Raising Winter Layers-Inherited Trait?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by carolynm, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. carolynm

    carolynm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2011
    Bailey, CO
    My flock of khakis, runners and white hybrid have disappointed me this winter. All birds are between 6 months old and 2 years old. I didn't get any eggs from Mid-Aug-to the beginning of January. I now have one laying which I believe is the white hybrid (eggs are huge-each one weighing in over 3 oz).

    Has anyone selectively bred for winter layers and had success? I was considering setting a few of this birds eggs and raising some hens from her to see if her offspring would be good winter layers, though I really don't want ducklings right now. I'm hoping her eggs might still be identifiable (since they are so large) when the others start to lay.

    So curious is winter laying a trait that is inherited?

  2. DancingWthDucks

    DancingWthDucks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2016
    Cumbria, UK
    I can't exactly awnser your question, but have you considered artificial lighting? I know quite a lot of people use it to stimulate 'spring' and keep their birds laying year round.
  3. carolynm

    carolynm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2011
    Bailey, CO
    I have tried and actually have a light on in there now. Last year it worked-within two weeks of hanging the light in January ducks started laying. I put the light in in the fall this time around and had no fall eggs. [​IMG]
  4. learycow

    learycow Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 1, 2011
    Southern Maine
    Some breeds are known to be more "seasonal" than others such as your runners. But the khakis and hybrids should be laying for you year round (minus a month or two to molt, usually in summer).

    If lighting doesn't work for you (I personally do not use lights) try changing their diets. Their bodies use up so much more in the cold. Higher protein, add fresh veggies and scraps to their daily diet to get them more nutrients since they can't forage for much in the snow.

    Also check their living conditions. Make sure they have a clean, dry coop. Fresh bedding in nesting areas usually helps kick some into gear. And add a couple golf balls to nesting areas (this can kick some into laying mode also i they think there are eggs from others there). Make sure they aren't too crowded. Sometimes adding more to the flock can make them feel crammed even if they look like they have plenty of space.

    Consider any stress they may be under. Predator visits, harsh weather... these types of things can prevent them from laying as well.

    One thing I do is raise up a batch every spring that start laying in Oct-Dec. The new layers tend to keep the older gals laying throughout most of the winter. And if the older gals want to take a break, at least you still get eggs!

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