If you’ve just hit the first winter season in your duck raising journey and you’re concerned about your ducks egg production, you’re not alone. Either that or perhaps you’re merely curious about a ducks egg-laying habits.
Either way, a highly anticipated question for anyone raising or considering raising their own ducks is: do ducks lay eggs all year round?
After all, nobody wants to go hungry in winter, right?
Here’s what influences a duck’s egg laying, whether ducks lay eggs all year round, and how to encourage ducks to continue to lay regularly throughout the year!
Do Ducks Lay Eggs All Year Round?
Although there’s more than a handful of factors that can influence a ducks egg-laying habits, there’s one main differentiator as to whether a duck will lay all year round or not.
That is, wild ducks tend to lay more seasonally, while domesticated ducks have been progressively bred and raised through the ages to produce eggs all year round.
Now, how consistent this egg laying is, well, that can depend highly on other factors such as the seasonality, diet, health, and the breed of duck too.
What Influences A Ducks Egg Laying?
Setting aside wild ducks for the moment, which tend to only lay their eggs in spring (between mid-March and July), we’re going to focus on what influences a domesticated duck’s egg laying.
It’s in these situations that we can truly observe the effect that seasonality, diet, and environment have on a duck’s egg laying.
Here’s our experience with the primary influences on a duck’s egg-laying cycle, habits, and consistency.
No matter what type of domesticated poultry you’re talking about, whether it’s ducks, chickens, etc, seasonality always plays a huge impact on their egg laying cycle.
Generally speaking, ducks will lay more eggs, more consistently in the summer and spring months, and noticeably less in winter and autumn. This is even true for domesticated ducks!
A natural first thought would be to link this to the temperature difference between these months.
Although this is in part due true, the most influential difference is linked to the actual length of the day, being longer in summer months and shorter in winter months.
Light has a direct impact on stimulating poultry’s egg-laying cycle.
Just like in laying hens, female ducks (male ducks don’t lay eggs!) require a high amount of protein to keep up regular egg production.
But, it’s not just protein, it’s also calcium (for egg shells), antioxidants, nutrients, carbohydrates, fats, and all.
If you’re wanting to maximize healthy egg production, then layer feeds will almost always be superior to normal feed.
The direct environment of a duck can also play a huge factor in their egg production.
As a pretty quick and clear example, free-ranging ducks that get adequate time in direct sunlight and plenty of time foraging will certainly lay more than those kept in confinement.
Different Duck Breeds Have Different Laying Patterns
Just like in chickens, some breeds of ducks have a higher tendency to lay more frequently and consistently than others.
Some duck breeds have an easier time laying all year round, some duck breeds will pretty much exclusively lay during spring.
Here are some examples of different duck breeds’ laying patterns, including our experience with Indian Runner ducks and Khaki Campbell ducks.
Let’s start with probably one of the most common duck breeds out there: the Mallard.
Really, in America (and the rest of the northern Hemisphere) Mallards only lay their eggs between mid-March and July, the optimal time for raising their ducklings.
No matter what you do, the Mallard breed is pretty limited to these times for its egg-laying.
Khaki Campbell ducks are a backyard farmer’s dream bird. They’re gorgeous, ‘easy’ to raise, and consistently provide delicious, nutritious duck eggs.
Even though they’re smaller than your average duck breed, they’re capable of laying between 200 – 340 eggs per year each.
Although the Khaki Campbell drakes (males) don’t lay eggs, they do boast a number of quacking good qualities themselves.
Indian Runner Ducks
Indian Runner ducks are prolific layers, quite consistently laying about 300 eggs per year, all year round.
Their eggs are big boys and have a light-greenish-white color to them.
They even start laying as early as 4-6 months old.
How to Help Ducks Lay Eggs All Year Round?
No matter the duck breed, it’s practically a certainty that any given duck will lay more eggs during the warmer months when the days are longer, compared to the colder months when the days are shorter.
However, there are some key actions you can take to help your ducks lay consistently AND healthily all year round. Here’s how.
1. Feed Them Right
A duck’s egg-laying process takes a lot of energy. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it!
Really though, for a laying duck to continuously produce eggs in a healthy and sustainable way, they need to be having sufficient protein, fats, and carbohydrates, as well as the necessary vitamins and minerals too.
It’s recommended that your laying ducks have at least 16% protein in their daily diets. But, this should be seen as a minimum target intake.
By feeding your ducks a formulated layer feed (seeds, pellets, grains, and more) with at least 16% protein, you’re giving your ducks the best chance to continue healthy egg production.
But everyone likes a bit of variety, so it’s perfectly fine to give your ducks other treats, snacks, and healthy table scraps too!
2. Suitable Space
Although ducks don’t necessarily mind the cold (or rain for that matter!), having a well-insulated and suitably sized coop is essential for raising happy and healthy quackers.
You should aim for about 3 square feet of space per duck in your coop (it’s 4 square feet of space for chickens!).
Make sure you have a few suitable nesting boxes made up too, adding about one nesting box per 5 female ducks.
3. Raise The Coop
If your climate’s winters get particularly cold, it can be a good idea to actually raise your coop about a foot off the ground.
You’ll be surprised at just how much of a difference this makes to the inside ambient temperature of the coop.
It also inherently protects your coop from potential flooding and even certain predators too.
Look. Let’s keep it super simple.
Wild duck breeds tend to lay seasonally, in the warmer, spring months of the year. Domesticated ducks (for backyard companionship or farming) lay pretty steadily all year round.
Of course, it may not be as consistent as one per day and they may have breaks between their egg-laying cycles, as ducks usually lay in “clutches”.
Still, to help your ducks lay as frequently but as healthily as possible, ensure you’re feeding them optimal dietary requirements and providing adequate and suitable space in and around the coop.