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Stopped laying eggs in May.

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I have Giant Perkins.  Most were hatched last spring.  I have 6 females and usually get between 2 and 5 eggs a day.  This spring, ever since I cleaned their hutch, they have stopped laying.  It was a long cold winter and the hutch needed a good cleaning!  They are fed grower with a bit of chicken layer, brewers yeast and fresh greens daily.  That is their diet year round.  They had a heat lamp all winter - so my first thought was a change in light levels - so I put a light back in the hutch but it didn't help.  They are let out at 6am and locked up at dark - same routine year round.  They are used to dogs near their run and aren't afraid of them.  We have no predators.  They have pools and buckets of water.  They have killed every living planet in their run so I throw in fresh handout grass and greens for them.  They are spoiled ducks.  Any idea why they aren't laying? Do they really miss the layers of bedding that accumulated in the hutch over the winter that much? I put a light layer of fresh shavings in the hutch daily and clean it out completely weekly.  They have a big snow sled saucer that I fill with shavings that the like to sit in, in the hutch.  Any suggestions?
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Here's a few things to look for:

  • Are they laying somewhere else? It's broody time for my ducks, and they're all trying to hide their eggs and hatch them. If you moved aorund their bedding, they might have abandoned laying in their coop and might be laying under a bush somewhere. Don't let them out until 10:00am, and then watch where they go. Most ducks will have laid by 9:00am, but a few stubbornly broody ones will hold thier eggs until they can get to their nest.
  • They might be molting. While molting, there's less energy for egg production. If there's lots of little feathers around, they're molting.
  • Ducks--especially breeds that aren't especially bred for egg production--usually lay really well in the beginning of spring, and then decrease the amount they lay. At least mine do.
  • They might be underfed. I accidently underfed mine for a while, thinking that they had so much to forage, and not knowing what a healthy weight of a duck was. If they have food left over at the end of the day, you don't have to worry about that.
  • They might be too fat. I've read that production can go down if the duck is overweight. Maybe don't give them access to their food all day, but only feed them once a day?
  • They might need more calcium. Ducks use a lot more than chickens do, as their eggshells are thicker. They might need more than is in their layer feed. Crush up old egg shells &/or supplement with oyster shell. Put the shells in another container so they can eat it if they need it. One neat thing about giving them their calcium that way, is that you can sometimes tell who's laying. I found that whatever ducks laid during the night, were the ones rushing to the oyster shell after they ate. If they weren't laying, they didn't eat oyster shell.

  • I do deep litter bedding for my ducks, and it works great. I just turn the bedding with a pitch fork every other day, and sprinkle fresh bedding on top when it looks poopy, It works great, and there's no smell, and then I use the bedding around my fruit trees!
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