Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bess

Sorry to say it, but we've had to let Bess go. She developed a prolapsed oviduct, and it would have required an expensive visit to a vet to repair her. It just wasn't worth it to us to take the time or spend the money. Apparently it is somewhat common, we've just never experienced it before. I believe she was our first duck to lay eggs; the day we first had eggs, she had a wet, drippy rear end with something hanging out. This led me to believe she was the one to lay. Perhaps she had problems right from the beginning, although it did go away and she was fine for a while.

Bess began to lay eggs on November 15th, just 2 1/2 weeks after I began lighting the duck house to encourage laying. It wasn't until January 26th that we found more eggs from other ducks. In the meantime, we had a couple of whopper-sized, double-yolk eggs--one was 4.5 ounces. They must have been hard to push out!

Apparently the prolapsed oviduct can be caused by a few things:
1. A duck that's been artificially encouraged to lay too young, and lays eggs before their bodies are mature enough.
**I don't believe this was the case; I didn't begin to add light before the recommended age (I began at 21 weeks. Sources suggest anywhere from 19-23 weeks.)
2. A duck may have strained too hard when laying extra large eggs.
**This may have been the case for Bess.
3. The drakes may have been overly abusive to the duck.
**I suppose this is possible, but I haven't noticed, and I don't have too many drakes in ratio to the hens. (1 drake to 4 hens seems reasonable.)
4. A duck may inherit this trait.
**Maybe???
5. She may not have had enough calcium, which not only helps form the shells, but give strength to the muscle structure in the vent area.
**This is possible. I was not giving oyster shell or other calcium, but solely relying on the calcium content in the layer feed and some crushed eggshells added to the feed.

So, I don't know why this occurred, but I think I will be more careful in the future not to attempt adding light for young ducklings. I may just let nature take its course, and they'll lay on their own time-clock, not mine. I will also give free-choice oyster shell.

Our visit to the wolf sanctuary last August.
Bess was taken today to our local wolf sanctuary. That may seem extreme to some readers, but after all, it's the "circle of life", and these wolves are unable to be in the wild to find their own food. They appreciate donations of fresh meat.


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