New Owner of a small flock of runner ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ginnie, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. ginnie

    ginnie Hatching

    Aug 22, 2011
    Hi everyone.

    I just found your site and it's amazing! I have been reading many of your posts and looking at lots of duck pictures. My husband and I received our first flock of runner ducks from metzer farms last fall and due to a short in an electrical cord for thier heater we lost them all in a fire. we were devestated to say the least.

    however, this spring on April 4th our new babies arrived from metzer farms. we ordered a mix of runner ducks. we originally had 10 but lost 3 unknown why they died. our 7 remaining are beautiful and healthy. we have 1 chocolate male, 1 choc. female, 1 fawn female, 3 black females 1 blue female. they are so much fun to watch and interact with. they have such personalities. they have free run of our front fenced in yard with a pool, a garden trees and much more. we live in Arizona so they will have year round good weather.

    they have started laying eggs and i have some questions i am hoping some of you may be able to answer. my husband built a wonderful nesting box with individual spaces for each duck but they won't even go near it. we have found 2 nests cradled in different areas of the yard, safe from trouble and well hidden. one nest has 19 eggs in it as of this morning and the other has 5. my questions are these:
    1) the larger nest has so many eggs and we didn't find it until it already had 14 eggs in it (well hidden) i don't know which eggs are oldest and the runner mom doesn't sit on them all of the time. How will I know if these are going to hatch and how long should i wait? will they all hatch around the same time or will the older ones come first?

    2) the second nest is located in the garden under some plants in some nice thick grass, my worry is the watering of the garden, will this affect the eggs? i am afraid to move them because they had laid some eggs earlier and i moved them and they never went near them again.

    3) the eggs in the larger nest are all different sizes from one that is 1/2 the size of a chicken egg to one that is almost double the size of a chicken egg and they are all different colors, does this mean that more than one duck is laying eggs in this nest?

    4) i know runners aren't the best brooders and i really don't have the equipt or the desire to make an incubator what are the chances of survival for the eggs?

    thank you in advance for any help you can give, we are so excited for new babies!! we hope there are some fertile eggs in the bunch we have seen the male mating with some of the females so we are keeping our fingers crossed.

  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    I also had Metzer runners. Not a ton of experience but here goes.
    I recently had ducklings hatch, 1 runner sat on the next but 3 hens had lain eggs in it.

    1. 14 is probably alot for one runner but more than 1 may be laying in the nest. No they may not hatch at the same time. If eggs are lain after a hen starts to set they will be delayed.
    2. The water may have an effect, not sure but I would not think so. You aren't watering 24 hours a day and they would be okay in rain. If you move them again the hens will probably reject them again.
    3. With the colors of your females: black and blue lay green eggs, fawn lay white, not sure of chocolate. If there are any eggs that are extra large or extra small, remove them from the nest. There is more than 1 female laying in this nest.
    4. Runners are not suppossed to be good setters. My blue female was a WONDERFUL mom. She sat for 4 days after the first egg hatched. Very protective of her babies.

    Basically, a hen will start to set when SHE has lain enough eggs that she is comfortable setting. You may not end up with anyone who goes broody. I would give it another week or two and then think about removing eggs if nobody is setting. My blue female has to be physically removed from the nest to eat and poop daily. She would NOT leave her eggs and she was seperated.
    Make sure that the nests are in secure areas. Hidden from you does not mean hidden from predators. Remember that the hen and eggs will be there 24 hours a day for almost one month. Don't risk your hen for potential ducklings. Your hens are young so they may not be fertile yet. If you are not 100% about security, set aside a safe area for a nest, I used a bottomless small dog crate, dug a bit of a crater in it and put an egg there. They started laying and that is techinically where the babies hatched ( I removed the small crate and placed fencing around her and the nest )

    One bit of advice, before allowing this many eggs to be incubated, know what you are going to do with them when they hatch. I removed some older eggs from mine and left her with 15 Of which 11 hatched!! 1 with help from me. I did not think that this many would hatch as she was not really able to cover them all at all times. The ducklings are almost 7 weeks old, I still have 8 ducklings to rehome and no local takers. Have a plan! I wish I had.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

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