If you’re one of the minority out there who actually checks the Morning Bray Farm egg counter, you might have noticed a recent drop in the number of eggs that Emmy and Izzy have been laying.
Up until a couple of weeks ago, the girls were laying eggs for us like gangbusters. But so far in March? Only four eggs. And three of the four eggs didn’t have a shell, only a rubbery membrane.
While Emmy and Izzy otherwise seem fine, the sudden change was very worrisome. I scoured the Internet for possible reasons, but wasn’t able to find any good answers.
Earlier this week, I took a trip to the feed store to see if Junior; our local expert, had any ideas. When I explained that our girls had laid like crazy over the winter and had suddenly stopped, a puzzled look came over his face. “Your girls should just now be starting to lay. They shouldn’t have laid eggs over the winter,” Junior said. Uh-oh.
Our duck expert’s first question to me related to *light*. It was then I had to tell him (shamefully) that our ducks were kept in lighted conditions 24/7 the entire winter. “Yes, we keep heat lamps on in the barn when it’s cold – for both our goats and the ducks,” I said.
Junior explained to me the significance light has on egg production, and we figured that Emmy’s and Izzy’s sudden decline in laying coincided with when I stopped leaving the heat lamps on overnight a couple of weeks ago. Crap.
An increasing day length (January – June) brings sexually mature ducks into egg production and a decreasing day length (July – December) slows or stops their egg production. When I started leaving the heat lamps on, I increased day length for our girls and they ramped up their egg laying. When I stopped leaving the heat lamps on, I decreased their day length and they stopped laying eggs.
If only we knew what we don’t know. Junior said it’ll be a little while before they start laying again. Uh-oh.