New member needing help

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by avobill, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. avobill

    avobill New Egg

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    Sep 21, 2016
    Middle Tennessee
    Howdy All,

    My wife Gaby and I have retired to a fifteen acre farm in Tennessee. We started a duck flock about six months ago. We currently have three crested and one Pekin, two of each sex. The females are good egg producers which we are thrilled by. Fresh duck eggs are quite a pleasure to us both. We typically get two to three eggs each morning in the coop. Recently we noticed that the eggs had been gathered together verses laid at random like the other mornings. We decided to leave them in and see what happens. In no time the ducks had began construction of what turned into a very impressive nest. When the egg count got to about a dozen Ethel began to sit and tend the nest. She was very attentive, coming out only for short periods of exercise, food and water. We noticed the other three also being very attentive to the nest and coop area. We did read that the hatch time is 28 days. We figured that time was up a day or two ago. Yesterday morning when I went to let them out at sunrise I noticed a rancid smell. I suspected the worse. Also, Ethel came out and did not return to the nest. When I went to check I was amazed. Overnight they had basically entombed the nest There were layers of hay on top that had been tightly packed down. I went in and began to dig out only to find all but one egg broken. I removed the nest and completely cleaned the coop out. Gaby and I were pretty disappointed as we were looking forward to the ducklings.

    With that history my questions are many;

    - what did we do wrong
    - are the males not sexually mature yet
    - would Ethel sit on non fertilized eggs

    As I stated earlier, we are completely new at this and would very much like to learn how to properly raise a flock. Any help that you can offer will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    Bill and Gaby
     
  2. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 7, 2015
    Peyton, CO
    Welcome!

    Sounds like the eggs weren't fertile. Yes, they will still sit on a nest of infertile eggs. My guess is your drakes are too young. They might be going through the motions but still need time to actually do the deed correctly.
     
  3. Strickrhonda

    Strickrhonda Just Hatched

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    Sep 20, 2016
    South Georgia
    Hi , I have Rouen ducks. After watching my ducks ,May I suggest four or five females to every drake. During mating season your drakes are gonna wear your two females out.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    [​IMG]

    Welcome!

    It could have been a number of things going on . . . the range of normal duck behavior is pretty wide.

    Now you know a little more about your ducks...next time they may behave very differently.

    Have you heard about candling eggs? I just use a Mini Mag Lite, that works well for me. That, and a quick close sniff can help you find and remove duds. Which reminds me, tomorrow I need to do that....

    And Strickrhonda makes a good point. Sometimes pairs work out, but sometimes drakes will gang up on one duck, or just overdo it. So please watch carefully for any signs like feathers missing from the back of the neck, eye injury, nervousness.... and if you see he's overdoing it, separate the girls from the boys for a while.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. avobill

    avobill New Egg

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    Sep 21, 2016
    Middle Tennessee
    Thanks all. We know that we need to get better and are working to do just that. I do agree that we need to increase our female population. The two drakes are horny little fellows for sure and can be rough at times.

    When Ethel started sitting and tending the nest fresh eggs stopped. Not just for her, but also from Lucy. And yes, the drakes are Ricky and Fred. I am trying to figure out if that is also normal, and when I can expect egg production to return. Again, prior to all of this we were getting at least two and often three eggs each morning.


    Bill
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Hormones are fascinating. And I suspect broodiness can be somewhat contagious (not exactly the right scientific word, probably). My broodies generally sit, then get over being broody, often they'll molt, then rest, then start laying again. As they age, the resting stage takes longer. And it's not consistent. Sometimes there is no molt, but an extended rest period.

    I feel the best thing I can do is provide safety, fresh water, good food, and attention.
     
  7. purslanegarden

    purslanegarden Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 10, 2016
    The duck broodiness reminds of me some young adult ladies I know, too. One got married and then suddenly several of them got married too, probably because the first one gushed about how happy she was.

    I say suddenly because in their culture, they didn't need a whole big long engagement period. They just announced to both their parents, "hey we're getting married" and then the party that announces it to the rest of the community happens within 2-4 weeks.


    I wonder if the female ducks do the same thing to each other [​IMG]


    It's great that broody ducks can do all the work but if you want to make sure you have some ducklings, which helps the flock grow without having to buy more ducks, then you could also take a few and incubate them. This shouldn't be a problem for the duck since if she sees that she didn't have enough to start sitting on them, she will lay a few more. So in that sense, it might be good to take the eggs at the beginning when you notice the nest, so that the later eggs are still close to each other in laying date.
     
  8. Strickrhonda

    Strickrhonda Just Hatched

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    Sep 20, 2016
    South Georgia
    i love your duck names! I don't think ducks lay everyday like chickens. Mine seem to have no rhyme or reason to it. One thing I have noticed is if I have a Female sitting on a nest, the other girls are chased even harder by the males because one of the team is in timeout! Lol.
     

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