Introducing ducklings into your backyard or urban farm is a fun experience. They will give you an ongoing supply of fresh eggs that will certainly taste better than the eggs you buy at your local store. They do not require expensive housing and are happy roaming around your yard laying eggs.
During the year ducks lay eggs between 5 to 8 months regularly. Some breeds lay on average 3 times a week others every day, resulting on an annual basis between 150 to 350 eggs. Certain duck breeds may lay more than 2000 eggs in their 6 to 7 year egg-laying lifespan.
Some domesticated ducks will lay eggs all year round. Egg-laying slows down in the colder months.
Pekin ducks, one of the most popular dual-purpose breeds, lay eggs for around 40 weeks a year, amounting to about 160-240 eggs.
The number of eggs your ducks lay is highly dependent on nutrition, well-being, and the living conditions of the birds.
When do ducks start laying eggs and for how long?
Ducks start to lay eggs when they reach 6 to 7 months in age. This can differ depending on the breed and how your ducks are cared for. S
maller breeds like bantams can start laying earlier, at around four months. Larger ducks like the Muscovy ducks, begin later when they are about six months old.
Egg-laying lasts for around 35 to 45 weeks of the year. The egg-laying season starts around March and lasts through to late July.
Typically, a duck lays one egg per day, but once again, this can differ from one breed to another. Certain breeds will only lay 4 eggs per week.
Ducks can lay eggs with or without a mate. If the eggs are laid without a mate they will be infertile and won’t hatch into ducklings. Eggs laid after mating will hatch if they are kept in the proper conditions.
Egg-laying usually happens in the early hours of the morning between 4.00 AM and 7.00 AM. If your ducks roam around your yard, you may have to search for the eggs as they do not make nests for laying.
Ducks typically stop laying eggs when they are 6 to 7 years old. The largest number of eggs are laid in the first year, and production slows down year after year.
Older ducks can lay eggs, but the quantity decrease gradually with time.
Ducks are social creatures and can experience emotions like nervousness and loneliness. If your ducks are not happy, you will find that they produce far fewer eggs.
Raising ducks will require some skill to ensure that they have the best possible conditions to produce eggs consistently.
What diet does the duck need to lay the maximum number of eggs?
Feeding your ducks correctly will ensure that they lay the maximum number of eggs. The easiest way to feed your ducks is to give them layer feed formulated for chickens.
This feed can be bought at your local store or online. Layer feed for chickens contains about 16 percent protein and added calcium to strengthen the eggshells.
Layer feed for chickens also contains niacin. However, ducklings require more niacin than chickens. Niacin helps to strengthen the bones in young ducklings.
Brewers yeast is a great source of niacin. Add it into your chicken feed in a 5 percent ratio. Ducklings will also need a higher ratio of protein (22%) in the first few weeks for quick development.
Feed can come in the form of pellets, crumbles, or mash. For ducks, the best choice is pellets, with crumbles as a second option. Put out your feed in strong, wide tubs or containers that won’t topple over.
A grown duck eats about 4 to 6 oz of food per day. This will increase in the winter months. In summer, ducks add to their diet by eating weeds and bugs found naturally in your backyard.
You can add to your duck’s diet by including leafy greens like cut grass and weeds. They also eat lettuce and Swiss chard. These natural foods provide essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that add to the health of your poultry.
You can also offer them corn kernels, fresh peas, watermelon, or cut-up tomatoes. Older ducks can be fed boiled eggs with the shells. Crush them up and add them to the feed. The shells provide extra calcium that produces stronger and larger eggs.
Make sure that you always have a fresh supply of water near your feeding containers. Ducks need water to help reduce the build-up of food material in their mouths. To help grind the food in their digestive tracts, or gizzards, ducks need to eat grit or coarse sand.
At the end of the day, discard any leftover wet food pellets. Refresh the water supply. Ducks do not enjoy drinking old or stagnant water.
Do not add marine products like fish meal to your duck food. This can result in eggs with a strange flavor.
Which breeds lay the most / largest eggs?
When it comes to choosing ducks for your yard, some breeds are better egg layers than others. Breeds known to be the best egg layers include Pekin and Ancona ducks, Buff Orpington, Campbells, Magpies, Muscovy, and Runner ducks.
Buff Orpingtons lay between 180 to 245 eggs per year at a rate of 3 to 4 eggs per week. These ducks do best on larger homesteads with ponds or lakes.
If you want to add some aesthetics to your egg-laying brood, then the Ancona duck is one attractive breed to consider. Aside from coming in different colors, you’ll also spot the same in their eggs.
