How To Protect Duck Eggs From Predators [And Other Dangers]

If you’re keeping domestic ducks, you should naturally keep them in a predator safe pen and a predator safe coop. Having a pen with a fence at least 6 feet high that is sunk a foot into the earth and has a cover will keep your duck eggs and your ducks safe. Read on to learn more on how to protect duck eggs from predators.

How Do You Keep Wild Duck Eggs Safe?

how do you keep wild duck eggs safe

What do you do if a wild duck decides to lay eggs in your yard? What if you have property with water and you want to encourage wild ducks to lay eggs there. How can you keep these safe? Here are some smart tips and strategies to help you cope correctly with wild duck visitors.

What Should You Do If A Mother Duck Lays Eggs In Your Yard?

Follow these tips if a wild duck decides to make your yard her home:

1. Leave the nest alone

Don’t move the eggs or even touch them as the mother duck may abandon the nest if you do.

2. Set up visual and physical barriers several feet around the nest

You may want to place potted shrubs at strategic positions around the nest so that it’s not so easy to see it.

3. Avoid doing yard work around the nest

Just let the grass grow in that area to help the mother conceal her eggs.

4. Keep threats away

If you have pets, you may wish to set up some temporary fencing to keep them away. Just keep pets, predators, kids and people away from her and let her go about her business.

The best way you can help is by taking steps to conceal the nest and perhaps putting up some signs to warn people away from it.

5. Wait

Once the mother duck has set up a nest in your yard, she’ll need to be left alone for about a month. During this time, don’t feed her or pay attention to her at all.

6. Keep an open path

Soon after the eggs have hatched, the hen will lead her babies to the nearest water. She will scope this out in advance, and there should be a body of water nearby. Be sure that she has a clear path to get out of your yard.

If the fence prevents mama duck from being able to take her babies away when the time comes, put out a shallow dish of water to prevent the babies from dying of thirst and try to create an opening in the direction the mother duck is trying to go.

If they are not able to leave, right away, call a local wildlife rehabilitator or your local agricultural extension for guidance and assistance. Understand that this is an emergency situation and you should seek help to get them happily on their way as soon as possible.

7. Don’t interfere

The most help you can give with the nesting is to simply leave them alone and let them go about their business. Remember that Mallard ducks are federally protected so you’re really not permitted to touch their nests, move it or manually help them.

It’s always best to call a local wildlife rehabilitator or your local agricultural extension for help.

Should I Feed A Wild Duck While She’s Sitting On Her Nest?

Mother ducks prepare for nesting by fattening up in advance of laying their eggs and sitting. You don’t need to feed the mother during the thirty days that she is incubating her eggs, and you should not put out food for the babies.

Putting out food is likely to attract predators, and baby ducks need very specific food. Their mother knows what they need, and you should leave it up to her to provide it.

What If The Ducklings Have To Cross A Dangerous Area To Get To Water?

When mama duck decides to lead her babies to water, you may be alarmed to see that she guides them right across a busy street. If you want to help with this, you could direct traffic as long as you stay safe yourself.

Avoid the urge to pick up the babies and carry them to safety as this can result in mom abandoning the scattered babies.

What If I Find A Duckling By Itself?

If a duckling is by itself, it is surely orphaned. Check around to make sure that the mother is not nearby, but if you don’t see her, you should get in touch with a wildlife rehabilitator.

What If A Wild Duck Lays An Egg In A Weird Place?

Young duck hens who are inexperienced may simply drop eggs randomly until they are ready to actually establish a nest. If you find a duck egg in an odd place, such as on a deck, sidewalk or other area with no sign of a nest in place, simply dispose of it. This egg is probably not viable.

You Can Provide A Safe Setting For Wild Duck Nests

If you have a large pond and/or streams, you can provide safe nesting habitat for Mallards and other ducks by allowing grass to grow long at the water’s edge and by creating floating island nest boxes as demonstrated in this video.

Time To Clean Out The Wild Duck Nests

Wood Duck Eggs Need Special Protection From Predators

Wood ducks make their nests in swampy areas and may need a constructed nest box if there are not old growth trees. A metal predator guard must be placed on the support of the box to keep raccoons, snakes and other egg eaters out.

How To Maintain And Replace Wood Duck Boxes

What If I Don’t Want Ducks Nesting In My Yard?

If there’s a duck nesting in your garden now, remember that it is probably federally protected, so you should simply leave it alone. If you don’t want ducks to nest in your yard next year, make some changes in your landscape that will make it less attractive to ducks.

You can set up variations on scarecrows to discourage ducks from nesting in your yard. Examples include:

  • Garbage Bags Tied to Sticks
  • Flapping Colored Flags
  • Rubber Snakes
  • Fake Owls
  • Scarecrows

If you see ducks coming into your yard and they have not yet set up a nest, you can make noises and chase them off. This will discourage them from choosing your yard as a nesting spot.

Best Predator Protection For Chickens, Ducks And Geese

Resources:

  1. Ducks Nesting In Enclosed Areas and Ducks in the Pool
  2. Wood Duck
Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Farm & Animals since 2019. Farm animals have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.

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