Ducks start laying eggs at about five to six months old and continue to lay for several years. Even though all of the duck eggs in the nest, called a clutch, hatch at the same time, the hen starts spending increasing amounts of time on the nest from the laying of the first egg. The Definitive List of Chicken Treats: What Can Chickens Eat? Egg production and overall performance is best if breeding ducks are housed together in groups no bigger than 250 birds. Those birds that have been laying for quite awhile have a washed out, pale bill. Then here are three egg-laying scenarios that you’re likely to encounter: You have a flock of female ducks and you discover two eggs in their house. We’ve had “lumpy” girls who aren’t laying and smooth-bellied girls who are laying eggs. Ducks entirely stop laying eggs at the age of 7 to 9 years. Starting with hatching eggs is an economical and fun way to start your flock of these big white ducks. At the time, we realized this was purely anecdotal and we weren’t sure if there was any science behind it — or if the observation would hold up over the years. 2. Ducks mature and become old enough to lay at 4-7 months or 16-28 weeks of age. Its common for all duck breeds to lay smaller eggs when they first start laying as their reproductive systems fully mature. I believe ducks start laying at 6 months, like chickens. It is not common to them to lay quite so early as this. Aaron also writes for Edible Upcountry Magazine, WordPress (.com), Daily Harvest Express, and other food and tech-related organizations. If your ducks and chickens are housed together, the early collection will also help to prevent the chickens from tasting the eggs and developing the awful habit of egg eating. They also lay just as much during a rainy week as they do during a sunny week. Duck eggs may actually be a little more nutritious than chicken eggs because their whites contain a significantly higher degree of protein. Your young ducks are about 16 weeks old and should start laying soon. Our best guess at the time? Runner ducks have been known to lay eggs while still just less than four and a half months old. Technically, ducks can begin mating with one another when they reach 4 months old but sometimes it takes longer depending on the breed and the specific duck. The laying phase. Primarily, the Pekin is kept as a table bird, although your ducks will lay, on average, 140 eggs a year. Young young ducks may be about to start laying eggs. They're usually done laying by 7:30 am, so their eggs are almost always in their run & not out in the yard somewhere. Or can my khaki Campbell breed with my Mallard or Pekin? So, pick your duck up, place your hand between their pelvic bones and measure. Also can ducks cross-breed like dogs can do? What to feed them for optimal health and egg laying, including if you’re on a tight budget. (Read our article, 3 tips to get your ducks to like you, to learn more. Was this article helpful? Also, chickens all love to share the same nest box … Ducks tend to lay in the early morning in a communal nest (unlike chickens who lay in individual nests). As it turns out, sometimes ducks and chickens that reach egg-laying age but haven’t laid any eggs just need a little extra help to get going. But as the ducks start to lay, those xanthophylls are deposited in the yolk of the egg. My pekins are fiesty girls. She arranges her body from the breast down over the area, adjusting a bare spot on her belly -- called a "brood patch" – over each egg as it emerges. All the Pekins we are using for breeding have been to shows in 2017-19 and have been placed, including Best Pekin at the British Waterfowl Association show in 2017, and awarded Best Heavy Duck in 2018 at the Royal Three Counties Show Malvern. However, we’ve had instances where one of our girls doesn’t lay before we let them out in the morning, and will start laying in a “secret” nest hidden away in the bushes. How old are Pekin ducks when they start laying eggs? If you want to harvest your duck eggs to eat or sell, you will want your female ducks to … Raising Goats – The Complete How To Guide, What Do Quails Eat? On average Indian Runners lay 180 - 200 eggs … The weather has started warming up so you want to know if your ducks are about to start laying so you can switch them back to layer feed. Fast forward a few years and many laying ducks and laying seasons later… We now realize that you can’t visually tell from a duck’s body shape whether or not she’s laying eggs. After that, your duck will start laying again until winter hits. However, Pekin eggs are, on average, 15 grams heavier than Campbell eggs. Or planning to raise ducklings in the future? Hard boiled duck eggs can be kept in the refrigerator unpeeled when covered with cold water and a handful of ice cubes. The American Pekin is sometimes kept for fancy and showing. There is a very simple and short answer to that question … no. Make great mothers and Pekin ducks are normally broody, if not bothered. Heavier duck breeds usually start laying between 20-30 weeks of age. You should supply a second waterer when adding ducks to an existing coop of chickens. The time of year – the length of daylight can affect egg production. But they do lay earlier than hens, comparatively speaking; they do lay more persistently and they do lay better in the autumn. However, if they reach maturity during winter--just like chickens--ducks may delay laying until the days begin to lengthen and it warms up in the spring. . Early in our duck parenting days, we noticed that our ducks who were not laying were smooth in their undercarriage area, while the ones who were laying had a “little lady lump” in the same area between their rib cages and pelvic bones. So now you know how to tell if your ducks are laying or are about to lay! We used to think we could tell which of our ducks were and were not laying eggs via their body shape. These ducks were bred specifically for meat and egg production but have become almost synonymous with the word duck today. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. If you raise your ducks from ducklings and spend lots of time handling them, they will grow up to be friendly, affectionate pets who, as an added bonus, will lay you delicious fresh eggs. Heavier duck breeds … Then something exciting happened on our journey raising Pekin ducks: the ducks started laying eggs in a corner of the run. Pekin Duck Egg Laying On average, Pekin ducks lay between 200 to 300 extra large white eggs annually. If the soil isn’t wet enough to work, they’ll take a swim. Generally, a… As a general rule you could expect an average duck egg to be about 58mm (2.3in) long and 32mm (1.3in) wide and almost always bigger than a chicken egg. At first we thought they were chicken eggs, but we figured out it was one of the ducks laying because we found the eggs before the chickens were let out in the morning and they were huge. This strain of Pekin, the Jumbo Pekin, is the biggest Pekin Duck available. Even though all of the duck eggs in the nest, called a clutch, hatch at the same time, the hen starts spending increasing amounts of time on the nest from the laying of the first egg. Jumbo Pekins are pure white with bright yellow-orange bills and feet. Just kidding. 