young ducks and short days

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by hfchristy, Sep 14, 2012.

  1. hfchristy

    hfchristy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2012
    We have a bantam/Cayuga-Swedish duck who has been exhibiting mating behaviors for a good month now, and still no eggs. She seems young still (17 weeks) but since light-weight ducks typically reach maturity sooner than heavy breeds, I was guessing that maybe the bantam genes were pushing things even earlier. She's been seriously soliciting the attentions of the guys for quite some time.
    Today, my husband asked whether I thought that the shorter days might be the reason that she's not laying, and we shouldn't expect anything until spring. I'm tempted to give just a little extra light now to see whether that might be the case. We also don't always get them outside right away in the morning, and there's not much light in the garage, so it's possible that they may be experiencing even shorter "days" than are actually happening.

    Are days right now short enough to prevent a duck from starting to lay, even if ducks who are already laying would continue to?
    Or should we keep hoping that there might be an egg soon? I think I'll go nuts wondering whether she's gotten any of the black-egg genes if I have to wait until spring!

    Christy
     
  2. hfchristy

    hfchristy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2012
    How many hours of light do ducks need to lay eggs anyway? And at what point in the day is it "light"? I'm not sure whether early morning/evening hours count. And if it's rainy and overcast for days on end, how does that play into things?

    I've read a lot of posts against using artificial lights, but not seen anything more than "their bodies need a break" to explain why this is so bad. I understand that forcing them to lay year round with no break would be a bad idea, but when I was looking into getting ducks, I saw numbers like "250 eggs per year" and assuming only one egg per day, that's still nearly 3/4 of the year, and if the 14 hours of light that I thought I remembered is right, then I don't see how that's possible - isn't the equinox when the days and nights are each 12 hours, and aren't those six months apart?

    I had hoped to supplement their light to stretch the season through fall, anyway, then give them the winter off, but it looks like most people are against that, even. I'd like to understand why.

    Thanks!
     
  3. Ana Tidae

    Ana Tidae Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2012
    My late spring and summer hatch ducks usually don't start laying until around the winter solstice, but I don't think they are as sensitive about daylight as chickens are. My older ducks just finished their molt and started laying again. They will lay all winter, no matter how short the days.
     
  4. hfchristy

    hfchristy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2012
    Wow - really? Someone else just posted in another thread that theirs stop around October.
    Where do you live? Maybe it's different farther south? I'm in NY.
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    My runners have had a different schedule each year. They are two and a half years old. Their first year they laid right through winter, so for about 16 months we got eggs from them. Then they took two or three months off, and started up again.

    They slowed down in mid to late August this year, and right now we are getting two or three eggs a day from ten ducks.

    They started laying between 16 weeks, 4 days for the earliest girl, to about 22 weeks for the last one on board. They hatched in February.
     
  6. hfchristy

    hfchristy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 10, 2012
    Thanks - I think you're probably a similar latitude to me, too.
    So, they need a break sometime, but not necessarily winter? And this was all without any extra light?
    I think we need to get a light out there anyway, just because it's hard enough to convince them to go into their new house when they can see where they're going, and when it's dark you can just forget it. And when it's dusk outside, it's dark in there. Had to bring them a flashlight last night.
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    My runners hate total dark. My buff seems to like it dark at night.

    So we have a little bit of light, and some places where there are shadows, and the buff snuggles herself into dark corners.

    Something I found works nicely in the outdoor pen is solar rope lights. They provide just a little bit of LED light, but it's not bright.
     

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