Rouens and laying and sitting

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Dani27, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. Dani27

    Dani27 In the Brooder

    I'm sure something like this has come up before, but after searching for a bit I didn't find the exact question I have.

    I have two Rouen females and a hybrid Pekin/Rouen male and a hybrid Pekin/Khaki male.

    I had forgotten to remind my fiance this year that I was going to let the ducks sit (if they would) instead of incubating them myself, so on February 23rd without checking with me first he went and brought in all the eggs from their nest (they are laying together), which at that time was only 6 eggs.

    So I put them in the incubator and told him to leave any more they lay alone.

    The two females are being mated about once a week, they keep laying (still in same nest in their little private house) and without disturbing them, from outside I can count more than 20 eggs in this nest. (Two of the six in the incubator were fertilized)

    So while I know that they won't start sitting until they are satisfied instinctually with the number of eggs, and also knowing that fertile eggs are only viable for a set amount of time until they won't grow and hatch....

    here is my question....

    Now that it's been 18 days with new eggs at least every other day if not every day, how much longer do I give them before I decide they just aren't going to sit?

    Do I just have patience for a little longer?

    How much longer would I give them before pulling the eggs and incubating them myself?

    I really want my ducks to hatch and raise their own this year, but I also don't want to lose out on the opportunity of hatching them myself if I wait too long.

    I also have a Pekin male in a separate pen with two Khaki females and they are also sharing and laying in the same nest (probably around the same timeframe) and haven't started sitting either.

    So I guess my overall questions are do I just have more patience and if so, how much longer before I give up on them going broody and gather and put in the incubator? Am I too late?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Broody instinct has been bred out of many commercially available duck strains so there is a possibility that your hens may not set. 20 eggs in a nest are far more than a duck can brood and effectively keep warm. I'd remove half and mark the others. Then as fresh eggs are added to the nest I would remove the 'marked' eggs once the clutch again appeares too large. Mark the remaining 'fresh' eggs and continue the process until the hens go broody. Good luck.

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