She's laying eggs, needing answers.....

KRZY4JESUS

Hatching
Oct 18, 2018
9
2
9
I don't know much about ducks and their egg laying, and I'm having a hard time finding online answers to my specific questions, so I thought I'd try to post my questions and see if there are some experienced backyard duck owners that can answer them. We only have 2 ducks, male and female, she has laid 8 eggs, so far, we're seeing one a day. They are in a nest she's made, in their outside pen. She doesn't sit on them, yet, I've read that she won't until she's done laying.
Here are the questions:
1) I'd like to candle the eggs, but I would like to mark the ones that I can confirm are fertilized. I've tried a Sharpie, just to mark which ones were the first laid, but the dirt removed that pretty quickly. Any suggestions of what to mark them with?
2) I'm concerned about the nighttime temps we've been getting, we've been in the low 40's, and even the 30's, since she's been laying. How cold can it be before I would need to worry about the eggs? And the ducklings if/when they hatch?
3) Because I've witnessed our male mating with her, I'm pretty sure we'll have some/all fertilized eggs, I'm wondering if we'll need to step in and do anything for the ducklings because of the outside conditions we might experience here in Kansas while they're little?
4) After she had laid 6 eggs in the nest, I noticed an egg on our patio, that she must have laid during one of their outings in the backyard, but it was soft shelled, just wondering if anyone has any input on that?
5) Once they start hatching, because it's taking her weeks to lay all the eggs, will it take that long for all of them to hatch?
I think that's all the questions, so far, but I'm sure I'll think of more.
I really hope I've found a forum with some experienced fellow duck owners, that will help us become better duck owners.
Thanks, in advance, for any input.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,839
21,954
907
Southeast Louisiana
I don't have ducks but I'll respond to a couple of these.

4) After she had laid 6 eggs in the nest, I noticed an egg on our patio, that she must have laid during one of their outings in the backyard, but it was soft shelled, just wondering if anyone has any input on that?

With chickens it is possible for them to lay two eggs in a day. I'd assume ducks are similar. If a hen accidentally releases a second yolk that will go down her internal egg making factory and make an egg. But they make a limited amount of shell material. Often there is not enough shell material available to make a good shell for the second egg so it can be really thin or even soft. Why she dropped that on your patio instead of in her nest I don't know.

5) Once they start hatching, because it's taking her weeks to lay all the eggs, will it take that long for all of them to hatch?

The embryo does not take off developing when it is first laid. The time it takes to hatch starts when she starts incubating them. They should all hatch about the same time.
 

CayugaJana

Free Ranging
Sep 2, 2017
3,618
10,266
736
I don't know much about ducks and their egg laying, and I'm having a hard time finding online answers to my specific questions, so I thought I'd try to post my questions and see if there are some experienced backyard duck owners that can answer them. We only have 2 ducks, male and female, she has laid 8 eggs, so far, we're seeing one a day. They are in a nest she's made, in their outside pen. She doesn't sit on them, yet, I've read that she won't until she's done laying.
Here are the questions:
1) I'd like to candle the eggs, but I would like to mark the ones that I can confirm are fertilized. I've tried a Sharpie, just to mark which ones were the first laid, but the dirt removed that pretty quickly. Any suggestions of what to mark them with? You won’t be able to see from the outside if they are fertilized. You will have to crack it open and look. But most likely if she is mating, they are fertile. Are you wanting ducklings?
2) I'm concerned about the nighttime temps we've been getting, we've been in the low 40's, and even the 30's, since she's been laying. How cold can it be before I would need to worry about the eggs? And the ducklings if/when they hatch? If she isn’t actively setting on them, they will likely freeze and not be viable. As far as ducklings, if your Momma is a good Momma you won’t need to do anything. She will sit on them to keep them warm. But raising ducklings outdoors in the winter is not ideal.
3) Because I've witnessed our male mating with her, I'm pretty sure we'll have some/all fertilized eggs, I'm wondering if we'll need to step in and do anything for the ducklings because of the outside conditions we might experience here in Kansas while they're little?

