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Caring for Duck Eggs

March 24, 2011

I noticed this morning that a mallard hen made a nest in my backyard. This afternoon I had a yard service put mulch down. When I got home the duck was gone and the eggs were covered with mulch. I uncovered them and I really hope she'll come back! Do you think she will return? How long will the eggs be OK without her setting on the nest?

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By Monte from Overland Park, KS

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March 24, 20110 found this helpful
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I don't really know, but I suspect she's gone for good. That was a lot of disruption for her nest. I don't think the eggs will survive for very long without her heat.

We went out to eat last night, and they've put a little "river" through this shopping area. When we were leaving, I noticed a goose was sitting very intently behind a large rock/stone. I suspect she was sitting on a nest. Not a very good place to pick, considering how close it was to the parking lot & how busy the area is. We watched her for a little while, and I had to keep reminding my daughter not to try to get close, because I didn't want to scare Mama away. But I fear that others will not be so careful.

I think you'll just have to keep the area as quiet as possible, and watch & wait. Good luck!

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Anonymous
April 5, 20160 found this helpful
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She won't return. I once disturbed a duck, while she was sitting on her eggs and she never came back, once she knows you've seen the eggs, she won't come back.

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27 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Yesterday my little brother and I were at a local park with a lake/pond. Well there's geese and ducks there and my little brother was feeding the ducks while they were laying down, he got too close and they jumped into the water. After they swam away he found an egg in shallow water.

We grabbed the egg and took it home and put it in blankets and under a lamp that lets off a lot of heat. It also has small crack. I need to know what I need to do. Also when I candle the egg, you can see the embryo at the top.

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March 29, 20160 found this helpful
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Unfortunately, an embryo in an egg that was in cold water for an unknown period and that has a cracked shell is most probably dead. If the embryo was still alive when you placed it under a hot lamp without knowing the required temperature, it is certainly now dead as the embryo must be kept at a precise temperature in an incubator.

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March 29, 20160 found this helpful
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If you find another duck egg and it is not yet cold, try keeping it at 37.5°C, which is 99.5°F. If Your room is dry, mist the egg occasionally with water.
This will only work if the egg is still warm from the mother when you find it.

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March 14, 2012

Yesterday I found 4 duck eggs and I have been watching them. The mother hasn't come back, so I took them into my house and I am keeping them warm. I need to know when they are going to hatch, which then leads me to needing to know how old they are. Does anyone know how to tell how old an egg is?

By Gracie

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March 14, 20120 found this helpful
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Have they been fertilized by a male duck? Unless they have been you will just have some warm duck eggs. Maybe that is why the female duck left them.

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March 16, 20120 found this helpful
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Hold them up to a light and see if there's any development going on, that's called candling! This site is for doing chicken eggs, but, will give you an idea!

shilala.homestead.com/candling.html

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March 18, 20120 found this helpful
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Take a toilet paper core, the egg and a flashlight into a dark closet. Egg in one end flashlight at the bottom and you will see if there is a youngster developing in there. Call wildlife rescue in your area as there are all sorts of things that are needed for developing eggs. They have to have proper temperature, proper moisture, proper turning.

Should they hatch, do not help them by peeling shell away. That kills them as they bleed very easily. Please call wildlife rescue if you want them to live. Ask at your local feed store if they know someone to help you.

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We had a mallard put a nest by our back door. She has been nesting. It is now almost time for the eggs to hatch and something killed her last night. How can we save the eggs/chicks? We know they are fertilized as one egg did break a week or so back and we could see the tiny orange feet. Thank you.


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September 6, 2015

I found an egg the size of a chicken egg lying in a creek today. I was wondering if anyone knew what kind of egg it is and how to look after it. It was really cold so I ran it under some warm water. I hope it's okay. Now I just have it in a blanket under a lamp.


I don't know what to do next!

Kind Regards.

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September 8, 20150 found this helpful
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When an egg comes out of a chicken, it comes out "wet". That fluid is a protective covering, which when dry (it dries almost instantly by the way), keeps a lot of bacteria from entering the egg, because the shell is porous.

If you found the egg in a creek, it is most certainly dead. Not only is the protective fluid washed off of it but even if there were a fertilized embryo in there it asphyxiated from having been submerged in the creek...sorry about it but there it is. You should pitch it because soon it will start to smell bad.

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September 8, 20150 found this helpful
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Sadly, I agree with the previous posters. I think it is very likely that the embryo in that egg is dead. If it was in water and very cold, that would kill it. I have hatched chicken eggs in an incubator in a school science lab, and they need a constant warm temp, a fairly high humidity, and need to be turned twice a day. It takes about 22 days, if I remember correctly, maybe longer.

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June 23, 2011

We live on a golf course, and a few weeks ago a duck laid its eggs in a neighbor's empty clay flower pot filled with some dirt on her front porch. She has been sitting on them, but today it rained all afternoon, and when we went over to check, the eggs were floating in water in the pot. We removed the eggs, put in fresh warm potting soil and moved the pot under the porch awning where the pot would stay dry.

At first the mother would not come under the porch. She stayed where the pot had been in the rain. i showed her the pot with the eggs, and she immediately hissed at me and jumped in the pot and my husband moved it back under the porch. She stayed in the pot while he moved it, of course hissing and trying to bite the whole time.

Will she continue to lay on these eggs even though the pot has been moved? We have checked from a distance several times, and she is still there.

By Leslie S

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June 23, 20110 found this helpful
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I found this online, hope it helps!
If the nest is in potentially dangerous location:
"Guess" when the eggs will hatch based on observations. How long has the female been seen on her nest full time? It is important to have a general idea of when the ducklings will hatch.
If the nest is in a residential area mom and ducklings can be chaperoned on their walk back to the water if there is a concern about vehicular traffic in the neighborhood. Use the guesstimated date to plan for this walk. Also get the assistance of a couple of neighbors, but discourage bringing children along because the mother duck may view them as a potential predator.

