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Is the Mallard on a dead nest?

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:16 am
by Duncan McKenzie
I hope I can get some advice from some experienced duck keepers.

A pair of Mallards appeared on our pond a couple of months ago. The female looked as if she was looking for a nest site and so we knocked together a duck house in the middle of the pond away from cats and foxes and she moved in and started laying. We had seen them mating and so assumed that the eggs would be fertile and were looking forward to ducklings.

On 9th May there were at least 5 eggs that we could see and she was on the nest most of the time.

If she laid another 7 eggs at one a day then I assume she would have had a full clutch by the 16th May.

We have absolutely no experience of this and so have been googling like crazy and were expecting something to happen after 28 days which would have been 13th June.

By our calculations, today is more like day 31 or could be much more if she stopped laying at 7 eggs. It could be less if was not laying at 1 egg a day but every second day. She is still on the nest and turning the eggs frequently. The nest is on a floating island in the middle of the pond and so we can't easily get very close to have a better look at anything.

These are wild ducks that appear to have adopted us and we feel somewhat responsible as we built the duck house.
My question is, Will she still be sitting on the nest after all this time if none of the eggs are viable? If so, is it best to try and remove the eggs so that she can try again?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Re: Is the Mallard on a dead nest?

Posted: Tue Jun 16, 2020 11:30 am
by dorsetduckowner
Hi! Sounds like you are taking very good care of them! She will know exactly what she's doing! She wont sit on an empty nest and will likely kick out any unviable eggs. She may well have lost the first clutch and lost them and be onto the second. You just have to sit and wait! Something will happen at some point and I am sure she will let you know about it :)
Keep us updated please!

Re: Is the Mallard on a dead nest?

Posted: Wed Jun 17, 2020 4:57 am
by Duncan McKenzie
Thank you Zo,
Any updates, I will let you know.

Re: Is the Mallard on a dead nest?

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:01 pm
by Duncan McKenzie
An update...

Sadly, she wasn't succesful. We let her sit on the eggs for 2 months. She looked absolutely exhausted. Today we shooed her off the nest and recovered the eggs. We broke one open and it had definitely been fertilised. We had a few scorching hot days and think that there was perhaps not enough ventilation in the little hut we built.
As soon as she was off the nest she had a feeding frenzy and a good wash. TBH, she didn't seem too bothered at all which was a surprise. We will add some more air holes and keep her fingers crossed that she comes back next year.

Re: Is the Mallard on a dead nest?

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:13 pm
by dorsetduckowner
ahh what a shame, she will make a good Mum when she is successful! It doesn't take them long to get over it!