More and more families are discovering how great ducks can be for laying eggs. Sometimes, however, they run into problems when their ducks start laying soft eggs.
Why Do Ducks Lay Soft Eggs?
Ducks usually lay soft eggs due to a lack of calcium or vitamin D in their diets. Young females also typically go through stages of laying hard and soft eggs, as it takes time for their oviducts to fully develop.
Every duck owner wants to ensure their birds are healthy and well-cared for. Unfortunately, a soft egg could be a sign that something is wrong, so it understandably causes some stress.
Thankfully, ducks are resilient animals, and you can solve your soft egg problems by making tweaks to their environment or diet.
Below are some of the most common reasons for soft eggs and how you can help your ducks lay healthy, hard eggs.
Spotting Soft Eggs
It’s easy to know when your duck is laying soft eggs. A normal duck egg has a hard shell that protects the yolk and the egg white inside.
A soft egg, however, feels like a water balloon. The shell will move as you press it. As a result, it doesn’t offer the same structure or protection that eggs need.
Lack of Calcium
Calcium is a vital component for strong, healthy eggs. Ducks need plenty of calcium because they lay eggs regularly. If your ducks don’t have enough calcium, their eggs will start to soften.
A lack of calcium can lead to other health issues, and soft eggs are an early indicator. If you act quickly, you can increase the calcium in your ducks’ diet to avoid sickness, brittle bones, and other related problems.
Once you have increased their calcium levels, you should start to see healthy eggs.
One of the simplest ways to increase calcium in their diet is to add crushed oyster shells to their feed. They are affordable, and you can buy them online or at local feed supply stores.
There are many products available with crushed oysters in them marketed to duck owners who want healthier eggshells.
Lack of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is another essential building block for healthy duck eggs.
Get your ducks outside and in the sun as much as possible to increase their natural vitamin D levels.
If that doesn’t work, or you live in an area without much sun, then you can start adding vitamin D into their food. It may add to the cost of feed, but keeping your ducks happy and laying strong eggs is worth it.
Another thing you can do is give your ducks plenty of space for them to forage. Eating grass, bugs, seeds, and plants are all fantastic sources of vitamins and minerals.
If your space is small or there isn’t much grass, ducks may fail to get the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
Your ducks may be laying soft eggs because they’re still too young.
If you’re raising ducks and they’re still little, soft eggs aren’t much of a concern. It’s normal for them to lay a mixture of soft and hard eggs as they develop.
As a general rule, you typically need to wait up to 30 weeks before you can expect a duck to lay hard eggs.
With these young ducks, all you can do is wait. Give them a month or two and monitor their eggs. If they’re still very soft, you may want to supplement their diet with calcium or Vitamin D.
Soft eggs can also be the result of stress.
Different factors can affect your ducks’ eggs, such as not having enough room or the presence of other animals.
Young children sometimes struggle to play with ducks gently. They pick them up, toss them around, and hold them even if the bird doesn’t want to be held.
This can lead to elevated stress levels and soft eggs.
You should also check to see if any other animal is bothering your ducks, like rats, foxes, or hawks.
The ducks could be scared at night and not get enough sleep. You can set up a camera outside to monitor what happens at night.
Ducks are usually healthy birds that don’t get sick easily, as long as their environment is clean, and they get the right feed.
However, soft eggs can be a sign of sickness. Their body starts to reserve strength for other functions, which means the duck only produces soft eggshells.
Look for any other signs your ducks aren’t feeling well, like blemishes or unsteady walking. Ensure they’re eating properly and drinking enough water.
To prevent your ducks from getting sick, you can follow the tips below:
- Keep their pen clean – If ducks walk and sleep where their droppings are, it gets on their feet and can cause infections.
They can also track it into their watering area and ultimately drink their droppings. Give their pen a regular sweep to prevent issues.
- Ensure access to clean water – Ducks can get sick if they drink dirty water. Giving your ducks clean water is the best thing you can do to prevent disease.
- Shade – Ducks need shade and cover from the sun and rain. Give them a place where they can hide from the elements if things get too windy, wet, or cold.
Don’t Worry Too Much
Every duck owner encounters soft eggs at some point. It may be worrisome at first, but keep in mind that it’s fairly normal.
Your duck could be working through some health issues or may be too young to produce hard eggs consistently.
Remember to monitor your birds to make sure they’re not sick. The problem could go away by itself in a couple of weeks. If the issue persists, try adding calcium and vitamin D to their food.
If your ducks get really sick, call the vet to see if they need medication or some other intervention. Hopefully, you can get them back in good health in no time so they can continue laying hard, healthy eggs.