If the nest is separated from the water body by a major road, the following should be done:
Find out what body of water the female utilizes. Try to observe her as she leaves the nest for her early morning or late evening feedings. If intervention is needed, taking mom and ducklings to the wrong water body will only make matters worse. In other words, you can not guess (you must know where she is headed). Once she begins incubating, the female can be seen flying to the water source where her mate is waiting (once or twice a day - early morning or late afternoon), for food and water. The water body is usually within 200 yards of the nest site. Even if the exact location is not know, the direction which she usually heads is needed.

Based on the "guesstimate" of when the eggs should hatch, approximately one week before the due date erect a 12-24 inch tall wire or mess fence around the nesting site. The openings should not be larger than 1 inch, otherwise the ducklings can escape, but the diameter should be wide enough to allow mom to fly in and out. This fence will prevent a mom from moving the ducklings until assistance can be provided. However, this only be done if the nest is in a location where someone is observing it daily and the move can occur on the same day (otherwise the ducklings could die from dehydration, starvation, or predation).

Once the ducklings hatch, they can be moved into an escape-proof pet carrier and walked to the water body. Only one person should do the "walk"; a crowd of people or too much activity will deter mom from staying nearby. Mom must be able to hear and preferably see the ducklings throughout the move so she does not get too discouraged and abandons them. If mom flies away, set the carrier down until she returns (usually within a matter of minutes) then resume the "walk". Once you arrive at the water body, set the carrier down then back away and let mom and babies vocalize with one another for a minute or two. If you open the carrier before they have identified their mom, they will scatter.

wildliferehabber.com/.../item.php?itemid=7

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June 28, 20110 found this helpful
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We get ducks nesting in the yard often, and I believe she will continue to sit on them. I am very surprised she sat in the pot while your hubby moved it. LOL. That must have been a sight. When the babies hatch, she will most likely have them moved before you will ever get a good look at them. That's usually what happens to me. They always seem to hatch while I'm at work. :(

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April 11, 2018

My daughter found a duck egg in our pond on Sunday. It was on the edge, but in the water. We do not know how long it has been there. She is trying to hatch it, we have it in an incubator and it has been there since Sunday.

Is there any chance the egg is even still good? It hasn't been warm outside only in the 30s and colder at night.

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April 10, 2016

I found a cold egg in a park and I family visited. It had been there for about 5-6 hours. I've been keeping the egg fairly warm and still. The egg had been laid that day and I'm not sure if it has even been fertilized, but now my siblings and I are so exited to maybe have a little duckling.


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April 10, 20160 found this helpful
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If the egg has been cold for several hours, any inhabitant was most probably dead long before you found it. Also, even if there was a living embryo inside when found, it would have died as the embryo requires specific temperature and humidity over time to survive.

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March 13, 2014

My 6 year old son found an egg, a duck egg. He brought it home. We have it under a light. But we want to know how long would it take for it to hatch?

By Anthony D.

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March 16, 20140 found this helpful
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If you just have it under a light, it most likely will not hatch. They have to be kept at a stead 99.5 degrees and with a humidity of 55%. They also have to be turned at least 4 times a day. Then, if all conditions are just right, most breeds hatch in about 28 days. The humidity sometimes needs to be changed as well, depending on the duck breed.

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June 16, 2013

About 6 hours ago, we found 9 duck eggs in front of our house in our flower bed under our bush. When we opened the front door the duck mom left, she did not come back. We are worried. I have a small basket and I've put a soft blanket underneath and we've put all 9 eggs in the basket. I covered them with a tea towel and two soft table cloths. The basket is now in the garage. Our questions:


What do we do now?
How do we take care of the eggs?
Will the mom come back?
Do we put the eggs back?
Please give us some answers, it is urgent.

By Victoria

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June 25, 20130 found this helpful
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I would suggest putting the eggs back where they were. The mama may come back to them. Do not leave the blanket or anything with the eggs! If she doesn't come back in the next day or so,put the eggs back in the basket with the blanket. You will need to hang a light of some kind (for warmth) about a foot or so from them.

Also, turn the eggs over at least twice a day.That's what we did when we found our duck dead.We had about 12 eggs in all. All of them hatched out in about two weeks, except for one. We gave them away to our farmer friend. LOL
There is a chance that the mama will come back! Give her a chance first before you do anything else. Good Luck, Kathy

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May 3, 2012

We had a mallard hen lay 11 eggs, 1 was broken. She sat and hardly ever left. We thought they would start hatching about the 4th. We've been checking off and on. She was there Monday! Today she is not there and 3 shells are broken there is down in the nest.

By Teri

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May 18, 20120 found this helpful
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I don't know for sure, but I get Birds and Blooms Magazine and read it cover to cover every time. If I remember correctly, one of the articles said that they do come back. She may be coming back at night and leaving in the morning to eat. You can try taking one egg and try hatching it yourself but these efforts usually do not come to fruitation unless you are absolutely sure you know what you are doing. So if you try it, don't be too disappointed if the egg does not hatch.

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We found one lone, what we believe to be a mallard egg, in our ornamental grass. Should we do anything?


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May 29, 20170 found this helpful

Leave it be. The mom will sit on it when she is done laying. If you go messing with it or moving it, she will not come back to it.

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My cat gave me what looks to be a duck egg, I put it under a lamp that is about 30°c and put some wool around it, it was still rather warm when she gave it me. Any hopes of it surviving or do you think it's already dead?


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May 26, 2019

I have this unknown kind of egg from the lake. Can we hatch it?


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