6 Tips for Maximizing Duck Egg Production
Most people don't know that ducks are more efficient layers of eggs than chickens. As ducks are larger in size, they also produce larger eggs with greater protein values.
But for ducks to produce their best eggs you need to create the ideal environment for them. Here are six tips for maximizing duck egg production.
1. Provide fresh feed and water
Laying ducks require a healthy amount to feed to support their egg production. The amount of feed depends on your flock size and breed.
Generally, ducks consume feed within 15 to 20 minutes of feed being distributed. It's important to make sure your feed is easily accessible and to distribute feed evenly to ensure that your entire flock gets the nutrition they require.
Water is often a topic that many are uncertain about as ducks are swimmers. But research suggests that ducks don't require large amounts of water or need to swim daily. In fact, they are largely adaptable to their surroundings. They do, however, require clean or reasonably clean water regularly, especially in the case of egg-laying ducks.
Lighting is used to help ducks realise their full production sooner and also to decrease the moult period.
In certain cases, supplementing natural light with artificial light for his much as 15 hours can aid with egg production.
Research from the Department of Industry of Australia shows that light intensity of 10 lx is best for egg-laying ducks. Our recommendation is to ensure that you can control lighting to create the ideal environment for your flock using dimmers.
3. Egg collection
Ducks generally produce eggs at night and in some cases early morning. As with chicken eggs, preventing damage and exposure to moisture environments (typical breeding grounds for bacteria) is important.
It is possible that ducks will be laying while you're collecting eggs, and if this is the case, allow them a couple of hours before returning for collection.
Remove dirty and rotten eggs as soon as spotted, as they will not be suitable for consumption and could have bacteria that can spread to healthy eggs.
4. Egg cleaning
Newly laid eggs are susceptible to bacteria and microorganisms that penetrate shells and spoil them. To prevent spoilage, gently rub eggs with fine steel wool. This will remove excess dirt and manure. Then, use a damp cloth as a final touch.
Eggs can easily spoil if exposed to cold water as the cold causes eggs to contract and draws in unwanted bacteria. Should you need to wash eggs, it is recommended that your water temperature be around 45°C.
It is possible that you may need to wait for a larger volume of eggs before beginning your incubation cycle. If so, try to keep your eggs for less than seven days as longer periods will decrease the possibility of eggs hatching.
Ideal temperatures of storage should be maintained at approximately 13°C or 55°F, with a humidity of 75%. Eggs should also be turned daily.
Incubation can differ depending on the breed of duck. For example, Pekin ducks require 28 days to hatch, where Muscovy will need 35 days.
Incubation is a delicate process and it's recommended that you create the right environment for your eggs to produce the right results. This includes:
1. The right temperature and humidity
2. Adequate ventilation
3. Regular checks on the incubator to ensure its working optimally
Ducks are better layers than chickens. But to enable them to produce healthy eggs you have to ensure that your flock gets the rice amount of feed and quality water, sufficient light and that you take good care of eggs when laid.
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Source: NSW Department of Industry