Runner Ducks

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Runner Ducks

Postby spotter » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:41 am

Hello new to this forum, have two ducks and a drake for two and half years now..lots of fun and eggs also problems with bad legs and duck escaping, duck eggbound, solution being warm baths etc. All has ended well so far but with two prcautitionary visits to the avian vets.
This year at the end of Aug the ducks slowed down laying (with floppy shells) (yes i do feed layers pellets and grit) and one stopped completly both stopped by Sept and both gone into moult one month apart along with the Drake. This did not happen last year, yes, they moulted but did not stop laying or only slowed, they laid intil the very last day of Nov! Any ideas or compare age of ducks and what they get up to? So far on the web I have found lots of contradictory advice about duck keeping and especially Runners some say they never go broody and are terrible mothers others say they have brought up broods year after year etc..
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Re: Runner Ducks

Postby Tim » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:06 am

Generally speaking Runners don't go broody - but there are always exceptions to the rules. If you get a strain that goes broody you will of course get less eggs since they stop laying whilst broody. The breed is renowned for the number of eggs they lay / year (more than 200 in some strains) and therefore logic says they won't be broody to achieve this.

I used to keep Black, Chocolate and Fawn Runners but I have given these up to concentrate on my Abacot Rangers. As ducks get older, they will slow down in the egg laying department - typically this is around 10 to 15% less eggs per year and usually means they will start laying later and stop laying earlier.

Make sure you feed 50% wheat as well as layers pellets - the drakes don't need the layers and don't want so much Calcium - so they will take more wheat than pellets. During the winter months after laying has stopped, many waterfowl enthusiasts feed 100% Wheat.

Ducks are hardy and sickness is unusual if they have the right environment, water and food. The only common thing that seems to knock ducks down is when they are eggbound... something you seem to have found already. Hopefully that will be the end of your problems.
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Re: Runner Ducks

Postby spotter » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:45 am

So is 2 &1/2 yrs getting old? The corn mix I feed has lots of wheat and the Drake does not seem to eat much and I read that they are quite capaple of sorting out the wheat for themselves. They are freerange in a moderate to large garden and sometimes the veg plot. So it would seem they are just slowing? Keep these and replace with younger stock is that the way to go? But I would not want too many, but many thanks and I am sure i will have more to say.
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Re: Runner Ducks

Postby Tim » Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:19 pm

No, 2 & 1/2 isn't old but they will lay less eggs in their second year than their first and so on. If they free range they will probably find many nutrients that way too. They will only take what they need usually. Free range ducks rarely over eat.

A few more things - water should be fresh and near the food as they eat - drink a little - eat drink a little and so on. Scares can cause a duck to stop laying - vermin at night, dogs etc. Low egg yield can be apparent but not real, if they are released too early they might be laying somewhere else than the house but it sounds like your ducks have just layed what they are going to lay this season. When they moult, feathers are 80% protein so their bodies cannot usually produce eggs at the same time. Some will - from a pen of a dozen ducks you may get one or 2 eggs per day. Moulting in ducks usually happens between mid August and late October. Some people will feed a little animal protein to help (although technically not allowed according to defra) - dried cat food (not dog food as the protein is derived from cereals).

Hope this gives you some ideas.
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