Problems with Ducks.

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Problems with Ducks.

Post by wayland on Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:16 am

We have not had a good year with the Ducks. Earlier on the fox killed five, taken from my fox proof pen! I brought replacements from Myshall. Fine looking young Campbell female`s. I put them in the freezer yesterday as they were all Drakes and not a Campbell amongst them Crying or Very sad As half grown Ducklings they looked just right for female`s but once fully feathered they turned out to look like huge Mallard Drakes! I know well enough that Ducklings can be difficult to sex at a young age but these looked the real deal. My problem was that these yokes were a lot younger than I was led to believe. Point of lay I was told, which was just what they looked like for Campbell Ducks. So let the buyer beware! What makes this doubly annoying is that we cannot meet the demand for eggs at the mart. I hate having to deal with grumpy regulars. Ho Hum. So we are off to Myshall on the last sunday of the month for some Campbell Ducks. I wonder if the same bloke is there Twisted Evil .
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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:25 pm

Why don't you start hatching your own? Much more satisfactory - and cheaper! Chuck a half dozen eggs under a hatching hen and let her get on with it. Easy peasy. Of course, you must have the eggs to begin with Very Happy But you can buy them - whatever breed you choose...

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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by wayland on Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:30 pm

Yes Sean. I have been down this road many times and will do again once I got some decent breeding stock. This was my original plan. Just got too many drakes. Buying POL campbell's is more reliable than hatching eggs. My past efforts have resulted with a very high % of drakes.
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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:09 pm

I know what you mean.  I nearly gave up hatching my own chickens because of all the cock birds till I discovered how delicious the cockerels were when left to mature.  Now I'm delighted to see a high percentage of cocks in the clutch.  As soon as they start getting big, I start licking my lips. I haven't bought a shop chicken in years  - as you know, there's no comparison tongue incidentally, did you ever get Appleyards? I remember you were looking for them - I'd like to try them myself. What about Muscovies?

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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by wayland on Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:34 am

I did go looking for Appleyards but their were none at the sale. They are one breed that I would be happy with hatching eggs. I had forgotten about them, thanks for the reminder. I will be going over to the UK in a few weeks so I will bring some back Smile I don't trust the post with hatching eggs. I have not kept Muscovies, they were not a breed that took my fancy. An old feller nearby kept them and offered them to me for free, but I declined. I had a notion that they were a breed just to look at, but I have now heard that they do make good eating. Ever kept Quail Sean?
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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:53 am

No, never kept quail.  I have the notion ( right or wrong) that you have to keep them caged up. That would entail building a sizeable enclosure...  I don't really know anything about them, but it's something to consider.  Regarding hens, I bought hatching eggs a few times from up the country and in fairness they arrived safe and sound,  well packaged in polystyrene boxes.  But the eggs themselves were a disappointment -  far too many of them were too small  (in my opinion) for hatching and what were big enough had a poor hatching rate.  And the chicks that did come out were poor specimens.  People don't realise - to get a strong, healthy chick,  you must start off with an egg laid by a strong, healthy hen,  fed properly and, ideally, running free-range so she's able to get all the vitamins and minerals necessary.  An egg laid by a hen confined in a small run (which most producing hatching eggs for sale are) will never give a top-quality chick.  So, now,  I only hatch my own eggs and my hens run around free,  find most of their own food,  stay out in all weathers and live for years.  Admittedly they don't lay like battery hens, but their eggs are worth eating.  Same with the ducks.

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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by wayland on Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:00 pm

All points noted Sean. My quail enterprise is just getting off the ground as you know. The birds themselves can be a bit infuriating but the small eggs appear about 6-7 weeks after hatching. The adult birds are very good to eat and are ready from about 10 weeks although small. A mature bird strips out at about 8 oz. So two makes for a great meal. They need a run to be fair to them. They do make commercial cages for them with run outs for the eggs. These work but are worse than hen batteries. I have seen such cages with very cramped conditions. I mentioned that they can be infuriating. In cramped cages they run around a bit. In a run they live like wild Quail and run and hide, so plenty of hidey holes for them is essential. For those who have limited space these birds are just the job.
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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Deryn on Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:30 pm

Our ducks have not been overly successful this year either, They have not laid very well, we are about to cull them all and start again. On average we have 6 to 8 eggs a day from 19 ducks and they are only 2 years old. At least we have a reliable supplier and get what we ask for.
Unlike the hay we brought, it has ended up been more rush than grass and is not going to last the winter Sad

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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Tue Sep 11, 2018 5:41 pm

Deryn, I've been disappointed with my ducks this year too. Like yours, they're only in their second year and they didn't lay for very long before they packec up and moulted. I wonder if the drought would have affected them as they spend most of their time rooting in the ground and, this year, the ground was too dry and hard for them.

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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Drowned_pig on Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:21 pm

Our runner ducks have just started to lay ....the “fun” of searching their enclosure to find where they’ve dropped their eggs has worn off ...why can’t they lay in their house like the chooks?
Would love to raise some ducks for meat but tried it once with aylesburys and found the plucking a nightmare ...is there a trick to it that we missed?
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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by wayland on Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:09 pm

.is there a trick to it that we missed?Quote:-
No, you have it about right. I hate plucking them. Even plucking machines struggle a bit. Hot water does not help much either. The feathers are waterproof and well insulated. I did watch a bloke use hot wax which did work but it was a bit of a messy job.
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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Deryn on Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:38 pm

I knew there was a reason for not eating the ducks.
DP I don't let the ducks out as early as the hens that way most of them have finished laying.I usually let them out about 9.30 but know people who keep them in til 11. As I am having trouble getting them to lay, I may not be in the best position to advise though.

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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:27 pm

I think you have to kill your ducks when they are exactly ten weeks old. Seemingly, that's the only time they're easy to pluck.

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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by wayland on Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:54 am

We kill our Ducks just when they are fully feathered, that is when there is no new feather stubbs to deal with which makes plucking a right pain. What I dont like is the fact that you have to pluck them twice. A second time to remove the down. What I do is remove as much as I can be bothered to do then singe the rest. Sometimes I just take the breasts.
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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:07 pm

My ducks have packed up laying altogether.  I notice they haven't packed up eating though!  And I ain't going to put up with it.  I love duck eggs and I haven't had one for a month or more.  Sad  I warned 'em this morning and they just looked at me and quacked.  It's not good enough.  Twenty years ago I had Indian Runners and I couldn't stop 'em laying, but these Harlequins. ... I'm going back to Runners!

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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by wayland on Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:04 pm

We just brought six more campbells which was expensive. 18 euros each is 3 euros more than I wanted to pay. Ho Hum. Fine looking birds though and brought from our local poultry farm so things should be hunky dory. Very Happy I have always liked the look of Harlequins Sean, especially the Welsh breed.
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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Deryn on Sat Sep 22, 2018 6:45 pm

We haven't killed ours off yet as I am now undecided what to do. We are still getting 8 eggs a day but as this years weather was all over the place I don't know if I should give them the benefit of the doubt. If I catch another one egg eating they will have to go. Since I have given them loads more grit they seem to have stopped that bad habit.
Good luck with the new ducks Wayland.
Sorry to hear yours are not laying at all Sean. I like the runners.

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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Deryn on Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:23 pm

Have you still got your ducks Sean or have you decided to get your runners?
Ours are still laying a bit so are still with us atm. They have until next spring when I will be able to source some replacements to decide if they will lay properly. Its now up to them!

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Re: Problems with Ducks.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:07 pm

I still have them, but no eggs! I must do something...

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