It's been a couple of months since we first chose to purchase ducks. It's been a fulfilling adventure thus far, especially since we started finding eggs! So far, the only breed laying eggs are the Muscovy, they were adults when we purchased them and now that summer is here, they're ready to start reproducing!
I've read that a Muscovy hen can hatch out every egg she sits on, as long as it's fertile. Today I seen something pretty interesting and it was, at first, shocking! Here's a video of what happened shortly after letting the ducks out of their coop this morning.
I visit BackYardChickens.com pretty frequently. They're an amazing resource of expertise and information. I had seen a few posts about chickens eating their own eggs, right out of their nests. However, I did NOT expect Mama Muscovy to do this!
She apparently cracked it in order to carry it, took it into the duck coop and spilled the contents, then let the oozing shell roll down the ramp from the coop, chasing after it until she got a good grip on it. Then started shaking bits of the shell into smaller bites, and ate it.
We have two Muscovy hens, Mama and Pip. Pip seems to be a bit younger then Mama, Sargent Pepper, our Muscovy drake, keeps an eye on her. Although I've never seen him interested in breeding her or caught him on top of her. We've seen him and Mama several times, so hopefully Mama chose an egg that wasn't fertile. It looked just like a yolk from the chicken eggs you get from the grocery.
I know she has a taste for eggs. While grazing, she ended up at my neighbors porch (suddenly, after never before leaving the area their coop is on), when I discovered her, she was eating egg shells that had been thrown over the porch. Their bodies recycle the shells and use them use them for laying eggs, and I am guessing that she needed the nutrients, or just the shell, to lay another egg this morning.
Reasons ducks eat their own eggs
Update on What worked for us:
We did buy a calcium supplement of oyster shells to give Mama Muscovy (Piper).
However, what seemed to work the best for US...is a bit taboo and so many people tell you, "Don't do this!" What I find is that there are many things considered "taboo" about homesteading, farming, gardening, raising a Great Pyranees to be a livestock guardian...you name it, there are things that people say over and over again. You just have to follow your gut sometimes, because many times these taboos are just rumors of the agricultural world. Or at least, that's my experience with every new thing we get into, and all of the advice I get, rather I ask for it or not. Do research, look for people doing things differently and see how it worked for them.
So, we save the eggs shells after WE eat eggs, bust them up in a cup...and feed them to the ducks and chickens! Like I said, I KNOW..."That's going to make them like the taste of eggs..." Think about it like this, if they like eggs, they like eggs.
If you're SUPPLYING egg shells to them on a regular basis, along with oyster shells, why would they need to crack open eggs their sitting on?
We understand if you're afraid to try it. However, if you have a hen you just don't want to have to put in the freezer...and you're willing to try anything to get her to stop, this could work as well for you as it has for us.
The first year of having ducks, chickens, goats and our own garden! Join us on the journey as we share our experiences and lessons we've had to learn the hard way!