2. Ducks start laying eggs at about five to six months old and continue to lay for several years, however with proper care, a duck can live to be a dozen years old. Pekins are not quick to point of lay and it can take 6 to 8 months especially if they are raised late in the year. They mature at an age of 4-7 months or 16-28 weeks. How to choose the perfect breed of chicken for you- including our top 5 beginner picks. How do you know which ducks laid the eggs? This is actually a jackfruit. In addition to their collaboration on Tyrant Farms, Aaron and his wife, Susan, are cofounders of, a USDA certified organic seed & gardening education company. References As long as the chicken coop has a light source (which chickens need, as well) ducks often produce more eggs during the winter month than commonly available chicken breeds. In fact, I frequently find my ducks laying before there’s a hint of daylight on the horizon. The Campbell lays, on average, eight more eggs per year than the Pekin. My ducks have houses with nest boxes and they almost always use them before I let them out before 6:45 am. On average, duck eggs have a longer shelf life than chicken eggs because of the thicker membranes and shells they are housed in – which also makes duck eggs far less likely. All Rights Reserved. If you have a smaller or larger breed, the width will likely be different. Many ducks are seasonal layers. Your young ducks are about 16 weeks old and should start laying soon. Prior to production most Pekin ducks will accumulate xanthophylls in their bill and feet. 2. The best way to know if your birds are laying — or are about to lay — is to catch them and measure the distance between their pelvic bones. So, to help Margaret realize that she needed to start laying eggs for us, we made two small additions to her life: Just before and during production, ducks may exhibit swollen abdomens, large, moist vents, and widely-spread pubic bones. Do you have a happy, healthy flock of backyard ducks? We also write for Edible Upcountry Magazine, so be sure to check out our articles over there as well! If they were adults when you got them, then they probably would have started laying after they got over the stress of moving. Again, to establish a baseline of what your ducks feel like when they’re NOT laying, it’s important to handle them when they’ve reached adulthood but before their bodies have started preparing to lay (13 weeks or earlier). A feed mixture of laying ducks should contain about 16% to 18% protein. Your hens are a couple years old and stopped laying during the cold months, so you switched them off duck layer feed to maintainer feed. If you have backyard ducks, you might be trying to figure out which of your ducks are laying eggs and which ducks aren’t. ), What does this have to do with telling if your ducks are laying eggs? Privacy Policy. In addition to making them more like pets/family members than production animals, this practice has also meant that we can regularly “inspect” our ducks for any potential injuries or problems. Thanks. : 193. From bringing your chicks home for the first time to putting eggs on the table, we’ve got it all covered. These calm-natured ducks are a little bit skittish but make excellent pets due to their unique personalities and overall durability. This guide will help you find the answer! Ideally, you can switch them to layer feed three weeks before they start laying to make sure they have the extra nutrition they’ll need. Ducks aren’t completely light dependent for laying eggs as chickens are. However, with proper care, a duck can live to be about 12 years old. Their plumage is thick and plush. Read it if you want to know more about mallard ducks. Aaron is the former farm manager at Oak Hill Cafe & Farm, a no-till, permaculture, farm-to-table restaurant & farm located right down the street from his alma mater, Furman University, in Greenville, SC. With the right feed, Grimaud Frères experts guarantee that a female has the potential to produce 252 eggs and 206 ducklings over a laying period of 45 weeks. Ideally, you can switch them to layer feed three weeks before they start laying to make sure they have the extra nutrition they’ll need. In general, a Pekin is a big, white duck with an orange beak that is a hearty, friendly bird. Pekin ducks are popular for producing quality meat, as well as for their egg production. The opposite is also true: when they’re not laying, their pelvic bones stiffen and the width decreases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. How To Store Your Chickens’ Freshly Laid Eggs. The History of Pekin Ducks Pekin Ducks were first imported from China by Mr. J. E. Palmer, of Stonington, Conn., in the spring of 1873. This list does contain affiliate links which means we’ll earn a small commission when you make a purchase – this commission helps offsets the costs of producing & serving quality content. Is Your Duck Too Old? Duck hens are usually far less likely to turn broody than chicken hens. Birds that are beginning to mature in the shortening days of fall or Autumn may not begin to lay until the following season and these are no exception. Egg production and overall performance is best if breeding ducks are housed together in groups no bigger than 250 birds. When female ducks enter the laying period, their diet varies. I have a silkie or pekin laying at 20wks. We also made sure to handle our flock frequently as they grew up, giving them lots of treats so they had positive associations with the experience. Ducks usually like the nest box to be just a little elevated from the main floor of their shelter, only an inch or two is fine. Breeds of ducks define the number of eggs ducks lay. Very surprised to find eggs so soon. Chickens keep their nests tidy. Assuming that they have had proper care, lighter-weight duck breeds mature sexually at 17-24 weeks of age and begin laying eggs at that time. Once the ducklings hatch out, it takes almost 60 days to raise the clutch of ducklings.

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