Duck Nesting Habits and 7 Tricks to Easily Collect Clean Duck Eggs (2023)

There are many similarities between keeping ducks and chickens. They can be kept in stables or similar shelters with just a few modifications. You can eat both chicken feeds as long as you add a few extra things to complete a duck's needs.

you can even keepducks and chickenstogether, as long as you give them separate bathing areas. (Ducks bathe in a pond. Chickens bathe in a dust bath.)

But when it comes to nesting habits, that's where the similarities end. Aside from the fact that they both lay eggs, chickens and ducks have very little in common when it comes to natural nesting preferences.

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Strange nesting habits of ducks

Chickens keep their nests clean. Ducks will foul a decent nest in a day or two. Chickens like to nest in a dry place above the ground. Ducks like to nest on the ground.

In fact, ducks even use their butts to move nest holes in moist soil. If the soil is not wet enough to work with, they will float. They then bring water on their feathers back to the nest area to moisten the area.

Also, chickens love to share the same nest box every day. Even if you offer multiple nest boxes, the hens will take turns laying in the same nest. Ducks, on the other hand, do not naturally nest in the same place for very long.

1. Ducks are smart (and stealthy) nesters.

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Ducks will lie down in one place a couple of times. However, when their eggs keep getting stolen (hopefully by you), they will eventually get smart and find another secret place to lay their eggs.

2. Ducks nest in various places

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Ducks also often have multiple locations that they share. If you have more than a few ducks, they will set up multiple nests and take turns lying on them.

So part of your herd could be in a nest. Then part of the pack will use the nest around the corner. Eventually a final group might build a new nest and start using it. Ducks really seem to understand the importance of diversifying risk by not putting all their eggs in one "basket" or nest.

3. Frequent puzzling evidence of nests

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Ducks also have the amusing habit of testing nests before putting them up. Many times I have seen my ducks perch on a nest for a few minutes. Then, for some mysterious reason, they get up and move to another nest. They can go through 3 or 4 nests before landing on the first nest they tried.

4. Ducks build seasonal nests

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Another thing I have noticed is that when ducks stop using a nest, they hide their nests with debris like leaves, bark, and even clumps of grass. You can ignore this nest for a few months. But eventually they come back, clean up the debris, and recirculate the nest.

From what I can tell, they do it seasonally. It's like they have spring nests, summer nests, and fall nests. It's similar to how some people keep seasonal homes.

5. Duck Dirt on Eggs

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There's one last thing you should know about the strange nesting habits of ducks. It is perhaps the most frustrating for new duck owners. Here it comes.

Ducks intentionally soil their eggs. Unlike chickens, which almost never poop in their nests, ducks poop in nests. Sometimes they even roll their eggs in their feces.

I don't know exactly why that is. However, I have found that it is more common when it is hot or when multiple users are sitting on it for long periods of time.

I suspect it has something to do with keeping the eggs cool and moist until it's time to lay the nest. It can also be a way to protect eggs by masking the smell of a fresh, tasty egg with disgusting duck droppings.

The importance of observation

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All of these nesting habits are things I have observed over the past 6 years in free range and caged duck farming. Being able to pay close attention to those little details and guess why the ducks (or other plants and animals) do what they do is one of the best parts of being a farmer.

It's not just about having fun. Good observation can help you adjust your conditions to get the right results with your ducks, other livestock, and in the garden.

I'm about to share some tips that work well for most domesticated ducks and their nesting habits, and will probably work for yours, too. But depending on your environment and the way you keep the ducks, you may need to adjust them a bit to suit your ducks' breeds and conditions.

This is why.

Different environments - different results

Ducks, like most animals and plants, are very sensitive to their environment. So some of the conditions it creates can alter its nesting habits. For example, I have noticed that free-roaming ducks randomly go to bed from morning until 9:30 am. Domestic ducks seem to lay most consistently between 7am and 9am.

Less dependency on light

Unlike chickens, ducks are not completely dependent on light when they lay eggs. In fact, I often find my ducks in bed before there is even a hint of daylight on the horizon.

They go to bed on both a rainy week and a sunny week. Meanwhile, a dense cloud cover noticeably restricts chicken egg production. Therefore, the herd mentality is more likely to trigger simultaneous laying in caged ducks. But that's just a guess.

That's just one example. However, it is important to remember that ducks have different needs depending on housing conditions.

The secrets to collecting (mostly) clean eggs

The nesting and laying habits of ducks are fascinating once you begin to observe them closely. However, they can make it difficult to collect clean eggs. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of finding and collecting clean, fresh eggs every day.

Trick #1: Deliver in the morning

Ducks, unlike chickens, do morning shifts. Every morning around 9:30 am my ducks finish laying for the day. By keeping ducks caged until the end of the clutch, you can ensure that most of their eggs are laid in their night roost.

