by Lorane Tebbut
I have a male and female Indian Runners. The female has been sitting on eggs for about 4 weeks and has just come off the brood. When she left the nest I was going to check the eggs only to find that all the eggs had disappeared including shells.
Is this a common practice to eat the eggs or should I be investigating for other causes? I can't see where anything else could have eaten the eggs.
Lorane, duck egg shells are far tougher than chicken eggs, and so duck egg eating doesn't happen that often. I am not saying that it doesn't happen, it does, but to a far lesser extent. One of the main reasons for this is that they are looking for calcium, and also once they get the taste of eggs, it is difficult to stop.
Because of the different shell structures, it is understandable how sometimes chickens eat their own eggs. However, when they do, there is usually evidence of some yolk still about that gives an indication of what happened.
When I kept chickens in MacKay, QLD I was constantly finding snakes around the coop area, including brown snakes! As I was reading your story, this was my first thought to your prolem.
Snakes are crafty blighters and can squeeze themselves in and out of some very small spaces. Make sure that the wire on the duck house is snake proof.
I am not sure how your duck house is set up, and whether you have and open run, but if so, you could also have lost your eggs to possums.
By making sure that your duck house is predator-proof, feed her additional calcium in the form of crushed oyster shell, and her next clutch of eggs should result in a happier ending!
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