How to deal with nesting ducks in the spring at PumpjackPiddlewick

And now we enter the phase of nesting ducks.

Somehow it seems appropriate that with Easter comes nesting ducks. I can definitely see why ducks (and chickens) and eggs have become synonymous.

Typically winter is all about deciding on mates. This then leads into brooding ducks as winter wanes. Nesting ducks can occur any time thereafter, but is essentially linked to the weather. As soon as the warm spring weather arrives, the females start sitting.

Temperature Related

I discovered that the nesting instinct is linked to temperature when Maggie used to live all the time indoors. Where there was heating. Her first year of nesting, she had 3 nests. Two nesting phases is not uncommon. Particularly if there are ducklings early in spring, there is always a chance of a second nest in summer.

Because of the heating being on (through autumn/winter) in my caretakers’ cottage, Maggie ended up having a third nest in October, and started on a fourth again in January. Though by then I had figured it out and she spent more time outdoors which quelled the need to lay eggs and brood.

Nesting Ducks

Nesting ducks brings a new phase of ‘how to deal with your duck’. It’s all change again. You go from funny, flirty females before nesting to bad-ass hormonal harpies when nesting. Even my most moderate of temperament have turned into a mild version of duckzilla.

But then so would you if you had to sit in one place for 23 ½ hours. Then you come off your nest at height of the days temperatures to stuff your face as fast as you can, then bathe, wetting your belly feathers in readiness to sit again. (The wet feathers are to create humidity in the nest, which aids in the incubation process.) Full on nesting lasts 28 days, from the first day of 23.5 hours of sitting.

It’s a Boy Thing

And what about the boys? The ‘mates’ will guard the nest, though less and less as the time (and boredom?) wears on. They sit nearby making a certain quiet ‘pwaahhp’ sound to let the girls know they are there. Even if they wander away to stretch their legs or bathe, they will make this sound to continue the connection.

Once though the girls have their binge moment and return to the nest, this is the call for all boys to sidle up to the bar together and swap husband stories. Honest. It really is like that. Late afternoon, I would see my boys gather and they’d all talk at once, not letting the other get a word in edgewise. Truly, I can just imagine the bar, the beers and the ‘my wife is so hormonal stories…’

The Calm before the Ducklings

Mostly life is pretty calm whilst the ducks are nesting, especially compared to the previous two months. The only difficulty at this time is if you have a girl that is not nesting. Because if one isn’t nesting that means she is uber attractive as the only available female to the other males. Then you have to find ways to protect your girl(s) from too much male attention as they will gang up on the female.

For me this has typically involved a lot of dividers and doors. When I have a larger flock, eg more than 1 male, I have the duck enclosure, and any other space set up with moving parts. Specifically for this time of year. The duck enclosure has the ability to at least be divided in half, with two doors that can be kept closed.

Spring Antics

Usually I try for nesting girls on one side, males in the other. This way the boys can visit from afar. And they do. They spend a lot of time with beaks pressed up against the chicken wire fencing, pining with longing.

I will say, with all these spring antics, that I am glad I have an excuse to work and be in the garden. Nesting ducks time is always fraught with chaos and laughter. And in three weeks time it will be all change again as I add in ducklings.

A Word of Caution

Easter, as well as spring, is a time synonymous with cute fuzzy ducklings. If you are tempted to buy one or two at this time – Don’t. Especially if it is just because they are so darned cute. They are also a very messy, long-lived responsibility.

If your thought is to buy and then let loose at your nearest pond. Again, Don’t. It is a death sentence to your duck. They are not wild ducks, and do not have the skills to survive. And, in most places, dumping ducks is now, thankfully, illegal.

If you really like the idea of having a duck as a pet, or keeping a flock of ducks for your homestead, do some research. And then adopt. Because so many people dump ducks that then need rescuing, sanctuaries are overrun now with not-wanted ducks that grew from cute little ducklings.

PS: Love Ducks?

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  1. Love these Ducks . What fun!!! Sarah

    1. 🙂 Thank you!

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