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Signs Your Ducks are about to start laying?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Gone-Quackers, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Gone-Quackers

    Gone-Quackers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2015
    Des Moines, IA
    I haven't had ducks since I was a kid and although I remember the big important things there are a few things I just don't remember. Do you see any signs before your ducks start laying eggs? My hens haven't started yet and I'm wondering what signs I'll see to indicate they are close to starting. Do they suddenly increase their feed intake? Show unusual behaviors? What tells you your ducks are thinking about starting egg laying?

  2. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2014
    Round Rock, TX
    Once I get an egg I can tell they are starting to lay. Really there aren't all that many signs. They will play hop on top for a while before they start and will start to dig around in the nesting box and may sit or they might do nothing and you will find a random egg.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Mine started hop on top about a month before starting to lay. One or two made little nests here and there.
  4. Gone-Quackers

    Gone-Quackers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2015
    Des Moines, IA
    My girls discovered the nesting boxes and it looks like they had a party in them. No eggs though. Tonight I'll be cleaning out their messy quacker box before the next freeze- Sunday's high will be 1 F.
  5. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2015
    New England USA
    Mine played hop on top for almost 5 months before they started to lay. Every day seemed like it got more and more ramped up in intensity and how excited they were to head bob and flirty quack to each other. It started with my boss hen ( who has about 2 lbs on the other hens) laying flat in the water, then the boss & the 2nd biggest hen would lay flat in the water. Until all four were laying flat on the water flirty calling to each other until one decided to hop on top.
    Now when they hop on top I sometimes see two hens standing on each other standing on top of the boss hen.

    My boss hen would make the girls all go into the nest box for about an hour day each day.

    I checked obsessively from about 5 months old til Thanksgiving, Then i just gave up on looking for eggs.

    Right before Christmas I found 2 eggs in the nest box. I only found them because i fluff the bedding daily as long as temps allow.

    My smallest hen laid 2 eggs a day for 2 days. Then she settled in to one egg a day and haven't missed a day since. My second hen started laying about 1.5 -2 weeks later. I don't know who the second layer is but i suspect that it is my 2nd smallest hen.

    All the hens take a turn in the nest box. My two layers lay in the same nest every day except for the night of our Clipper snow storm. My tiny hen slept under the stars that night and laid her egg outside. Her nest was the only area in the pen that didn't have snow in it.

    Now that two hens are laying I've noticed that pecking order has changed a bit. Boss hen is still the talker forthe group but the others will butt peck her to make her move out ofthe wat. THey didn't dare do that before laying.

    So far the nesting box is staying super clean. I hope it stays that way.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
  6. Gone-Quackers

    Gone-Quackers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 21, 2015
    Des Moines, IA
    One of my hens is laying! I found several duck nests and 1 egg! [​IMG]Since it was below zero yesterday the egg froze. I found another egg at 5:35 am this morning when I went to let the ducks out. That egg is in my fridge. :) Also saw 4 nests made-- did I disturb them midlay or is it a matter of making just the right nest to lay eggs in so making several?
    Is there a way you can encourage ducks to lay early? I usually leave for work at 5:30 am and let the ducks out of their pen at that time. Any eggs laid after I leave for work will freeze. Heating the duck house wouldn't help as the ducks are determined to lay outside the hut. I put out a few small nest boxes in the yard so at least they aren't laying them on the frozen ground. I will be trying to find out if a neighbor would be willing to collect eggs for me in the mornings. I want to start hatching eggs in an incubator in a few weeks so collecting eggs when they are fresh is very important.


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