Nov 3, 2020
Lmk if this should be posted somewhere else! :)
Context: I own two female ducks, one (Shortcake) a khaki campbell and the other one (Muddy) I believe a khaki campbell and rouen mix (her feathers are almost exactly like a rouen except without the patterning around the head, and as a duckling she looked like a khaki campbell if slightly more yellow, but with very faint tan markings consistent with that of a rouen duckling). They have both been laying 3.5 months now, healthy eggs, once a day (Muddy occasionally missed a day at the beginning, but less than a month into laying began laying consistently daily).
Issue: But now, for a few days, now one of them has not been laying eggs.
When I discovered only one egg in their nest, (they always sleep side-by-side or very nearby to each other, so they lay eggs in the same spot; thus, this was unusual) I took a few steps to try to figure out what was happening.
First, I checked around for another egg. There are no hiding spots for a secret nest except for buried in the straw, and I found no second egg.
Second, I tried to see if it was possible that a predator had snatched an egg. At night, I keep them in a closed area, so I checked the exits and found it unlikely, but not impossible, that a ferret snatched an egg. Plus, the ducks were fine, and there was still one egg.
Then, I checked both ducks to see if they were eggbound. Both are pooping fine, vents look fine, neither's abdomen was bulging and I couldn't feel any tough spots.
Then I checked to see if either looked sick or injured. They look perfectly healthy. As far as weight goes, they haven't put on or lost any significantly and their eyes/ears/nose/mouth are clear. They're walking fine, flying fine, quacking fine, pooping fine. Vent fine, feathers fine-- they're not molting or pulling feathers.
They're not stressed, either-- both have casual and friendly behavior 24/7, as they were very socialized as ducklings. They're not scared of me, of my family members, or even of the dog-- they do get quite frightened when I move the rake or shovel, though. They feel safe enough to often nap with both their eyes closed, sometimes with their head tucked under their wings. Anyway, they're so comfortable in their environment that I sometimes question if they would know to run if a fox showed up.
I figured maybe one of them, probably Muddy, was simply having an off-day, so giving them a clean bill of health, I decided to wait tomorrow, figuring that there would probably be two eggs then.
There was not.
It has been maybe a week now, and they're still only producing one egg.
As far as I can understand, this is an unusual case-- all my google searches have suggested explanations that I see as impossible considering my ducks' appearances and behaviors. Thus, I have little hope for an explanation. But if you know something, feel free to offer your two cents:
1: Should I separate them for two nights or so to see which of them is not laying? Although it might help me know which of them specifically to inspect, they are best friends, and always sleep side-by-side or very near each other, so I'm hesitant to do this, as it might stress them out and make matters worse.
2: Do you know what could be causing one of them to stop laying their eggs? All possible causes seem unlikely to me.
laying eggs daily isn’t healthy for ducks, and it’s good and completely normal for them to take breaks. right now only one of my girls is laying most days (not that i care, my ducks are pets and we don’t use their eggs) and the older girl is not
How old are your ducks? what are you feeding them? Just as fatty and friends said they have to take breaks if they didn't all their calcium reserves would be used up in no time.
I have 8 females, and 'only' get 3-4 eggs on average a day. From everything I've read and learned, they aren't going to lay every day.
When my Runners began laying they laid non stop for 18 months I was getting really worried about them an relieved when they finally took a break. Now that they are 5 yr old I might get 2-4 eggs a day for the most part, a few times they surprised me and all 8 laid in one day but that is few and far between now. Maybe one time this year. My Muscovy are 9-10 yrs old and still lay an egg once in a while when they aren’t broody:hmm
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laying eggs daily isn’t healthy for ducks, and it’s good and completely normal for them to take breaks. right now only one of my girls is laying most days (not that i care, my ducks are pets and we don’t use their eggs) and the older girl is not
Thanks for letting me know!
Seems they shouldn't have even been laying every day, so I'm glad these girls are laying less frequently if it means they're taking breaks.
I'm not sure where you live, but if it's in the northern hemisphere the heat of summer can cause stress that changes egg laying habits. While ducks won't lay 365 days per year, for your breed it is common to get an egg a day, especially for the first 6-12 months. You are right to be concerned and I would keep an eye on them, especially looking for an odd egg like a softshell especially if it is hot out.

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