My first batch of golden 300 hybrids: The good,the bad and the ugly


In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 21, 2014
So, I had been raising Muscovy successfully for 2 years and wanted larger commercial production. Hrnce, on April 2 I received my first batch of layer 300's, 135 female and 135 male. Did not really want the males so much, but the boss felt, and correctly so that they would have commercial value as meat in the $20-30//duck range (my male muscovies fetch $50-75 as a meat bird). My duck farm is in the high desert about an hour east of San Diego and it can and usually does snow at least once in late April but It had been unusually warm in San Diego for several months plus I was getting nationwide calls for shipping of duck eggs so I went for the earliest possible delivery date as of 1 February, which was 2 April. As Murphy's law would have it, it actually snowed the morning of arrival. The only cold day that week. As it was all arrived from Metzer alive and well. My brooding building only has a recommended capacity of 200, and here I was getting 270. I lost 8 the first day, but it leveled off as it got warmer. Then the trouble started. As of week 4, I still had losses less than 25, but the ducklings seemed exceedingly hyper, I found that a good 20% were going blind, or were already blind. By May 15, I opened up the box hatches and they could come in and out as they pleased. I was still finding them to be a very fragile duck. I was feeding them gamebird mash and it was common for one to choke to death on feed per day. By the time I moved them into they separate field, I only had 110 each remaining. I have an owl attack about every 4 days and find one dead missing it's head and neck in an enclosure with 10 high sides and electrified. I have a pattern of some type of illness: they act happy and content, preen, wag their tails, but stop eating 1 or 2 at a time, they still drink plenty, but die about 3 days later. I feed them gamebird crumbles, alfalfa flakes and water softened soaked wheat kernels. They are still very spastic. Today, around 1 PM saw a female taking alfalfa strands and building a nest with it, all happy, energetic, wagging her tail, at 4PM she was on her nest in a sitting position, dead. I did get my first egg right on time at week 18 to the day, but here I am 5 weeks later and still only getting 20% lay.

I have raised small (10-15)batches of khaki campbells, rouens and runners in the past with little mortality. I had another duck farmer visit and claim he had never seen such large evidence of inbreeding in a flock. Really makes me wonder. Now to be fair, I have had unusually high mortality with the muscovies as well, and it seems most common with the heaviest layers. I have tried mineral blocks and some oyster shell in the event that there was a calcium depletion involved with the egg laying, but at this point,if I get another batch next year,it's going to be khakis.

I'm just sad.

From what I read they are a mix of 2 different duck breeds - first generation. They do not breed true and the offspring of golden 300 are not suppose to produce as many eggs. I believe they call it hybrid vigor. Could some of your food have gone bad. Mold? Losing half your flock is really awful. Maybe the overcrowding caused too much stress and weakened their immune systems.

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