Now I say "most" because ducks that become brooding can sometimes wait until they have found their perfect nest to lay eggs.varietieslike Khaki Campbells, Pekins, and hybrid layers are less likely to do so. But many of the seasonal layers with historical roots can handle being in a secret location.

Trick #2: Retain water

As long as you have caged your ducks from the darkness of the night before until 9:30 a.m. m. the next day, retain the water. This will prevent them from spoiling your home and nest.

Remember that under no circumstances should you give the ducks their food without water. If you are depriving your adult ducklings of water, you must also deprive them of food. But that's just a good idea anyway.

Food left in a safe shelter overnight will attract unwanted attention from scavengers such as raccoons and even bears. These critters do not usually hunt ducks unless they are trapped in a house with other attractive food. So it is also a good habit not to have food in the shelter to avoid predation.

The only exception is that you cannot keep food and water down.ducklingswhile they are in the incubator.

truco no. 3: Morning food

Feed your ducks mainly in the morning and then let them forage for the rest of the day. This is how they will complete most of their tasks.poop in your grassduring the day and don't care much about their house at night.

Well, some smart ducks make it a point to drink plenty of water right before bed if they know they're going to be caged. They usually released this before sunset in the morning. As long as the sleeping and nesting areas are separate, the bedtime drink shouldn't matter.

Trick #4: Keep nest areas cool

One of the reasons that ducks litter their nest appears to be to control the temperature and humidity.

The part of the house that receives shade in the morning works well. Or you might even want to dig an underground nest that cools naturally and is kept moist by the surrounding soil.

Ducks also like to lie down in dark areas, so they often choose very shady spots in nature. As a bonus, making nesting areas nearly dark will keep things cool and the ducks feel more secure.

Trick #5: Use natural materials for nesting

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Because I raised so many free-range ducks, I can see their natural preferences for nesting materials. I can tell you that they never reach for straw or pine shavings when they have other options. They like dirt and partially rotten leaves.

– Straw versus hay

Sometimes I stack hay and straw in my shelters. I have noticed that ducks often try to build nests in the hay bales, but never in the straw. Hay is a common favorite nesting place for my Muscovys.

– Hartholzmulch

If I had to guess my ducks' all-time favorite nesting material, it would be twice-shredded hardwood. Every time I get a bunch of these the ducks start digging with their bills to make holes to nest in. I can't tell you how many secret eggs I'll run into once I start moving this mulch.

Because ducks love wood mulch and it's so cheap, it's become my favorite nesting material. As a bonus, it absorbs liquid quickly and allows stool to dry faster.

It can become heavy and compacted. Also, composting takes longer. But duck pile and wood mulch are amazing after about a year of composting in a vegetable garden. It's worth the heavy lifting for me.

Trick #6: Make attractive nest boxes

Ducks love to nest in tunnel-like places. Therefore, conservation groups often build tunnel nests out of chicken wire and straw or leaves to encourage mallards to roost in safe places.

Domestic ducks are a little less fussy and will learn to nest in a chicken nest box. But why not make them more comfortable by giving them a design they prefer? Here are a few to consider.

– The nest tube

You can use the...Nesting tube for mallard ducksideas at home This is especially useful if you really want your ducklings to hatch and hatch.hatching eggs.

- The bag of hugs

leave everyoneit can be used to build the perfect nest. Simply cut out a door the size of a duck and cover it with natural nesting materials.

– The good wine of the nests

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Old whiskey or wine barrels also make attractive nesting sites. Some people cut them in half and put them on their side. This isn't entirely ideal, as ducks prefer something with more shade and depth. But collecting eggs from full barrels can be difficult.

When the barrels are full, you can use a fruit collector or a garbage collector tool to collect eggs. Or open a door so you can enter from the back. You'll also likely need a rake to clean them if the nesting material gets dirty.

Less expensive 55 gallon drums are another great option.

Trick #7: Make your job easier!

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As you can see from these nest suggestions, ducks really like deep nests that are closed off except for the door. As long as you can create that enclosed, tube-like feeling, any nest box you can think of will be good for your ducklings.

Whichever layout you choose, you'll want to make sure it's easy for you to collect eggs. You also want it to be easy to clean. After all, frequent egg collection and clean nesting materials are two of the easiest tricks for keeping duck eggs clean.

What to do with dirty eggs?

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Even if you do all of these things right, you may still have a dirty egg or two. Personally, I keep quick track of these dirty eggs so they don't sit on my counter and attract flies.

Or, if I already have a lot of eggs, boil them and give them to the ducks as treats. You can also wash them and store them in the fridge.

Most importantly, the eggshells get thinner and the airflow increases over time. That's why old eggs float and new ones sink. So the longer you store dirty eggs, the more likely something not-so-miraculous will seep into the pores of that eggshell.

understandbut they are so delicious. Keeping them for a long time is probably not a problem in most houses!

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Author: Duncan Muller

Last Updated: 04/07/2023

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