4) After she had laid 6 eggs in the nest, I noticed an egg on our patio, that she must have laid during one of their outings in the backyard, but it was soft shelled, just wondering if anyone has any input on that? This is normal. She’s not wanting to sit yet. Which is called being broody. Once you observe their behavior you will see why they call it broody. She has to start sitting on the eggs for several days before babies start developing. If she doesn’t sit, nothing develops. I would keep track of dates because if they are in the nest too long they will rot and explode. It is so disgusting. I haven’t had trouble with sharpie on my eggs as long as it’s dry in the first place.
5) Once they start hatching, because it's taking her weeks to lay all the eggs, will it take that long for all of them to hatch? They normally lay as many eggs as they want, then they sit 24/7. It doesn’t really count as growing the eggs if she only sits an hour or two here and there. So they will grow at the same time regardless of when they were laid. Her body heat starts the growing process. It takes 28 days once she is sitting on the eggs 24/7.
I think that's all the questions, so far, but I'm sure I'll think of more.
I really hope I've found a forum with some experienced fellow duck owners, that will help us become better duck owners.
Thanks, in advance, for any input.

It’s exciting and confusing when they first lay their eggs! We’ve all been there and had to learn from scratch like you.:highfive: If you decide you want to eat the eggs, go ahead and scramble them up. They taste the exact same as unfertilized eggs. I had to convince my boys we weren’t eating ducklings when we first started eating them!:gigAlso I want you to be aware the first eggs a duck lays are not good quality eggs for hatching. Her body is still figuring everything out and it normally lacks important components and the size of the egg is too small. So don’t be disappointed if they don’t turn into ducklings. Welcome to BYC!!!!
 

KRZY4JESUS

Hatching
Oct 18, 2018
9
2
9
I don't have ducks but I'll respond to a couple of these.

4) After she had laid 6 eggs in the nest, I noticed an egg on our patio, that she must have laid during one of their outings in the backyard, but it was soft shelled, just wondering if anyone has any input on that?

With chickens it is possible for them to lay two eggs in a day. I'd assume ducks are similar. If a hen accidentally releases a second yolk that will go down her internal egg making factory and make an egg. But they make a limited amount of shell material. Often there is not enough shell material available to make a good shell for the second egg so it can be really thin or even soft. Why she dropped that on your patio instead of in her nest I don't know.

5) Once they start hatching, because it's taking her weeks to lay all the eggs, will it take that long for all of them to hatch?

The embryo does not take off developing when it is first laid. The time it takes to hatch starts when she starts incubating them. They should all hatch about the same time.
Thanks for your input, very helpful!!
 

KRZY4JESUS

Hatching
Oct 18, 2018
9
2
9
So, do I understand you, that I can't candle the eggs and see if they're fertilized?
I have not seen her doing any sitting on them during the day, not sure if she's sitting on them at night, guess I better check on that. I wasn't sure about them surviving, in the egg at the cold night temps. I wondered if we'd need to bring them inside, if any hatch, during the colder months, but I would assume that would mean momma too? Which would also mean daddy, they're joined at the hip. If that's the case, I'll really have to start thinking how that's going to happen. Is it possible to make it warm enough in their outside pen? We've got some warming mats and lamps we were going to try. My hubby has chickens and pigeons in a large aviary that he built, so we've got to keep them warm this winter.
All your other answers have been very helpful, thanks very much!!
 

CayugaJana

Free Ranging
Sep 2, 2017
3,618
10,266
736
So, do I understand you, that I can't candle the eggs and see if they're fertilized?
I have not seen her doing any sitting on them during the day, not sure if she's sitting on them at night, guess I better check on that. I wasn't sure about them surviving, in the egg at the cold night temps. I wondered if we'd need to bring them inside, if any hatch, during the colder months, but I would assume that would mean momma too? Which would also mean daddy, they're joined at the hip. If that's the case, I'll really have to start thinking how that's going to happen. Is it possible to make it warm enough in their outside pen? We've got some warming mats and lamps we were going to try. My hubby has chickens and pigeons in a large aviary that he built, so we've got to keep them warm this winter.
All your other answers have been very helpful, thanks very much!!
Yes that is correct. You can only see if they are fertilized once the mom has sat 24/7 for about a week. Other than that, you would have to crack them open and look for a certain spot on the eggs.

Do you have an incubator? It would be waaay easier than bringing full grown ducks into the house. They are so messy and stink to high heaven once indoors.:gig

You could put a heat lamp somewhat near her nest. That would keep them from freezing and cracking the shell open. But I wouldn’t keep it very close. Just enough so the eggs don’t freeze. But she may very well not sit on any eggs until spring time.
 

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