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What to Do if You Find an Abandoned Duck Nest?

About 2 or 3 weeks ago, we noticed a mama duck near our front porch on a nest with 10 eggs under her. She has been there 24/7, except occasionally, probably to get food and water for herself. Not for 2 days we have not seen her. What do we do about the 10 eggs?


By Twyla from Hampton, VA

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June 12, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Leave them. Ducks do and must get off of their nests a lot. If it's been over 21 days, then likely the eggs are bad and she decided not to hatch them. (They might be bad in fewer days, too - but at least 21 days is needed to hatch). If they were viable and it's not very hot all day and night and she's been gone, likely they've died in the shell. That's the way that nature keeps the duck population from over blooming. I've learned to respect that, and duck eggs must be kept 99 degrees, but not allowed to dry or the babies will die trying to get out.


You should never help them out because the long time (sometimes a day) that it takes them to leave the egg allows all the blood vessels in the inside of the albumin of the egg to slowly dry up. If you try to get them out too soon, and they can bleed to death as their naval will wick the blood out and not dry up like it should and separate naturally from the albumin.

Also, they're closing up the last of the yolk into their bellies at that time and you don't want to open the egg too soon or you risk them getting infected. Let the ducks handle it- they really know their stuff. And hope for babies! Don't have your feelings hurt if they have more babies than survive - again it's how mother nature takes care to keep populations correct, not too many and thus diseased and starving ducks. It's hard to do - ducklings are the cutest creatures on earth!

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June 10, 20100 found this helpful

First, is it cold at night where you live? If it is you might not be able to save the eggs, as they need constant warmth and need to be turned a quarter turn every few hours. If you have a heat lamp, and a very safe way to keep it close enough to the eggs you might be able to get a few to hatch. I would enclose it and secure it before attempting to do so, as is a fire hazard, best thing is to use a egg incubator.

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June 10, 20100 found this helpful

You may also want to contact a local animal shelter, zoo, park ranger's station, etc. if you do not want to have the responsibility of taking care of the soon to be ducklings

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June 11, 20100 found this helpful

My family found the same thing in our hay field once, so we brought them to the house, and placed them in an incubator. And then, lo and behold we had ducklings. We raised them till they were big enough to be on their own and then we took them too a nearby pond/lake and set them free!

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July 27, 20130 found this helpful

Personally, I would take the eggs, but only because I have raised ducklings, and I have an incubator. Make sure there is no way she is coming back, and put them in the incubator. Good Luck!

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