Ducks are birds known as ‘Waterfowl,’ as they are found near water bodies such as ponds, streams, and rivers. It’s a terrific way to connect with nature to watch and feed ducks at your neighborhood pond. You’ll like it better if some cute and cuddly ducklings accompany you. So you’re probably wondering when ducks start laying eggs.
While not as popular as chickens, many farmers choose duck eggs over chicken eggs due to taste, size, and nutrition variations. Considering raising ducks, you’re probably curious about egg production and laying behaviors. When do ducks start laying eggs? How frequently do ducks lay eggs? Are these seasonal or year-round layers?
When Do Ducks Start Laying Eggs?
Female ducks begin to lay eggs when they reach the age of 4-7 months. Most ducks lay their eggs between mid-March and the end of July. Ducks often lay their eggs at about 6 a.m. or when the sun rises. It might take around two weeks for all the eggs to hatch in a clutch.
Egg production and laying seasons differ depending on the breed, with the most productive layers laying up to 300 eggs per year. Ducks are an excellent alternative to chickens because they lay nearly as frequently as chickens.
Do Ducks Lay Eggs Without a Male?
Female ducks do not require the presence of a male duck (drake) to make eggs. Even if no male is present, the females will continue to lay eggs daily.
The main difference is that the eggs would not hatch without a drake, meaning the eggs will not hatch into ducklings. You may have guessed that these are the eggs we buy at the supermarket.
However, there is no one to come and remove the infertile egg away from wild ducks. In any case, the ducks will collect these eggs and nest on them. The female will ultimately mate with a male and lay fertilized eggs, resulting in ducklings.
Unfertilized eggs are either left to perish or pushed out of the nest and became food for other wild creatures.
How Do You Know When a Duck is Ready to Lay Eggs?
The best technique to determine whether or not your ducks are laying eggs is to catch them and measure the gap between their pelvic bones. As a duck’s body prepares to lay eggs, the pelvic bones loosen and become wider apart, allowing eggs to flow through.
The inverse is also true: their pelvic bones harden and narrow when they are not lying. Pick up your duck, position your palm between its pelvic bones, and take a measurement. When your ducks are not laying eggs, you can measure the space between their pelvic bones using two fingers.
It’s around 3-4 fingers across their pelvic bones while laying eggs. The width will most likely vary if you have a smaller or larger breed; you’ll only have to study your bird’s specific breed. During these checkups, give them the treat to help them form/maintain pleasant associations with being handled.
Having ducks or other birds that are comfortable being handled is helpful for various reasons, including medical issues, such as a nasty case of bumblefoot that needs treatment.
Where Do Ducks Nest?
Ducks love to nest near bodies of water, and females usually build their nests in dense undergrowth or a tree’s natural hole. On the other hand, Mallards take advantage of open water where food is available, which can lead to the selection of less-than-ideal nesting places, especially in cities.
Nests have boathouses, wood heaps, old crow’s nests, hay stacks, roof gardens, enclosed courtyards, and even many floors on balconies. Town ponds with a rich and consistent food supply frequently attract more mallards than can nest nearby. In these scenarios, many female mallards nest far away from the pond to avoid competition and harassment from other birds.
When Do Ducks Stop Laying Eggs?
A wild duck, unlike farmed ducks, will not lay eggs all year long. They usually have a time during the fall and winter when they cease producing eggs. How long they stop depends on how much early light they are exposed to; the fall and winter months will see very little of this. Once spring arrives, the number of daylight hours rises along with egg production.
A duck will also stop producing eggs during the breeding season after her clutch has grown to about 12 ducklings. As she raises her clutch, she will not lay any eggs, and she might start to lay eggs before the summer ends after those ducklings are grown and independent. She could be capable of raising a little brood right before she stops producing eggs for the winter.
Depending on a duck’s life, this cycle of one or two clutches every year will continue for around 3-5 years. Female ducks often stop producing eggs around 9 years if they live for more than ten years.
How to Get Your Ducks to Lay More Eggs?
Ducks are known for their capacity to produce quality eggs. The following advice will assist in increasing your flock’s egg output.
Let Them Reach Sexual Maturity
Due to issues with tiny egg size and poor hatchability, starting ducks’ egg production before 7 months is not recommended. Ducks hatched between April and July will mature sexually in about 7 months. On the other hand, ducks that hatch between September and January will reach maturity one to two months sooner. You can eliminate this issue by planning your duck’s hatch season to fall between April and July.
Monitoring the Production Cycle
Once a duck reaches sexual maturity, egg production will increase. Once they reach sexual maturity, you can train ducks to produce at full capacity by providing them with 14 hours of light per day. Installing a 40 to a 60-watt light bulb in the holding pens or coop can introduce artificial light to the day. Within 5 to 6 weeks, the flock should lay 90% or more eggs.
In meat-type breeds, daily egg production should stay above 50% for roughly 5 months. Breeds with high egg production rates will be more persistent. Feeding a commercial breeder diet helps maximize egg production efficiency.
Hatchability and Fertility Levels Coincide With Egg Production
Fertility and hatchability levels are proportional to egg output, meaning hatchability and fertility increase as egg production rises. To achieve high levels of fertility and hatchability, the breeding flock must maintain the proper ratio of males to females. One male for every six females is advised for the greatest outcomes.
You could preserve a few extra male ducks to replace male mortality when it happens. During the first few egg sets, fertility should rise quickly; however, it will begin to decline toward the conclusion of the egg production cycle.
Taking Care of Eggs
Since most ducks lay eggs before 7 a.m., keeping breeders in the laying house at night may be a good idea. If artificial incubation is employed, it is best to collect the eggs in the morning. Clean and cracked eggs are less of an issue if removed as soon as possible. Breeder facilities that are clean and dry are essential for the creation of healthy, undamaged hatching eggs.
After being collected, you can carefully wash soiled eggs in water that is warmer than the eggs. You should keep eggs down in storage, and it is crucial to offer clean, dry nesting environments for natural incubation. If straw or other nesting materials are available, ducks will build their nests.
Now we have the answer to when do ducks start laying eggs. We can conclude that when a female duck is 4 to 7 months old, she can begin laying eggs till they have a clutch of about 12 ducklings, they will continue to lay about 1 egg per day. After petting the ducklings until they become adults, they’ll stop making eggs.
The sun’s hormone-stimulating effects are necessary for ducks to lay eggs in the wild. That implies that ducks stop laying eggs when the mornings grow darker, and they wouldn’t begin again until the morning becomes lighter once more in the spring.
Other Preferred Foods for Duck
How many eggs do ducks lay?
Commercial ducks can lay 300–350 eggs annually, compared to the 250 that commercial chickens typically lay.
How long does a duck sit on eggs?
A mother duck will spend 20 to 23 hours a day sitting on her eggs.
Do ducks lay eggs every day?
Every day, ducks produce one egg.
What age do ducks start laying eggs?
Ducks should be laying at a rate of about 90% by the time they are about 6-7 months old.
What time of year do ducks start laying eggs?
Ducks will begin laying in the wild in the spring, at the commencement of the breeding season.
What time of day do ducks lay eggs?
The majority of ducks lay their eggs in the early hours of the morning.
What month do ducks lay eggs?
Most ducks lay their eggs from the middle of March until the end of July.
How long does it take a duck to lay her first egg?
When ducks are mature and old enough to lay, which is between 4 and 7 months or 16 and 28 weeks, they start laying eggs.