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Muscovy egg laying in winter

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by flgardengirl, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Songster

    Dec 2, 2009
    Sunny side up :)
    My muscovy hen just started laying. I found a nest with 5 nice eggs in it. Every morning when I let her out of the duck house she runs straight for it. She isn't actually sitting on them yet. I am wondering if she will go broody since it is getting colder? Do muscovies go broody during the winter?
    I am in NE FL and it does freeze her once in a while from mid Dec. through Feb.
    I want more ducks and I suspect they are fertile since the males have been mating her for the last few months. I am not sure if I want to incubate them right now, I would rather have her do it lol.

  2. taraann81

    taraann81 Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    There is a good possiblility she will set. I had a hen still laying and then set in January a couple of years ago(snow on the ground and everything).

    I took the eggs when I found them and the broody, I'm not sure if she could have hatched them in the cold weather here but I'm pretty sure they all would have died afterwards because of the cold and I didn't want tducks in the house that time of year.

    Muscovies are supposedly seasonal layers ... and for the most part that has held tru with mine, but occasionally I do have a gal that lays into January of February.

    She may hatch them but be prepared to care for them, as we had a duck hatch out a clutch of 13 about two weeks ago..She is now down to 3 due to the cold( although she is a first time mom, so perhaps inexperience has played a part).
  3. pascopol

    pascopol Songster

    Jan 6, 2009
    Tampa Bay
    Muscovies lay and brood year around in Florida. My lady friend has a bird sacntuary on 5 acres of swampy land covered with cypress woods, a heaven for waterfowl. Her Muscovies are laying and breeding in January with temperatures frequently falling below freezing at night.

    They brooded and raised bunches of healthy and happy Muscovy duclkings over every winter.

    North of Fl Muscovies are likely to be seasonal layers. They laying behaviour depends on day lenght not only on the temperatures.

    In Florida days are longer in winter than in northern states, day is never shorter than about 10.5 hrs here in Central Florida.
  4. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    Muscovies lay and brood when Muscovies want to, it seems. Just mark the calendar when they start to sit and stick. (stick to the nest, stay there). They like big nests, at least 8, a dozen even more.

    One of my girls just set a hugh pile of eggs from the 5 of them that have layed in that nest for a week. So the new nest they are starting.... No No No. I will collect those eggs. One hatch at a time around here is all I want to deal with.

    I am hoping for a Xmas hatch. Pea soup, finely chopped Romaine and coarse ground mixed seeds along with chick starter will be waiting for them. Little dishes are cleaned, stacked and ready to go. Have to put the game camera back in the duck house yet though.

    Oh, almost forgot, they wait until they have enough eggs (that they consider enough eggs) before they start to sit. You may see her sit on the eggs for awhile then get up and leave for the day. She's just turning them. Once she sits, she will stay on the eggs and only get off to eat and drink maybe bath in the beginning. That's when you mark the calendar. It is important that she have water to bath in close to the hatch date. I have seen my ducks just walk through their pool and get just their bellies a little wet during the brooding period. But when it is time for them to hatch they will bath, submerge completely, barely shaking off water and go back and sit the eggs. Then you know. You have 3 days to get everything ready for them. That is when I take the drake and other hens but 1 out. I leave her friend in to help her protect the babies if need be. I love watching how they prepare themselves and adjust the humidity with their bathing and sunbathing. Its different all the time. There is no way we can do what they do with the incubators.

    When sitting, make sure they have a lot of good food at hand, they will only eat once a day. My ducks get equal feed and scratch free choice. Your duck will loose weight while sitting a nest, that's normal. After the hatch, I feed her high protein to get the weight back on fast, again free choice. Pea soup and scrambled eggs help in that and is really appreciated by the Duck and her babies. The babies dishes I water down more than her bigger dish. My momma ducks lead them to the pea soup before the feed, so keep that in mind. Actually its always pea soup, ground seeds, then feed. A few days later she leads them to the chopped Romaine and scrambled eggs fits in there somewhere. I don't remember when or where.

    Hope this helps, enjoy your hatch that I am sure is coming.
  5. flgardengirl

    flgardengirl Songster

    Dec 2, 2009
    Sunny side up :)
    Thanks so much for all the advice and replies. I found another egg so the total is 6 so far. She runs straight for the nest when I let her out in the morning. It is in a wooded area kinda far from our house. I have been letting my muscovies free range during the day and I have a small duck house they stay in at night. If she does go broody, I will have to build her, her own house and/or brooding pen and make a place for her eggs. Is that a good idea?
    Do you think if I move the eggs she will still set on them if she does go broody?
    I would just leave them and her out but we have so many predators around here. I lost my other muscovy hen earlier this summer because she wouldn't come in for one night and something got her, so I don't want to leave anymore out. Right now, I have 2 males and only the one female left. So far they have all been getting along okay but I need to get more females for sure. That's why I think it would be good if some more hatched.
  6. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    My ducks have their nest in the duck house, they lay their eggs there in the morning before I let them out (about 8 or so). They also free range the backyard. I would move the nest to the duck house. Put the nest in a protected area, away from the door. My girls always make the main nest in the far back corner. Today they started a second nest.

    I normally just have shavings on the ground for them. They scoop some and form a very shallow nest and start laying their eggs. With thenest growing and S.W. ready to sit and with winter coming on, yesterday I added some hay ( I tear it a bit smaller for the nesting boxes and the Duck nests) and Snow White has been taking it and tucking it around the eggs. When they first start making the nest it looks really tall. But they keep netting it together. My ducks nests are about 2' around. But then my girls will have 24-36 eggs in one nest. They are not all going to hatch.

    One duck is not going to make a nest that big, somewhere around 12-18" around. That's the space she needs for the nest. Then later she will need more room for the ducklings and their food and water. And hers too. Just move the eggs (and whatever she is using for nesting material, the whole thing) to a short pile of hay, have some hay next to it for her to work with. At some point she may start taking down from her belly to add to the nest, this is normal, but that is when I give them more hay to use and they do use it. Means its going to get colder and they want to keep the eggs warmer. Don't worry if she doesn't sit it yet. Make sure she lays her egg there before you let her out in the morning though. But it should't be a problem. She could start to sit after 8 eggs though, so get the nest moved before that. I figure you have 2 days. Oh, did you know to take out the first 2 eggs, they are usually smaller and are not fertile, take them out that gives you another 2 days. If you need more time, take those first eggs out to keep her laying. Some people number the eggs to keep track of them. I don't bother, if she has a bad egg she rolls it out of the nest and I toss it.

    Watch the drakes though, they may try to destroy the eggs, to keep her from sitting the next. You must know that you have to many drakes. I have a 1M/5F ratio. Muscovies are very fertile and need at least 3 ducks. Are these young drakelets? If so, I am surprised they are not fighting over her. I would move them out or move one of them out. Good Luck.

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