My ducks are making me pull my hair out.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Pinx, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Pinx

    Pinx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2011
    Amarillo, Texas
    I have 3 black Cayuga hens and 1 black Cayuga drake. 1 hen is a year and a half and the rest are just over 6 months old.

    I still haven't had any eggs from my 2 younger girls. When do they start laying? I didn't pay much attention as to when my older girl started laying.

    Next question that sort of ties in to the first. I buried a horse tank, (one of the big round ones) in my back yard out by the duck pen. When we first put it in the ducks would run straight to it every day and splash, play, dive etc forever. We have about 7 fairly big gold fish in it (5-6 inches long) and I think they spent most of their time trying to catch the fish. They played in it for 3-4 months and one day they didn't run straight to it when they were let out in the morning. They haven't been in it in a month or two. You can't make them get in the water. I don't know what changed. Any suggestions?

    Since they won't get in their huge pool... we dug out a hole in their run and fill it up with water. They "swim" around in that all day or in a small round kiddie pool they have in the run, but you can't make them get in the big tank in the ground. The drake tries to cover the girls in the small bodies of water but I don't think he is making any progress cause they aren't deep enough. How deep of water do they need?

    My older girl... well she won't get in the water at all. Period... she thinks she is a chicken and sticks close to the rooster regardless of where the other ducks go.

    It is just one thing after another with them. I've never had ducks before so I thought I would come here and get the scoop.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    Welcome to the Duck Forum! [​IMG]

    There is probably something going on that you may not see, so I ask for your patience as we try to unfold this thing.

    What is their feed?

    What supplements or treats do they get?

    Is there any vegetation in their area?

    Do they free range?

    Where do they sleep at night?

    What is the maintenance program for the sunken black trough? Do you add things to the water?

    Could you upload photo's of the ducks? (this is at least halfway because we all love to see duck pics)

    Do the new girls quack loudly?
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2012
  3. Pinx

    Pinx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2011
    Amarillo, Texas
    I would have to go look at the bag to tell you what I feed them. I know that sounds weird but I haven't bought feed in a long time, I have my husband pick it up on his way home from work.

    The only treats they get are fruits and such frozen in ice to try to help on the really hot days. The most common is Watermelon.

    They have their pen eaten down to dirt so there is no vegetation on the inside that they can get to.

    I let them out during the day to "free range" the back yard. There is plenty of grass etc for them to eat.

    They sleep inside their coop. Which is about 20' x 10' on the inside, concrete floor covered in shavings or like right now hay preparing for the cooler nights. There are boxes for them to get in but they prefer to sleep beside the boxes all together.

    The tank is blue (incase it matters) and I don't put anything in it. The fish do an ok job but I let it over flow almost daily to clear out a lot of the green. I plan on adding a filtration system... but not if they refuse to get in it, I'll just take the whole thing out of the ground.

    My girls do quack loudly, all 3 of the girls have a completely different quack then my drake. Which clearly has his drake feathers in. I have had all of them since they were ducklings... so they aren't completely knew just younger then my other duck lol.

    If you have any more questions or suggestions let me know.

    They are hatchery stock but I still love them.

    My drake in the middle with the girls on each side.

    [​IMG]
    Drake
    [​IMG]
    Drake
    [​IMG]
    The 2 younger girls
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Thanks for the details! [​IMG]

    It could be that they are late bloomers, but I will share my thoughts. Nothing jumps out at me about the situation at this point.

    Check the label, see if it is layer or grower/maintenance. Ducks seem to have different abilities to absorb calcium, so even if it is layer feed, the ducks may need more calcium. Since you have a drake (and duck people are not unanimous about this) the grower/maintenance feed would be better, with free choice oyster shell on the side. Based on my research, too much calcium puts a strain on internal organs for non-laying ducks and drakes and that becomes longer term health issues.

    Not enough calcium for layers puts a strain on bones, cardiovascular and nervous systems, and increases the potential for egg binding.

