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 Post subject: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:26 pm 
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Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:47 pm
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Location: Melbourne
I have a pair of runner ducks and pair of cayugas (4 total) that live together and the 2 girls lay in the same nest.

The female runner is now broody sitting on 25 eggs in a huge straw nest.

The cayuga is occassionally laying another egg on top. I've marked the 25 eggs with a pencil so I can remove any "newcomers".

Is 25 eggs far too many? They are all wedged together in a single layer in the nest so all seem to be getting warmth but there is no room to roll any around.

Should I thin out a few? .. or maybe wait a week and candle them? Some must be a couple of weeks old by now but mum has only been sitting for 5 days.

Thanks for any advice - we've had ducks for a few years but never hatched any before so don't know how fertile they might be. Is any intervention is required?


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 Post subject: Re: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 4:11 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Location: Canberra
Candle them in a couple of days. That’ll be a week since she’s started sitting and you’ll be able to see any development. It’s much easier to see in duck eggs than in chook eggs. Then chuck any that aren’t developing. Other than that no intervention needed. But if you can I’d remove any other non-nesting ducks or separate them with some fencing that babies can’t get through (smaller than 25x25mm). Especially separate drakes. And when the ducklings hatch supply duck starter crumble and a water supply that they can easily step out of (otherwise they can get stuck in there and drown).

Ask all the questions you like :)

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 Post subject: Re: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:46 am 
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Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:47 pm
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Location: Melbourne
Thanks for that. Candled them today. 25 developing eggs and 1 not fertilised! Its going to be a madhouse if they all make it.

Mum has pulled the covers up to keep everything warm

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 Post subject: Re: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:03 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Wow, 24 out of 25 developing!

What a good Mum. She knows what to do. Keep us posted on how things go!

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 Post subject: Re: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:19 am 
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Great Game
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Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 12:53 pm
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Location: West of Bendigo
I'd second separating them. I know ducks aren't geese. But I just had two geese co-sitting on a huge clutch and they fought and argued the whole time about who was whose and not.one.hatched. Fair enough it was a bad location also. Another two pairs co-sitting on 22 eggs hatched 16 yesterday. But now are going to be competitive helicopter mums over the goslings along with two protective ganders, and the risk is goslings getting trampled through over-parenting. At least ganders are good dads, but in your situation I'd put the drakes well away somewhere secure, phone a friend or whatever, because drakes will randomly kill ducklings often with murderous intention and sometimes just to get at the ducks to mate.

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 Post subject: Re: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:00 pm 
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Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:47 pm
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Location: Melbourne
:thumbs: Thanks for the tips.

On the countdown for this week with fingers crossed. We havn't checked for progress along the way but time is right for later this week!

The two drakes and non-sitting duck are separated into "the anex" (a 1m cube pallet house) - they freerange during the day. Mum now has the peace and quiete of a 3x2m enclosure to herself, a big shallow plant pot saucer of water... and additional fortifications to keep little heads inside the wire!


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 Post subject: Re: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:08 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Well done on all the preparations. My fingers are crossed bigtime for a good result!!

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 Post subject: Re: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 4:38 pm 
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Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:47 pm
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Location: Melbourne
13 hatched yesterday (or day before)! 3 others got a helping hand today. I know the reccomendation is not to help but they had pipped 24 hours ago but were wedged in amongst eggs that didnt hatch (there is still 12 unhatched eggs in the nest!) one poor guy had broken 99% of the shell off but the membrane had started to dry and shrink around his feathers so I just gave it a little tear and he/she popped out on his own.

I guess I just let the unhatched eggs perish? .. I do have broody silkie chickens but it seems rather unfair on them to whack a dug egg under them for a couple of days. Mother duck isnt interested in sitting any more (can't blame her with 13 chicks!)... I could put them in a warm place and see what happens but would mother look after extra ducks added in a few days time anyway?


The Cayuga genes are strong - only 2 yellow chicks... some brindle and the majority are black (some will be runner x runner, some runner x cayuga and some will be pure cayuga as the cayuga duck was laying in the same nest)

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 Post subject: Re: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:23 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Location: Canberra
Congratulations!!

You can definitely put duck eggs under a chook. Sometimes chooks can peck at emerging flight feathers at 4 or so weeks of age so keep an eye out for that. But otherwise chooks can raise ducklings just fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:48 pm 
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Proud Rooster
Proud Rooster

Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:47 pm
Posts: 292
Location: Melbourne
Thanks. Today was clean-up the nest day.

Answering the question of "too many eggs?" YES - too many. The other female was laying into the nest the whole time mum was sitting so at the time of hatching we estimate 36 eggs - which caused some of the eggs on the bottom of the pile to fail to hatch (squashed in) and at the top of the pile we had eggs that were only partially develloped.

lesson learned - separate the mum early on next time.

I buried 4 dead chicks and I broke open the 20 unhatched eggs to eliminate the possibility of burying chicks alive (some had gone puttrid, a few were only a week into developing)

...so we could have managed the whole thing better if we knew what we were doing ... which we do now :D

Thanks for the hand-holding!



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 Post subject: Re: Too many eggs?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:14 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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You’ve done really well. And there’s something to learn from every hatch. :)

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