I recently finally got some khaki cambell ducks after wanting them for a few years but not wanting to pay the high price from a hatchery. I have 4 hens an 1 Drake in with my young laying hens I fill a kid pool for them everyday and currently they are laying 3 eggs in the nesting box. I got them young just starting to lay from a larger scale farm that sold 30 of them at once so they are beyond skiddish an don't let me get even close to them i have to lock the door when I'm in so they don't push it open an since I usually like to let my chickens free range this is a concern as they probably will not stick around if I let them out I have a small stream nearby. I was thinking of just hatching out new an starting them from eggs so they are better used to people.
How do I know if my eggs are fertilized without incubating them for a week to check? I don't want to put some in only as a test but I don't want to save up a weeks worth of eggs to only find out they aren't going to hatch as they are currently my best profit and are helping pay for feed.
You can't really tell until they are incubated, but theoreticaly the white spot in the yolk should be a ring in a fertilised egg and a dot in an unfertilised egg. I cannot tell the difference, and my duck hatched everything she sat on so they most certainly were fertile!
Khaki campbell ducks are naturally skittish and may never be friendly. They will probably always keep their distance. There are other breeds that are less skittish and those are the ones you see people holding or hand feeding.
The good news is that if you stick to a similar routine each day, they will adapt to your routine after a few days. What we found that helps is to have a consistent voice call when you feed them or move them. Something as simple as her duck duck duck! Use it a bunch and they will recognize that they get fed after that call and typically come running. It might take a week before they adapt.
Once your drake is mature enough, which should happen about the same time as the females start laying - pretty much all the eggs are fertilized. Especially with your tiny flock. The sperm can live in the female for about a week making all eggs fertilized during that week. So even if they only mate sporadically all the eggs should be fertilized.
I've hand raised tons of ducks and they've never been that fond of me. They'll come up to get food but if I try to grab them they're OFF. I don't know that I've ever met a super friendly duck. I know they're out there, but I haven't ever met one.
My drake to hen hatching is amazingly unbalanced. Somehow it's always twice as many drakes as hens. So if you're hatching I hope you're ready to start killing off drakes.
I don't really need them to be friendly enough to handle just don't want them to go crazy flying around the coop every time I walk near them. I just want to get some to the point of calm I guess. I love my chickens but they do a terrible number on anything garden or flower bed related so figured ducks with them might be a nice Balance and as I said I can sell thier eggs as we're chicken eggs are so over saturated you can get 50dozen for .50 cent a dozen at the livestock market.
I know when my hens were fertilized there was a small black dot on the yoke I didn't know if this was something I could see when using some of my eggs for cooking. I just kid of want to increase my flock I like the eggs.
To help calm the ducks: Feed them and sit by them. Be super still. Don't make quick movements or eye contact. Kind of look away if you can. Eye contact tends to freak them out if they're already nervouse. Try and sit by them while they eat for 5 or more minutes a day.
When you need to herd them, move slow and keep your face slightly turned away. Don't scare them to round them up unless absolutely necessary (make that mistake with my first ducks, and it took a long time for them to trust me again).
Routine is also really helpful. Singing a song is also really helpful too, when you feed them.
I think you can tell if an egg is developing at 3 days--it has little veins visible in the yoke when candling, though I don't know if that's contingent upon it being fertilized or not...