Laying Problems

coonhollow

In the Brooder
May 5, 2015
12
0
22
Yamhill, OR
I've got ten hens and one drake, all mixed breed, Ancona, Rouen/Khaki, Khaki/Runner, Pekin, Cayuga, etc. I feed them Purina Layena Crumble, no added oyster shell. I was feeding them cracked corn, which apparently lowers their protein which is needed for laying, so I stopped the corn, which was something I did in winter to fatten them up. I have a 40w bulb that's on from 8 to 1030pm. They have fresh water every day and a pool they unfortunately and inevitably drink from, but which I change every week. I recently got rid of two extra drakes and began feeding them extra food, not realizing I was only feeding them all about two pints of food, so now about a quart's worth, supplemented by the occasional bread/veggie/fruit scraps. They graze in an ~80x40 fenced area and are secured in their overconstructed coop (2x4 and tin) at night between 830pm-8am. Any suggestions? I've done tons of research and often refer to Dave Holderread's Raising Ducks Guide.
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
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Holderread's Raising Ducks book has a chart in it showing how many pounds of food per day ducks need. Please check that.

Also, how much do these ducks weigh?

I would give them some extra calcium free choice.

I am guessing they are not getting enough food for laying. An egg weighs, oh, about 2 plus ounces, yes? That's going to require plenty of food. And yes they get food from foraging, but not all forage areas are equal - so it's hard to guess how much they are getting.

I would weigh a few of them and check the information in Storey's Guide to see if they are underweight.
 

coonhollow

In the Brooder
May 5, 2015
12
0
22
Yamhill, OR
They are all laying age and have laid before. Five are nine months old and have laid erratically, and the other five are at least a year and I was told they were laying five a day every day. Between all ten I am getting one egg every few days : /

I have consulted the food chart before but will take another closer look. The trouble with optimum weight is that they are all different breeds and most are mixed breeds. So I'm not sure the weight recommendations will be all that helpful. I'm also unfamiliar with extra calcium free choice. I have supplemented with oyster shell before...
 

coonhollow

In the Brooder
May 5, 2015
12
0
22
Yamhill, OR
Gotcha. I've given them oyster shell before. I'll pick some up.

Turns out I was underfeeding them according to the chart. I'll ramp up their food and see how it goes. Thanks for all the help!
 

coonhollow

In the Brooder
May 5, 2015
12
0
22
Yamhill, OR
I tripled their food and the laying has gone spectacularly. I went from two or three eggs all the way up to 7/8/9 and -was- feeling very proud.

But now I'm having different problems. I let them out in the morning (8 am) and they aren't hungry at all. They run right into the grass to forage. I also went from getting 8 eggs per day to 5, then yesterday and this morning there was only 1! From 10 females! After putting them in the coop last night I found 5 eggs in the grass, instead of the coop where they usually lay. This morning I found only 1 egg and one hen had yolk on her face. Are they not getting enough protein? Calcium? Are they too cramped? I house my 11 ducks in an 8x4x5 coop. I feed them so often and so much they don't even eat it all. I'm not sure what's going on but I don't like it. Any help would sure be appreciated!
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
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Oct 3, 2009
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I tripled their food and the laying has gone spectacularly. I went from two or three eggs all the way up to 7/8/9 and -was- feeling very proud.

But now I'm having different problems. I let them out in the morning (8 am) and they aren't hungry at all. They run right into the grass to forage. I also went from getting 8 eggs per day to 5, then yesterday and this morning there was only 1! From 10 females! After putting them in the coop last night I found 5 eggs in the grass, instead of the coop where they usually lay. This morning I found only 1 egg and one hen had yolk on her face. Are they not getting enough protein? Calcium? Are they too cramped? I house my 11 ducks in an 8x4x5 coop. I feed them so often and so much they don't even eat it all. I'm not sure what's going on but I don't like it. Any help would sure be appreciated!

You do realize these female ducks need to have a break in between laying they have to have time to get theri bodies built back up or they would break down way to early. So feed is very important as is foraging. I do a mixture of both and I also keep out Oyster shell so the girls can have it as they need it. Let them out later say an hour later and see if they will lay in the coop.that space too small for 11 ducks especially if you have drakes in the mix. most of the time they could care less if a duck needs to lay an egg if the notion hits them they want to mate they will so that maybe a problem too. Is there anyway you can set up a small dog house of something similar with shaving or straw in it just for laying, if your wanting one to go broody I wouldn't rec this but just for laying they may like having some privacy with out the drake messing with them.
 
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coonhollow

In the Brooder
May 5, 2015
12
0
22
Yamhill, OR
Well no, I didn't realize, that's why I asked. I think they're fine on food -- if anything I overfeed them, and they forage for over 12 hours each day. I worry about leaving them in their coop too long and getting too hot with the summer heat we're experiencing in Northwest Oregon, but I can try it. I believe (the book isn't in front of me) Dave Holderread says about 2-3 square feet per bird. At 32 square feet (40 including their nesting boxes) that should be sufficient, which is why we built it that size. If I absolutely must I can make it larger, but that won't be an easy, cheap, or quick solution. There is only 1 drake to 10 females. I will maybe try the "laying box" idea outside of the coop. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for the help.
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
114,525
133,750
1,962
Mountains of Western N.C.
Well no, I didn't realize, that's why I asked. I think they're fine on food -- if anything I overfeed them, and they forage for over 12 hours each day. I worry about leaving them in their coop too long and getting too hot with the summer heat we're experiencing in Northwest Oregon, but I can try it. I believe (the book isn't in front of me) Dave Holderread says about 2-3 square feet per bird. At 32 square feet (40 including their nesting boxes) that should be sufficient, which is why we built it that size. If I absolutely must I can make it larger, but that won't be an easy, cheap, or quick solution. There is only 1 drake to 10 females. I will maybe try the "laying box" idea outside of the coop. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for the help.
1 drake to 10 females wow I be he's in heaven. lol maybe just try a nest box outside for privacy and see if it helps. I was thinking more drakes and all that testosterone could be upsetting the ladies.
 

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