good layers and I am absolutely thrilled to hear you give the 300s such good remarks. They are also drop dead gorgeous in coloring (love the brown personally!). They are pretty lively too. Temperament wise so far I adore the Runners. But I am so excited to see what they all become. The Pekins have already changed from these silly sweet little things to a sassy spastic LOUD skittish huge older duckling.

    So when molting ducks may stop or lay very sporadically during the molt period. With having so many ducks- do you find that you still have a consistent egg flow so that you do not need to buy any at the store (or from other chicken/duck friends?)...I'd like to avoid a gap. Even if that means adding on a couple chickens. :D
     
  4. Tahai

    Tahai Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Zooweemama,

    Ducks do stop laying during a molt. Generally this is a 2-4 month period of time, depending on a variety of factors. Many egg laying duck breeds lay straight through their first year, for up to 18 months before going into molt, and then settling into a regular laying/molting cycle. The length of each cycle, once again, depends on a variety of factors such as breed, genetics, feed quality, light amounts, heat....

    Egg production is the highest the first year, then very strong during years 2 and 3. Production tapers off as they age, becoming more sporadic the older they are. If you want year round duck eggs, it seems to me that you would need to add a couple of 1st year hens every year, so you always have a few in that longer initial laying cycle.

    In regards to non-egg-laying breeds laying an egg a day...this is indeed true of some breeds. I've often wondered, though, how long is their laying cycle? An egg a day for 1 month? Two months? Six? How many years do they lay before they slow down drastically? If a non-egg breed duck is laying an egg a day for 10-18 months straight, that is indeed spectacular.

    I strongly suggest you purchase Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks, if you haven't already. Mr. Holderread does and excellent job of answering most of the duck questions we beginners have.

    Best Wishes,

    Tahai
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  5. berniezahm

    berniezahm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One of the most prolific layer is the Khaki Campbell. I don't believe they outlay the 300 hybrids, but they are a very good general purpose duck and average 250 or so eggs per hen per year. I don't have any old enough to be laying yet as I acquired eggs for hatching this spring. I got them because a poultry friend swears by them. He claims that if you want a steady supply of eggs Khaki Campbells are the way to go. I have Pekings, Indian runners a trio of hybrid 300 and 4 Mallards, but still don't have duck eggs year round. Even chickens won't lay year around unless you use supplemental lighting in the winter months
     
  6. nickie

    nickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, in my experience with Pekins I had both ends of the spectrum. I can't give you info on other breeds yet, this is my first year with them. One pekin layed daily for her season which was spring to early winter (when the day were warm until her molt and then she was done until the next year, usually late Feb to October.). My other pekin is a machine. She just missed her first day since her molt in October. She is 3 years old. Fred was 3 as well, but we recently lost her. Sketchy has always given me an egg a day, every day, unless she was molting or hiding somewhere brooding. There was one year when the snow got a bit deep for a good month and she quit for a bit then.

    Lol, I thought you loved the Pekins?
     
  7. zooweemama

    zooweemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    I do love them. :D So much so that we want to hang on to the Pekin drake for our lady Pekins. hehe If they can lay decently- I'd love to have them around. Their antic are funny. I am only bummed with how much mine don't want to have anything to do with me. lol The Runners are literally sweet. The easiest of all our ducks to catch and are very calm and quiet when we hold them. It's hard not to be endeared by that. But I can't wait to see what breeds lay best, how they all look, how they all act...so fun!
     
  8. Tivona

    Tivona Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too love the look of my 300's. They come with some slight variations in coloring and I really like that. I have one light colored one and one with a white ring on her neck. [​IMG] They all are very similar but I love the fact that my ducks don't look like clones.

    So far I have not had to buy any eggs since I got them except maybe 2 dozen (total) from the store in the dead of winter just to up the number I had available. However I did add more ducks to my flock and so I've always had a few new young girls laying. By splitting orders with others I got a good deal and didn't have to get a bunch at once. Also I was lucky getting the Buff and Swedish given to me, as the person who had gotten them was not quite prepared for the ducklings messiness. She gave them to me at about 2 1/2 months old last summer.

    As far as the molting period I am confused by my ducks. I expected them to stop laying during their molts but...my duck named Trouble (a well earned name) is the only one that lays green eggs so its easy to keep track of hers. She is an older duck getting close to 3 now. Shes had 2 molts (one currently going on). She lays during her molt but instead of averaging about 7 eggs per week (yes she never quits for months on end) she goes down to about 5 1/2 eggs per week during most of the molt. The eggs get a bit smaller and the shells are a bit thinner but she still cranks them out. Then for a few weeks none then back to a slow week followed by her amazing 7 eggs a week till her next molt. Shes molted a hair less then once a year. And just to note....she is a second generation 300 hatched from a pair of 300s that came from Metzers. The others that molt seems to do about the same but its a bit harder to tell which egg is from whom due to the fact that all my other 300s lay cream eggs and they are all together. However judging by the number of eggs I am getting per day or week the others lay during their molt as well.
     
  9. Tivona

    Tivona Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just to clarify my duck Trouble has laid, judging by my records of when I got her and the molts, over 300 eggs per year...not bad for a second generation 300 hybrid.[​IMG] She is darker with a bit of black in the dark brown, smaller and the only one to lay the green eggs in my flock. She is also the one to find any hole in my fencing and escape. The only one as a duckling to draw blood (ninja duck feet) from multiple people when handling her when she was a baby. Also the fastest... Not sure how much of that is from her being a second generation but her egg record I am not complaining. It is kind of funny though whenever someone says a duck is out of the yard I always know its her. Only been wrong 2 or 3 times. She is a bit like Houdini but she makes me smile.
     
  10. nickie

    nickie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, does everyone have a houdini duck, or is it us?
     

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