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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:34 pm 
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Wise Wyandotte
Wise Wyandotte
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Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 1:59 pm
Posts: 4069
Location: Victoria
Most breeds of duck and all breeds of geese are best at hatching their own young, rather than incubators. The hatch rate is usually alot higher as mum has it down to a pretty fine art.

Geese sit for 30 days, Ducks sit for 28 days and Muscovies sit for 35-37days.

Allow the birds to lay in the desired nesting position, if the eggs are in the wrong spot - move them to the correct spot. Often they will get the idea. It is nearly impossible to move a broody duck, so moving before they have sat will make life a lot easier for you both. I like lawn mower catchers for ducks, and geese will make their own using around half a bale of straw.

Mark the eggs as they are laid, and once a cluth has been laid keep it at a constant ready to go level - for most geese allow 10 eggs, ducks i usually allow 8-10 depending on size of the egg and size of the duck. Muscovies i allow up to 15, usually the fewer eggs the better the hatch as they all get good heat - do not over load a broody, it does not work.
Remove the oldest eggs and use for cooking or disguard leaving the freshest for best hatching chances.

A broody duck should be seperated from other ducks/drakes to prevent extra eggs being laid and the drake trying to have his way with her. Drakes can also kill ducklings is the opportunity arises, not all will but its not fun to find out which ones do or dont.

A broody goose should be allowed to sit with her mate. He will protect her and her goslings once they hatch. Removing a gander from the goose can result in the goose leaving the nest and pining for her mate.

Once they sit, they will do all the work. Most birds will get off the nest once a day to feed and drink - however they often wait for a few days after first sitting before doing so. Mussies usually sit tight for 5 days and then go for feed and water.

Ducks and geese will control their own humidity, just make sure they have acess to water for bathing.

At 10 days, (you can do it earlier, but i like 10 days) candle the eggs with a birght light. This is best done at night. Remove any infertile or clear eggs, giving the living eggs a better chance.

Upon hatching usually mum will sit tight for another 1or2 days. They are best started off on NU duck Crumbles, or Pullet starter crumbs. Keep the feed in a low dish and the water is best in a drinker to prevent ducklings drowning (if they get into a dish and cant get out they often drown). It is god for mum to eat this feed, it will help her regain lost condition from sitting.

Whilst they are young they are open to attack from crows and maggies. They should be kept in a secure pen to prevent this. rats can also be a problem but to a lesser degree.

As they grow at about 6 weeks old they can go onto Duck or Pullet grower.

By 12 weeks mum will have most likely lost interest in the bubs and if the weather is good and she feels like it she will most likely go back on the lay. If yopu remove the ducklings once they are feathered at 8 weeks old it should encourage mum to lay sooner.

Sexing your ducklings - viewtopic.php?t=6157

Or if you want the joy of hand raising the ducklings instead of letting the mother - viewtopic.php?t=9830

Allowing a mother to raise the young, does make less work for you and is a joy to watch.

Honk

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If you can keep chooks, geese will be a BREEZE!


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