What do you do with ducks no longer laying well?

zooweemama

Songster
7 Years
Apr 17, 2012
3,855
76
213
Far Northern California
We have tentatively chosen ducks for our egg layers. It looks like molting can last a few months = no eggs. The only way around that, that I see is to annually add a few new ladies to our flock. But after a couple years...that's a lot of ducks! After just a few years we could have 30 ducks- that's a little too many mouths to feed and feathers to house. I read the average life span is about 10 years for a duck- what has your experience been? What do you do with your ducks that are no longer laying well/or at all? Especially for those who have a flock of 15+? I think Max we could handle 20 but anymore and I would struggle to feed/water and clean up after than many ducks. Do you re-home them? Do you find that an easy or difficult task?

My other option is actually to have a few chickens instead to help offset molting... so we can still have a fresh supply of eggs but I know chickens do not lay as well during molt or cold weather...so...ahhhh! lol
 
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mnferalkitty

Songster
7 Years
May 17, 2012
1,386
27
131
Minnesota
I am in MN and I get eggs all year round even on the coldest days and my coops are not insulated nor heated, my best layers in cold weather are red sexlink and wyandotte as far as molting I have chickens of various ages and they don't all molt at the same time. You can re-home what you don't want anymore I just put an ad and I am honest about age etc. instead of asking for $ I ask for a trade that would benefit my flock I have gotten a broody hen, chicken feed, food scraps etc.
 
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FireTigeris

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
10 Years
Nov 22, 2009
5,037
74
296
Jacksonville, FL - Arligton-
Chickens moult also, and I've only had one broody duck, some of my chicken hens are broody all the time- I have both chickens and ducks.

I made a deal with my birds, they stay their whole life as the provide me with eggs and entertainment, now just entertainment.

The only birds that don't stay are human aggressive (roosters), I have 3 different places that will take them from me, one needs them to add to a large free range flock, one who uses them for food, and another who likes new "yard art" every couple years or so and prefers roosters that may not be super fertile but still roosters (so he has a lower chance of chicks).

Rehoming an unproductive duck that is not human imprinted or super friendly is going to be a supper or a training bird for bird dogs... Human imprinted ducks or super friendly ducks follow humans around can be more safely rehomed as pets.

This is something everyone has to decide, my personal preference is to keep them, I have three hens that never lay, two that give one or two a month. I have two seven year olds and 5 five year olds at the moment.
 

zooweemama

Songster
7 Years
Apr 17, 2012
3,855
76
213
Far Northern California
Yes, buying eggs is an option but I'd prefer not to but I can. I want to be self-sufficient in the egg department. The less I go to and spend at the grocery store- the happier I will be. We will likely have gotten attached to most of the ducks- so I think re-homing would be stressful. What I cannot do is have 10 unlaying females that I feed and little room for new laying ducks because there are so many of the older ones not being productive.

I am also a little bummed that out of the 12 straight run ducks we originally bought (granted we lost 3 in the early weeks)- we ended up with 3 females at the end of it all. So we have 11 female ducks to lay and I really wanted closer to 15.

I think we will add some chickens. I think that would all around solve our dilemma. And it wouldn't stress the flock out. They are already annoyed with having to deal with the 3 week old babies. LOL

I think 4 good layer chickens with augment my duck numbers? I know a rooster is not necessary but is it beneficial to the well being/safety of the hens to have one around?
 

DuckLover3

Chirping
7 Years
Feb 16, 2012
149
2
91
Marlborough, CT
my friend likes to have a rooster to keep the chickens safe, but do you have them free-run, or in a coop? If they're in a good coop, I don't think it's necessary.
 

zooweemama

Songster
7 Years
Apr 17, 2012
3,855
76
213
Far Northern California
We'd likely free range during the day (just like we will with the ducks) and coop them at night. I am a strange one and oddly adore the cock-a-doodle-doo in the morning. Maybe for that sound alone I might get a roo. hehe Our closest neighbor has goats and chickens (and a roo) so their place is 100x noisier than ours right now. ha!
 

CelticOaksFarm

Family owned, family run
10 Years
Sep 7, 2009
12,307
279
323
Florida - Space Coast
11 laying ducks in prime condition and season will give you 11 eggs a day. 11x7= 77 a week give or take. How many eggs do you really use in a week? If you aren't using them do you have a market for duck eggs? Not everyone will eat duck eggs, some people swear they taste funny.
 
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zooweemama

Songster
7 Years
Apr 17, 2012
3,855
76
213
Far Northern California
11 laying ducks in prime condition and season will give you 11 eggs a day. 11x7= 77 a week give or take. How many eggs do you really use in a week? If you aren't using them do you have a market for duck eggs? Not everyone will eat duck eggs, some people swear they taste funny.
We consume about 2 dozen eggs a week. Sometimes more if I have a baking frenzy. I actually have friends lined up (city folk who are natural nuts like me, that cannot afford full priced free range from the store, and cannot keep any livestock of their own, who will be buying my excess and this was planned to help pay for feed. Our intention is to break even with food expenses.) to buy the eggs. My friends are the farmers market type that were already ready buying the fresh duck, goose and chicken eggs. I have a few foodie friends that love to cook and bake and grew up eating ducks eggs (their grammas had them) and now cannot wait for mine to lay. We will also use the eggs to barter for things...other locals with goats milk etc. A lot of thought and planning went into it. We also plan on reducing our meat consumption so our egg consumption will increase when they start laying. I feed 7 (3 adults, 2 growing boys and 2 girls and the toddler could easily 2-3 eggs a day if I let her)...One dinner will cost us a 6 to 14 eggs depending on what I am making (scrambled eggs I often use about 14 eggs in one pop). Not to mention if I make muffins and cookies that day. So we will likely use at least 24-30 eggs a week on average for ourselves alone. Leaving us possibly that amount to sell or barter. The Summer months we also 'entertain' a lot aka BBQs lmbo. A lot of deviled eggs and salads so our egg consumption that time of year will be in absolute overdrive.
 

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