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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok - so I have a broody duck. She was our first hen OR duck to go broody, so we were very excited. Only problem was, she didn't quite get that she needed to LAY EGGS to sit on. First, she sat on an empty nest. For seven days, I slipped a fresh chicken egg under her each day, and then left her to sit.

:chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick:

Ten days ago, however, she suddenly decided to start laying eggs herself - with the result that she is now sat on 7 chicken eggs and 10 of her own duck eggs - and for all I know she will keep right on laying!

Here's the thing. Chicken eggs hatch around day 21, and she has already been sat on those for a while - hatch date is Sunday onwards. DUCK eggs, however, have a 28 day incubation period, and some of the duck eggs have only just been LAID!!!

So, when the chicks start hatching out Sunday/Monday, do I need to take the chicks away from her and keep them under a heat lamp so she can keep sitting on the duck eggs until they hatch, or will she be ok to see to all of them? :think::think::think:

I REALLY want HER to raise the chicks and ducklings, as then she can introduce them to the flock naturally, whereas if I rear them away from the flock I'm not going to be able to re-introduce them for AGES.

I have three roosters, but their days are ending tomorrow, so they wont be around to kill the chicks.

Also, she has been sitting for a total of 18 days so far, and has only been out to eat and drink twice a day. I do have a male duck who is very keen on his ladies, but I am not sure if he has had a chance to breed her in those sort time periods. Will the eggs she is now laying even be fertile?

Thanks! :)

:chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick::chick:
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Another question - She is sitting in one of our regular nest boxes, which are about two feet off the ground and regular nest box size. So she is obviously not going to be able to raise the babies in there - no room for a feeder and she can't 'walk' them out! I have a VERY large chicken house - a shed, basically, with a row of nestboxes along one wall and a perch along the other.

I was thinking I could set a dog crate in there, line it with hay, and pop her and the chicks/eggs in there with a waterer and feeder and shut the door to keep babies safe from the other hens and the outdoor cat. Would she abandon the nest if I did that?
 

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www.wildheartsranch.org
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Not good. How many days apart were the first batch of eggs laid? Even if she hadn't started laying again, those eggs are going to hatch at the rate they were laid, and she may abandon some when she decides the first ones are ready to leave. If you want all of them to hatch you need to pull them as they are hatched; even then it's iffy.
 

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I can't speak for mother ducks, only mother chickens. That being said..

We used to let our chickens hatch and raise chicks, guineas, pheasants, and ducks. Basically any fertile eggs. If a hen hatched mixed babies (like 4 chicks and 2 ducklings), she would either neglect or attack the non-chick babies. We learned to give her all of the same type of eggs. When she hatched non-chick babies, we would keep her and the babies in a small pen by themselves for several weeks. It seemed to take the non-chicks that much longer to learn the hen's language and follow her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
WildHeartsRanch - I think the chicken eggs were laid (and given to her) over a 4-or-5-day period. It was several days later that she started to lay her own eggs...so...

1st of June, I put the first chicken egg under her.

2nd-4th, more chicken eggs.

8th-17th - one duck egg laid per day.

So, looking at what y'all have said, I need to pull the chicks out one at a time, as they hatch, and pop them in a box with a heat lamp. Right? We have raised baby chicks before, so have all the gear. We've just never hatched.

Should she be ok to raise the ducklings by herself? If she decides to abandon some eggs, we do have an incubator, so I suppose I could keep that set up ready to switch on and transfer if needed. Do you think that would work?

She is being a good mama so far...she only leaves the nest once in the morn and once in the eve, and before doing so she 'tucks the eggs in', covering them with hay and feathers! Aww.

Thanks for your help! I love this forum - I use it a lot for goat-related questions, and everyone is so friendly and helpful. :) :) :)
 

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www.wildheartsranch.org
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She could raise the ducklings but you still might need to incubate some and sneak them back in. I had a hen on 8 eggs; 6 hatched within 24 hours and she left the nest with one dead egg and one premature. Didn't have an incubator so I couldn't help that one.
 

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Shady Acre Homestead
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I am really surprised she is "laying" right now. Typically a truly broody duck will NOT lay for the duration of broodiness.Their bodies "shut down" the egg factory... If she is indeed laying, I would expect her to stop sitting at any moment.
Bad idea giving her an egg a day....next time save them for a week or two (pointy side down in a carton) and give them all to her at once.
Also, ducks are bad chicken egg hatchers as a rule, as they get too wet and the chicks drown in the egg. Better to have a chicken hen sit on chicken eggs and a duck on duck eggs. They both require different levels of humidity. Not saying it can't happen, just saying it is less successful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Stephanie - Thank you for the very detailed reply. Hopefully things will work out ok, as she only gets wet those two times she comes out, and typically stays in the sunshine for a while afterwards. If not, at least we will know what likely went wrong.

The funny part is that she is SUCH a determined broody, even though she is laying. I had always assumed they WOULD stop laying...isn't that why folks don't like having broodies?! But when she started sitting on an empty nest and THEN laying I guess I assumed that they must lay AS they go broody, in order to have something to sit on!

This sounds silly, but what would they do if we were not there to place a clutch under them? Do they just wait for a chance to 'steal' a full nest?

Hope I haven't mucked things up...I should have come here straight away! I suppose if she stops sitting I will just whip the eggs into an incubator and hope for the best!

If anyone has any more advice for me I will be grateful!
 

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www.wildheartsranch.org
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Yep when mine went broody I took some out of the fridge and let them warm up, gave her those plus the ones I collected the next day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
WildHeartsRanch -

Did the refrigerated eggs hatch? I had read that refrigeration will stop the possibility of any development, and that eggs collected for a broody have to stay at room temperature.
 

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Room temperature is best but refrigerated works if they haven't been washed. Mine went straight into the carton and were only a day or two old. I think I put three of those under her; I had one egg that died and one that was too premature when she left the nest, but can't say if it was those or not. The premie one had normal development and at least one refrigerated egg hatched on time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Stephanie - that's what I'd read!

WildHeartsRanch - that's very interesting. I guess that even 'room temperature' might be too warm here right now; I'm in NW Arkansas and our average indoor temp right now is above 80f. :)
 

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We have both ducks and chickens brooding with both ducks and chicks lol...when mom hatching them in stages...we pull the babies and raise in a chick pen...when mom is all done we leave one baby with her so she can raise it..we do pull duck babies from chickens and chicks from ducks...this year we have a handful of brooders we are trying to stay ahead of ...mark eggs and removed new ones daily so we can have some to eat lol..dont know why all of a sudden they all went broody but I paid good money for an incubator and I want to use it lol...
 

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80 is fine. Eggs can last weeks at room temperature if they haven't been washed, which removes the protective coating. In Europe they're on the shelf at the grocery store not refrigerated. I keep mine in the fridge just out of habit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just to update everyone...


Sunday afternoon a chicken egg 'pipped'. We hung on tenterhooks ALL Monday, but it was not til Tuesday morn that we found a little yellow chick! Of course, we have our chick box with heat lamp in the living room so we can watch the cutie.

Yesterday evening, we had two more fluffies! Yay! Sadly I also found a half-hatched chicky dead. I swear I counted four un-pipped chicken eggs in the nest last night, but this morn there are only three! There is no dead chick, no live chick. Hmm. Ah, well, we shall enjoy our current balls of fluff!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Annnnddd...the ducklings are finally coming! One hatched this morn, one is almost there, and two will probably be hatched by tomorrow morning! Never had more than the four chicks, but those four are doing super and we have a broody chicken on 7 eggs which should hatch at the weekend.

And a pregnant cat...baby time! :)
 
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