Muscovy started laying in winter- egg troubles. help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by BlackChicken, Jan 24, 2014.

  1. BlackChicken

    BlackChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 24, 2014
    We have two muscovies, a male and female, and the girl just started laying for the first time about a week ago. We have gotten an egg almost everyday since then. At first we didn't realize that she was the one laying them (not our chickens) and collected the eggs but once we realized, we left them in the nest box so she would keep laying and hopefully sit... Unfortunately, the two eggs we decided to leave froze and cracked over night (we have the first three and the most recent eggs in an egg carton in the kitchen)!

    This is our first time trying to hatch anything and we aren't sure what to do.. If we keep collecting the eggs will she eventually become broody and then we can sneak the collected eggs back in the nest? It's between 40-50 degrees during the day but drops to 5-30 at night. We don't want to just leave all the eggs out there for them to freeze.. Or should we just wait for the temperature to become warmer before we let her sit?? We don't have an incubator so that's not an option.. Any advice is appreciated!!
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Welcome to the Duck Forum and [​IMG]

    My feeling is that you all need to wait till the weather is much more reliably warm. Even getting through the incubation period, littles would be coming out, umm, first part of March. What's the weather like for you that time of year, worst case? We kept our runners in the brooder in the house for three entire months because they arrived sooner than expected, and the winter just held on and it was too cold for them to go into an unheated duck house.

    Congratulations on the eggs, by the way.
     
  3. BlackChicken

    BlackChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! And I moved here last May so I'm not positive, but when I looked up the weather it said the average low would be in the upper 30s/40s
     
  4. ButtaCup

    ButtaCup Out Of The Brooder

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    One of my Muscovy started laying on Christmas and is now sitting, but I got lucky that none of the eggs froze this year. A few years ago, I had to take 18 eggs from her due to the cold, the problem with that is that they will try to hide their nests. If you don't let them free range you should be in good shape just collect the eggs each day until the weather warms up, but if you do let them free range you will need to make sure she isn't hiding a nest. We have 23 Muscovy ducks and 5 drakes and we will hatch around 1500 babies this year and 1/4 of those will be from hidden nests.
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Yes, this winter has brought some extremes not seen in a number of years, I think. At least for some parts of the continent.
     
  6. BlackChicken

    BlackChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow, that's a lot of babies! We do let ours free range during the day and then normally lock them up at night, but that's mostly because we haven't clipped their wings so they are able to just fly on out. So we could always just try covering the fenced area when she starts laying again. When looking info up online, it says that muscovies lay about 3-4 clutches a year. Do you know what the average time between each clutch is? So we would know when to expect the next group if it's hidden.. And once they become broody they hardly leave their nest, right? Is it possible to move her nest if she decides to hide it or will she abandon the eggs? I would hate for her to be attacked by something because we can't lock her up at night! How do you deal with the hidden nests?

    Also, is there a temperature that's too cold for eggs to hatch, even if the mom is sitting on them (besides freezing)? And she keeps laying her eggs in the same nest, even though we are collecting them. Will she sit on an empty nest/become broody or just continue to lay and then wander off during the day? Sorry about all the questions!
     
  7. ButtaCup

    ButtaCup Out Of The Brooder

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    It is a lot of babies, but we are still captivated every time a clutch starts hatching. I don't clip my birds either, we breed for show so they can't be clipped (or at least they shouldn't be). We do have an area that is covered with poultry netting, but we keep our Sumatra chickens in it. Normally the Muscovy won't go very far if they do fly and they always come back. We have some ducks that will only lay 3 clutches a year, but I have two that lay 5 clutches. The time between clutches will depend on how dedicated a mother the duck is, but I normally take the ducklings to the baby pen at around 3-4 weeks. By that time the mother has taught them everything they can and is ready to breed again. I have had no luck moving a hidden nest, the girls won't set them once they are moved, so depending on where they have hidden them I will sometimes take the eggs to the incubator and sometimes leave them where they are. Or if you have another bird that is almost ready to set, you can move some of the eggs to her nest.

    The outside temp doesn't have a lot to do with setting, only with the eggs that aren't being set. Once the mother starts setting the eggs will be fine, but since the Muscovy only visits a nest once a day while she is laying there is a chance the eggs will freeze and crack unless you have heat lights in the laying area (which we do have in one of our coops). I have never known a Muscovy to set an empty nest, but I have used several of my girls to hatch other breeds. When they start setting I will take all of their eggs and replace them with the eggs I want hatched. I have one hen who raises a couple dozen chickens every year. Don't be sorry about the questions, that is why we all come here, to help and be helped. Bring on all the questions you want.
     
  8. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    If the eggs are freezing, your cold, i'd pull the eggs and wait till warmer weather. It's a hassle trying to do winter nests, i did one last year.. the one set in feb and hatched in March. Pain, it all worked out but i had to assist way more than warmer days hatches.

    A scovie is typically a determined broody, so i would not worry about discouraging. I often thwart nests here, they always try again... a broody scovie is like a dog with a bone. [​IMG]
     
  9. BlackChicken

    BlackChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all your help! @ButtaCup Do you keep the mother duck and her ducklings separated from the other birds?
    And @Going Quackers, when you had the ducklings in March, did you have to separate the ducklings from the mother and keep them under a heat lamp? Or was their mom's warmth enough for them to stay with her outside?
     
  10. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I shoved her and the babies into a stall in the duck barn with the lamp, the babies were not cold, she handled them SHE was cold.. just too much to keep herself going. All ended well but it sorta made it less straightforward, i mean the whole purpose of using a mama is to avoid having to do stuff like that.

    sorry she'd headless but gives you an idea.. all 4 thrived and mama is fine too.. i still actually have 3 of the 4 out of that clutch still.. but not ideal, i much prefer better weather.
    [​IMG]
     

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