how old do ducks have to be to lay eggs

How Old Do Ducks Have to Be to Lay Eggs?

Ducks have to be 5 to 7 months of age to start laying eggs. However, this timing can differ depending on the duck breeds and the environment they live in.

For example, lightweight duck breeds usually mature sexually faster than heavy breeds. And once they mature, different breeds can give a different number of eggs at a given time.

But generally, ducks need at least 17 hours of light to lay eggs every day. Hence, most ducks lay eggs often, if not daily, when living in a warm and well-lit environment.

If you want to learn more about how old ducks have to be to lay eggs, continue reading.

What Age Can Ducks Lay Eggs?

What Age Can Ducks Lay Eggs
Image credit: Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Ducks usually lay eggs when they reach the age of 18 to 28 weeks, but this may vary, based on the type of duck and environmental changes.

Lightweight duck breeds like Bali, Magpie, Runner, and Campbell mature sexually faster, and they can start laying eggs at only 16 weeks.

Once they start laying eggs, lightweight ducks have a higher chance of giving you eggs daily. Such ducks are great options if you want to keep ducks for eggs.

Heavy duck breeds such as Muscovy, Aylesbury, Cayuga, and Pekin may take longer to lay eggs. They mature sexually at about 20 to 30 weeks.

Many duck owners indicate that not all ducks lay eggs daily, and they usually collect more eggs during warm months and less in cold seasons, even if the ducks are all sexually matured.

All ducks can lay eggs daily in warm seasons like summer and spring, but you may notice a significant decline during fall and winter. Some ducks can even stop laying eggs all together during the winter.

Moreover, ducks that mature sexually during the winter or fall may not start laying eggs right away. But this doesn’t mean that they are still not of age.

Egg-laying delay is common in cold seasons as such weather doesn’t favor ducks. The day length also matters as ducks tend to lay more eggs on longer days than shorter ones.

So, you shouldn’t be worried if your ducks mature in the winter or fall and fail to start laying eggs. They might start when warm months approach.

How Do You Know When a Duck is Going to Lay Eggs?

It easy to know whether your duck is about to lay eggs as there are several signs to look at.

Most ducks will portray various signs just before they start laying eggs and during production. The most common signs include swollen abdomen, large moist vents, and spread pubic bone.

Your duck’s pelvic bones can separate widely and become more flexible when she is about to lay eggs.

So, if you hold your duck and feel that her pelvic bones are spread more than normal, she will probably start laying soon.

Overall, timing is everything. You should start paying more attention to your ducks when they reach 16 weeks of age. At this age, they may start laying eggs at any time.

If you notice that your duck is about to lay eggs, it’s crucial to provide them with the essential needs like enough lighting and a place to lay.

You can get this nesting pad at a great price on Amazon for your ducks:

Keep in mind that ducks can panic when left in a dark place, which may hinder them from laying eggs.

Ducks also love laying their eggs in dark, reserved places, and sometimes they may camouflage them in muddy water, making it hard for you to find them.

So, be sure to observe your duck closely to spot such signs and know when she is about to lay eggs.

Why Are My Ducks Not Laying Eggs?

There are many reasons why a duck can fail to lay eggs, even if she is mature. Here are some of them:

  • Inadequate Lighting: Ducks require 14 to 17 hours of light to lay eggs. If you don’t provide enough light to your ducks, don’t expect them to lay eggs. Even if your ducks start laying eggs without much light, the problem may start after some time.
  • Stress and Anxiety: Stress can cause more harm to ducks than you may think. If your ducks live in anxiety and discomfort, they may not start laying eggs as soon as you want them to.
  • Too Many Drakes: The presence of too many drakes can also hinder your ducks from laying eggs. Ducks are happy and comfortable when there is a good balance of males and females. Ideally, one male should be enough for five females. Ducks can even lay eggs without a male, only that these eggs won’t hatch since they are unfertilized.
  • There is No Safe Place to Lay: Ducks will only lay eggs if they are sure that the eggs will be safe. You should provide them with a dark nest box to lay eggs. If you suspect that your duck is laying eggs, but you can’t see them, you should follow them around, especially in the morning. Perhaps your duck is laying eggs in another place outdoors where they think it is safe.

Final Thoughts

Ducks usually lay eggs when they are 6 to 7 months. However, the environment, day lengths, and duck breed can affect when ducks start laying eggs.

Lightweight breeds can lay eggs as early as 16 weeks, while some heavy breeds can take up to 30 weeks to start laying eggs.

Ducks that mature sexually in cold and shorter days may also delay laying eggs as such conditions hinder them.

If you want to keep ducks for eggs, you might want to go for lightweight breeds and keep them in light for about 17 hours a day. This way, they will lay eggs daily when matured.

Resources

Image credit: Photo by Omar Ram on Unsplash

Recommended Read: Duck Nesting Boxes: The Complete Guide