Mallard Ducks - Egg laying and winter.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by gkroegman, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. gkroegman

    gkroegman New Egg

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    Aug 19, 2014
    Hello everybody!
    My first winter with ducks (raised them from babies since March), I have a female Mallard and I'm not positive on what the male is. Probably Mallard as well.
    90% of the time they free range in my back yard, it's about half an acre and is fenced in. Otherwise I keep them in a 10x10 chain link enclosure, with a shade screen cover. The male attacks my dog, so when my dog goes out to use the bathroom is pretty much the only time they're confined in their pen. I have an indoor outdoor cat that they don't care about, and the cat doesn't care about them either. They just look at one another and keep on doing their own thing. Seems like it's just my dog they don't like (she doesn't bother them at all, they go for her)... they're fine with my friends Chihuahua.
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    I went to Lowes and got them a plastic kiddie pool for swimming and drinking, which I drain and refill once or twice a week.
    They eat duck food out of a dog bowl, plus whatever bugs they find in the yard. They seem like pretty happy ducks!

    I read a lot on here about egg laying, and how the first batch of eggs should be about a dozen eggs.
    WELL, my female must be an over achiever, because she started to lay in July, 1-2 per day, and hasn't stopped since. I'm talking hundreds of eggs. Everywhere. She'll dig out a nest for them in the garden beds, in their pen, she's even got a stash in the compost pile. Is that normal? To just keep laying eggs nonstop? She doesn't try to sit on them, just lays them and kind of leaves them alone. None have hatched (and I've seen the drake ride her many many times), but that's fine, I'm not really looking to raise more. If they hatch, they hatch. If they don't, they don't.

    My other question is on winterization. Their pen is against a wooded fence on one side, a garden bed on the other, and I have a little "duck house" made of industrial plastic that I put next to their kiddie pool. I put their food in the duck house so they can get familiar with the space for those windy cold days that are about to start. Is that enough? They're protected from the elements but still have plenty of ventilation. The floor is just my lawn.

    I'll monitor the pool over winter and make sure they always have access to the water, just by breaking any occasional ice we may get and will keep draining and refilling once or twice a week. I mean, they're ducks, they live outside during winter in their natural environment, so I figured I shouldn't have to go to any crazy lengths to make sure they're safe and happy for our first winter together.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    Sounds like you are doing well by your ducks.

    My protective nature - regarding ducks - is that, while their wild counterparts get through the winter - at least a lot of them do, sometimes they do head south where winter is milder. And some do not make it.

    With just the two ducks, I would want their shelter to be at least 35˚F, and then make sure they have plenty of good quality feed, with enough nutrients and calories to keep them warm.

    Folks have ducks that seem to be completely unfazed by cold temperatures. Folks have ducks that get hypothermia. Keep watch, their behavior and health will tell you how they are doing.

    Some ducks lay all over the place. Mallards are usually seasonal layers - perhaps she is a mix? The drake looks a bit like a Khaki Campbell to me.
     
  3. smonkeySK

    smonkeySK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 20, 2013
    wigan uk
    She also looks a big in the body to be a pure mallard.
    My first thought was Rouen but as Amiga says they could be khaki crosses too.
    Either way I would think cross as very few mallards are regular layers.

    Not that it matters; they're lovely and you get eggs to boot! So consider yourself lucky as at least they are paying their own way ;)
     

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