Laying Habits of Muscovies?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by triplepurpose, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

    951
    130
    188
    Oct 13, 2008
    So...

    I'm wondering, do muscoes lay in the early morning or at night like I've heard the mallard ducks do? I would like to be able to control their reproduction, rather than having them setting surprise clutches in the bushes. I have the ability to contain them in a sizable pen or let them range as necessary. (Currently they range during the day and I close them in at night.)

    I have a small flock (one drakelet and several ducklets) all close to the same age, that aren't old enough to be sexually mature yet (they are between four and five months old, I think). I'm wondering if anyone can give me an idea of what to expect with their laying habits. If it makes a difference, these ducklets are from a mixed black and white flock that lived free-range and reproduced themselves copiously for at least a couple of generations, so I expect to see strong traits of broodiness, etc. They will mostly be for home meat production, but I would also like to collect some eggs to eat, and as I mentioned, control their reproduction.

    Thanks!
     
  2. linen53

    linen53 Out Of The Brooder

    46
    1
    24
    Feb 26, 2011
    Fremont County, CO
    I have nothing but Scovies. 6 drakes and 16 ducks. All of my girls lay at night or early morning hours before I open their house and let them out for the day. On occasion one ends up with a wacked up inner time clock and will lay in the mornings up to 9 am but then their schedules straighten up and they lay with the rest of them from then on. Scovies will often all lay their eggs in the same nest. Until someone goes broodie then get ready for some cranky dispositions. It's funny to watch.

    Scovies are very broodie if they were given the chance to develop that way. I have some that I bought as adults and they are very broodie. I have others that I raised from ducklings and they are so used to me collecting their eggs daily that they couldn't care less about setting on some dumb eggs.

    When they go broodie I let them have their way for 3-4 days (for a good rest) and then, if I am not planning on hatching any I distract them off of their nests for 30 minutes and then I go in and destroy their nests. Lock them out for the day and by evening they go running back in and find out their nests are no longer there. Sometimes I have to place pieces of firewood on top of their nests to keep them from re-making the nests. The thing is by getting them off of their nests their internal temperature lowers and they easily stop being broodie. Usually after they see their nests are no longer there, they say, "Ok, on with life," and walk away.

    At 4-5 months old get ready for some mating really quickly. They are just about mature enough. Ratio should be 3-5 ducks for each drake but your two to one should be just fine. Scovies are very sexually active. They sometimes show preference with whom they mate with but if you isolate the drake with the one he won't mate with for awhile that should help that problem.
     
  3. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

    951
    130
    188
    Oct 13, 2008
    Thanks for the advice and ideas. I'm seeing the beginnings of mating behavior now, but "Draco" hasn't quite figured out how to seal the deal yet. Good news about the nighttime laying--that should make it quite a bit easier to manage, and it fits nicely with their routine already. Looking forward to some eggs and ducklings soon!
     
  4. Chikn-Chik

    Chikn-Chik Chillin' With My Peeps

    257
    8
    114
    Mar 11, 2011
    Tellico Plains, TN
    I'm not exactly sure what time my Muscovy lays, she's completely free range and usually has 3 to 4 nests per year. With about 30+ eggs each nest. When she goes missing I know she's setting somewhere. Most of the time its in the barn loft, but last year she surprised me by making a nest under the chicken pen. Silly girl!
     
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    7,538
    344
    311
    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    I find at night or in the AM.. mine are locked up at night and not let out till morning.. on occasion i will have a hen sitting on a nest and then she leaves and there is an egg BUT hard to say if it was there from the night or this was an AM egg..

    I'll still have the odd bird who will lay one during the day out on the ground [​IMG] but fortunately that isn't happening all that often anymore.. ages of my girls.. My original pair of hens will be 1yo in May and the 3 others will be roughly a year in Mar.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  6. jamband

    jamband Chillin' With My Peeps

    582
    5
    123
    Apr 26, 2011
    I've heard if you take all the eggs scovies will think predator and look for a new nest. Anyone experience that? I have one girl that seems to laying mid morning. Yes the mating will start anytime and thoose boys have a healthy appetite as do some girls though.
     
  7. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

    951
    130
    188
    Oct 13, 2008
    Many older or more natural chicken types (the ones with intact reproductive instincts) will do that...it wouldn't suprise me if Muscovies do so too. It's a pretty sensible reaction for any bird when you consider. I once worked on a farm in Austria that had old sulmthaler chickens that roamed freely and foraged and liked to hide their eggs all sorts of places (real "old school" chickens). I was cautioned when collecting eggs from a nest to always make sure to leave at least one egg. Presumabley you could also leave behind a couple of fake eggs too...
     
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    69,370
    5,121
    671
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I don't know if my scovie girls think predator when i take their eggs but they will try to find another place to lay them. I have had to put up hardware cloth and chicken wire all around my out buildinsg inside the fence, and not let them out till late morning when they start to lay.
    Even the building outside the fence now have somekind of fencing around the bottom to keep them from laying under them, it's amazing how small an opening they can scoot under.
     
  9. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    Until my muscovies are established meaning 6 or more eggs in the nest, if I see them on the nest they well abandon it. I can not tell you how many times I have seen them and tried to carry on like I didn't see them, only to have them get up and change nest the next day.
     
  10. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

    951
    130
    188
    Oct 13, 2008
    Interesting... They are cunning little birds. (Ok, actually, BIG birds!) That could make things interesting...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by