Molting & the Weather

OldGuy43

Songster
8 Years
One of the real pluses to being retired is that you have the time to lay about and consider the "why" of things.
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So the quackers started molting this week, as well as the attendant loss of eggs. Quite naturally I came to BYC for info since the weather here just turned cold. (Okay, cold for here, down into the 30's at night and 60's during the day.) I discovered that while many had reported that their ducks were molting during cold weather no one could explain why this was so since it seemed counter survival. I think I have the answer.
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It is Darwinian behavior and is not counter survival. Think about it. An adult duck holds it's body temp at about 107 degrees and therefore stays warm. Now consider why ducks lay eggs. An egg is a duck's way of making another duck. They don't care if we get eggs or not.

Now, even though an adult can tolerate cold weather, as we all know a duckling can't! In order to survive they must be kept warm (about 90 degrees for the first week). See? Why make ducklings that have a lower chance of survival?
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
11 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,819
551
Southern New England
Makes sense, I suppose it may also be that among domestic ducks, their timing may be a little off, as the elimination of too-late-molting ducks from hypothermia would keep that out of the population. Since we shelter them especially at night, it's not as much of a lineage-stopper.
 

wildpeas

Songster
7 Years
Mar 18, 2012
560
19
123
Port Orchard, Wa
One of the real pluses to being retired is that you have the time to lay about and consider the "why" of things.
tongue2.gif


So the quackers started molting this week, as well as the attendant loss of eggs. Quite naturally I came to BYC for info since the weather here just turned cold. (Okay, cold for here, down into the 30's at night and 60's during the day.) I discovered that while many had reported that their ducks were molting during cold weather no one could explain why this was so since it seemed counter survival. I think I have the answer.
smile.png


It is Darwinian behavior and is not counter survival. Think about it. An adult duck holds it's body temp at about 107 degrees and therefore stays warm. Now consider why ducks lay eggs. An egg is a duck's way of making another duck. They don't care if we get eggs or not.

Now, even though an adult can tolerate cold weather, as we all know a duckling can't! In order to survive they must be kept warm (about 90 degrees for the first week). See? Why make ducklings that have a lower chance of survival?

I don't quite follow what you are saying. Could you rephrase?
 

Going Quackers

Crowing
9 Years
May 24, 2011
7,839
975
371
On, Canada
I figured the reason my Lilly has molted so late was because her clutch stayed with her longer, she was so dedicated and didn't properly wean till they were 8wks at least, i felt that probably threw her system off a tad. Thankfully the feathers have opened because we are cold, heck we went down to -10C the other night... and only hitting highs in single digits. It's a whopping +2C out(36F for those who use that lol)
 
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cskotek

Songster
7 Years
Apr 7, 2012
1,057
16
133
North East Pennsylvania.
I know the Canadian geese that come through hatch their babies around May (end of school year). And even then when the ones these are starting to turn grey from yellow there are still some geese on the river with little yellow fluff balls. So not all ducks/geese have babies in the spring :)
 

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