    I have found that access to leafy green stuff seems (haven't gotten scientific about it) to improve laying. I grow lettuce in pots and let leafy greens grow on the outside edge of fences so the ducks can snag some of that any time they wish. I also toss dandelion, chickweed and other healthy green "weeds" into the duck pen and duck water.

    If your older girl is laying, it may just be that these two as I wrote earlier are a little slow to mature. You could give them some poultry vitamins to make sure they are getting what they need. The egg laying system seems to be the last one to mature, so even once ducks are full size or near to it, they are still growing inside for a while (a few months or more).

    Hope these ideas help. Beautiful ducks!!!!

    Almost forgot . . . their hesitation around the water, I feel, is probably because they got scared in there. Could be the drake mounted them and nearly drowned them. That can happen. Drakes apparently don't treat all ducks the same, from what I read on the forum. So you might want to watch him and see how it goes with the younger ducks. Something else could have scared them, too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  5. zooweemama

    zooweemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    That is what we do- maintenance with oyster shell. Regarding the tank- have you ever dredged the bottom of the tank (or can you SEE the bottom of it?)? Ducks can and will lay eggs in water. (all kinds of posts on BYC people dredging their ponds to find hundreds of old eggs lol) My ducks were doing that and I finally started keeping them in their coop until 10am and low and behold...eggs! Silly ducks. They are now laying most of their eggs in the coop by 8am. I guess they want to go outside earlier. ;)

    I do agree the ducks seem almost spooked so maybe something happened in there. I would recommend a good cleaning though- drain it, scrub it and scoop out any gunk or eggs that have sunk to the bottom and make sure nothing icky is in there to eliminate the possibility of them finding the water too dirty? My ducks even have a standard- when they were still doing kiddie pools if the water got too dirty or even warm...they refused to get in. Maybe my ducks are weird though!

    After you clean it up- try tossing some chopped kale or dandelion greens onto the surface of the fresh water. Ducks love bobbing for goodies and if their aversion is not fear related - they will likely hop right in to clean up the goodies.
     
  6. Pinx

    Pinx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2011
    Amarillo, Texas
    Ok thanks guys. My first thought was that something scared them but I figured that they would be over it by now. Then I thought the water was too warm so I let the water hose run in it for hours, felt it and it was cold but they still didn't want any part of it. The drake is the same age as the younger girls and I have never seen him mount the older duck. He doesn't seem rough with them but it sure takes him forever. I also have never seen him mount the girls in the big trough... I have a dog problem so I watch them the whole time they are out just in case the dogs show up.

    I haven't cleaned the bottom though, because my older girl was laying consistently early in the morning before they were let out. So maybe she slipped a couple by me.
     
  7. zooweemama

    zooweemama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yay if you don't have a water layer. LOL I suspect I still have a duck or 2 that likes to plop them in the pond. I have 24 and 21 week old ducks and only getting 4 eggs a day (have 11 ducks)- maybe some aren't laying yet.

    If they aren't laying in the water and the water is cool and clean and their food and calcium is sufficient- maybe fear for the water. As to the laying - is it possible they have a stash somewhere? I have searched high and low for mine...and could just be that they aren't yet read to lay. I have 3 female ducks at 24 weeks old and 8 ducks at 21 weeks and only 4 eggs a day. So only a few ducks are laying. 1 layer is one of the 24 weekers the other 3 appear to be 3 of the 21 weekers. So not all my 24 weekers are laying yet.
     
  8. Pinx

    Pinx Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2011
    Amarillo, Texas
    They don't have a stash anywhere. There aren't many hiding spots in their coop and run and they don't venture but maybe 20feet away from their run when I let them out in the yard. Which is all grass a couple of trees and a pond they won't get in lol.
     
  9. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northern Wisconsin
    Might be just the climate heat, cold all this can cause slow egg production just like chickens. For the tank it might be time to clean the entire thing you might have a turtle or something that has decided to make its home there....
     
  10. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

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    Dark water can become scary. If the tank is dark, that can explain aversion. If a snapping turtle has found home there, then YIKES!
     

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