We've had ducks (six females, one drake) for a few months now. When they were first brought to our place, they weren't laying much because it was very cold and I think also because of the shock of moving. But for awhile now they've been laying four or five eggs a day. Now the past few days, we've only been finding one or two eggs. Does anybody know why this would happen? Is this a normal change, or is it something to worry about? These are pretty happy ducks... they are given a little over an acre to forage all day long and we supplement food every night. Any knowledge about this would be greatly appreciated.
One of the ducks might be starting a nest in some area you haven't found, in hopes of raising baby ducks. The other ducks will tend to lay their eggs in this nest. This is what our turkeys did - I wondered "why aren't the turkeys laying?" - until I found a nest with a dozen eggs. They had been laying all along!
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
posted 7 years ago
First question I have to ask is what type of ducks are they? I am going to use the two representative species of ducks I know well as examples but most ducks fall between these two as far as laying goes. I also have no experience in runner type ducks however I would imagine the same basics apply. Ducks like Kakhi Campbels are considered "layer" ducks. They usually lay a lot of eggs year round and do not go broody (well they are not suposed to it can happen). Ducks like Mallards on the other hand start laying in spring and lay a clutch and it will continue if you keep gathering eggs for a while but eventually it tapers off because they are laying in order to hatch chicks and only produce so many per season. Geese have similar laying habits although I do not know of "layer" geese like there are in ducks.
You were correct in your guess in the shock of moving them disturbed the laying (assuming they are layer ducks) because it is exactly what happened with mine. When we moved it took about 2 weeks or so for them to settle in and then began laying regularly agian. It only took a day or so for my chickens so keep in mind ducks are more spooky as far as things that affect laying. One other thing that affects ducks and any fowl is when they moult they quit laying. If you have a lot of loose feathers or your ducks look bedraggled this could be the case.
BTW the hidden nest mentioned above has a lot of merit because my silly free range chickens will frequently sed us on an Easter egg hunt (hopefully before we find a batch of rotten ones) However my ducks were content to lay in the "nest" near thier house beside the pond.
All great replies - I would add one more in line with all the others: could something be scaring the ducks, like a predator, they will temporarily stop laying in that case too.
Remember if you have been removing all the eggs the ducks will get nervous, at first just moving the nest, then depending on the breed they could stop laying altogether. I always approach the nest when they are off and busy, and then I only take the oldest eggs leaving at least one or two behind so the duck doesn't get spooked.
I have only two ducks and one drake now after a fall cull. One duck I'm allowing to sit a clutch, but the other is having her eggs harvested because she is not keeping the eggs warm. I have Indian Runners which are known for not being good sitters but each spring at least one goes broody and does raise a clutch.
Acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin. This could be handy too: