Thursday, February 24, 2011

The morning egg hunt

The girls have started to lay more consistently and I think everyone is just about done molting. I have been getting 3 or 4 eggs per day, but I have to work for those eggs. I never know where they are going to be. Two perfectly comfy dog houses converted to duck use just don't seem to be good enough. Instead, the eggs were either in the middle of the pen trampled and full of muck, or they were hidden behind on of the duck huts.

The only reason I knew about the hidden nest behind the duck hut is because I went out to the pen early one day and came up one duck short at morning roll call. Then I heard some soft quacking and squeaking. Abby had climbed between the huts and hollowed out a nice little spot in the hay against the back wall of the pen. Ducks may look fat and fluffy, but they CAN squeeze in to inconvenient areas if they want to. In fact, if you go in to any bird pen and think to yourself "what would be the most difficult, inconvenient, and seemingly impossible spot for those silly birds to lay eggs?" and that is where your eggs will be.

I was getting tired of rearranging the pen every morning trying to find hidden eggs or washing off duck mud and decided to borrow an old trick used by chicken owners. You put a fake egg where you want your birds to lay. Apparently this tricks the critters in to thinking that particular spot is a perfectly safe place to lay eggs. After all, there is an egg right there! Of course it exploits the birds inability to count or do a quick material analysis....

Many people use golf balls, but I actually had polished stone eggs used for decoration. As a decor item, all they did was gather dust, so using them as decoy eggs seemed like a much more practical use.

It's been over a week since I put those stone eggs out in one of the duck houses and it is working like a charm. Besides being unable to count or tell egg shell from stone, egg color doesn't seem to matter to them either. They just assume since eggs are already in the nest, this must be "THE spot", so no more lifting up houses and digging through straw. Thanks to all the chicken owners for the great idea.

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