Meanwhile, this beautiful duck breed can produce up to 240 eggs per year, and its meat is also tasty and sought-after, striking a good balance in many worlds – a winning streak for duck breeders.
If you can make a compromise with meat production, then the Magpie is also another great option when it comes to egg production. They are lightweight birds that can make up to 300 eggs per year. And also, backyard raisers or small-scale breeders also love them because they tend to be quieter.
Muscovy ducks can produce you up to a decent 200 extra-large to jumbo eggs per year. They are also pretty hardy all year round being capable of thriving in either hot or cold climates. Just do not forget to clip their wings as these ducks can fly out of your farm!
Campbells This tan duck can lay you up to 340 eggs per year, which is about an egg per day with a few days off at most.
Duck breeders also love them since they are easy to raise – they are hardy, forage actively, and can thrive in almost any climate type. Just make sure you are dealing with the pure breed as cross-breeds perform inferior.
Indian Runners They also fare excellently in terms of producing eggs, laying up to 300 eggs annually. There’s just a bit of compromise in terms of size as a Runner’s egg is almost the same as a chicken’s.
Pekin More popular for its meat, the Pekin Duck can also perform well in terms of egg production. This breed can lay up to 200 extra-large eggs per year but a bit behind Muscovy ducks in terms of size.
ducks are often bred for their meat. But, they do lay the largest eggs of all ducks. A typical Pekin duck egg weighs around 3 oz. In comparison, chicken eggs weigh around 1.7 oz to 2.2 oz.
While Pekin and Campbell breeds are at the top of the list for the number of eggs, Campbells are smaller birds and are ideal for urban settings. You can fit more birds into a small space and get more eggs.
How can you increase duck egg production?
Ducks can experience emotions like nervousness, unhappiness, and loneliness. An unhappy duck will not produce as many eggs as a happy duck, and may even stop producing eggs altogether.
Keeping your ducks well-fed, comfortable, and happy will ensure that they regularly lay large, nutritious eggs.
You can ensure increased egg production by providing the correct housing, water, and feed for your ducks.
Plan on giving your ducks around 4 square feet of floor space each. Your duck housing can be a small hut, an old doghouse, or a coop. It must have plenty of air vents and be at least 3 feet tall.
Ducks like to wander around your property. You will need to make sure that they can easily get in and out of the housing. The floor is best covered with wire mesh to allow the droppings to fall through.
For bedding, you can provide a layer of straw. Ensure that the straw is changed regularly and is replaced if it gets wet. Most domestic ducks do not fly.
This means that they are vulnerable to predators like dogs, foxes, and raccoons. Ensure that these predators cannot enter your property and attack your ducks.
Keep young ducks in your flock
If you have a lot to take care of, you may not easily notice which ones are already approaching the end of their lifetime. But as already noted egg production decreases with time. If you want to increase the number of eggs make sure that you keep young ducks in your flock.
Protect the enviroinment
Try to avoid any changes in the enviroinment the ducks live in. Any type of change in persons or adding a new animal or even just a sudden change in the feed can stress the ducks out and affect negatively egg production.
Feeding your ducks a balanced diet with the correct nutrients will ensure increased egg production. You can use a formula for layer chickens and add niacin. Ducklings need niacin to develope strong bones.
You can also add leafy greens, lettuce, corn kernels, peas, and cut-up tomatoes to their diet.
Just remember not to overfeed your ducks since on the contrary, being overweight may affect their fertility. If you spot unfinished feeds, then you may be already overfeeding them.
It is very important to have a clean water supply close to your feeding bins. Ducks need water to help reduce the build-up of food material in their mouths. Throw away old and stagnant water and replace it regularly with fresh water.
Ducks love to get wet. This is also necessary to keep their feathers supplied with waterproof oils. Ducks have a special oil gland at the base of the tail. When it gets wet, it produces essential oils so that they can preen their feathers. A pond, a tub, or a small kiddies swimming pool is ideal for ducks in your backyard.
What periods of the year do ducks stop laying eggs?
Many domestic duck breeds lay eggs all year round if the conditions are ideal. Following the natural rhythm of nature, egg-laying will slow down in the winter months. For some breeds, egg-laying in winter will stop completely.
There are multiple ways to maximize the number of eggs you get from your ducks. The first and most important is to pick the right breed that will give you the most and largest eggs. Once you picked the breed there are many ways to increase the number and the size of the eggs, such as the diet, the housing and making sure that the ducks are always calm and happy.