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Can You Move a Duck Sitting on Eggs?

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You don’t have to go far to see online videos of ducks dive-bombing unsuspecting people who make the mistake of walking too close to nests. Ducks and other birds can be fiercely protective of their eggs and young offspring.

It’s always best to leave a sitting duck alone. Trying to move the nest and the eggs can cause undue stress and lead to the momma duck abandoning the eggs out of fear or some other emotion. If you can, leave the nest alone.

However, there are some circumstances in which the duck has to be moved. The eggs could be bad, for example.

duck laying on eggs in a nest

Additionally, the location of the nest and the eggs could be unsafe. If it’s in a high-traffic area or next to a busy road, there could be enough concern to warrant a move.

Moving a duck sitting on eggs is trickly, and efforts should be made to make it as easy and stress-free for the bird as possible.

Here is some helpful information on what you should do if you need to move a nesting duck.

When Safety Is a Concern

The drive to hatch eggs and protect the nest can be very strong. Animals, including ducks, will go to great lengths to have babies.

They’ll risk their own safety by nesting in open areas where predators can find them, or they’ll find a good nesting location without recognizing that it’s close to a park where people go or near a business where there is a lot of foot traffic.

What she’ll end up doing is stress out over every person who walks near, and either become a menace or abandon the nest.

Call Before Attempting to Move a Wild Duck Nest

People should never attempt to move or otherwise tamper with a nesting wild duck or their eggs. It’s always better to call for public assistance rather than take matters into your own hands when it comes to a wild animal.

Most places have animal control and wildlife resources focused on handling these issues, and they generally get to you quickly.

Also, in some places, certain types of ducks and other animals are protected by law, so moving the bird or the nest could be a crime. Just play it safe and, if you see an issue, call for help.

Ducks laying on straw in a cage

The Difference Between Wild and Domestic Ducks Sitting On Eggs

The main difference between wild and domestic ducks is that they’re used to humans and changing conditions. If you raise ducks on a farm or as a hobby on a larger property, they’re used to you walking up to them, touching them, feeding them, etc.

There is likely a higher level of trust and comfort there. Domestic ducks are also accustomed to changing conditions in their pen.

They’ll see you there washing it out, laying down straw, setting up a water feeder, and other upkeep. It’s not going to stress them out too much if you walk in the pen.

Still, even domesticated ducks are going to be more anxious about anything that comes near them while they’re sitting on eggs. If possible, leave them be.

There are, however, certain times when moving the duck is absolutely necessary. If, for example, other ducks are bothering the nesting duck, the duck is sick or injured, or if the nest is located in an exposed area where things like raccoons or foxes can get to them, then you may need to take matters into your own hands to protect your bird and her eggs.

Moving the Duck to a Mirror of Their Nest

The most important thing you need to do is make sure the conditions where you’re moving the duck and the nest are the same or as close to where they came from.

A lot of people have success just picking up the nest and the mother duck all in one and putting them in a box to move them all together. Even then, some ducks will get very upset and won’t sit on their eggs after the move.

If you can, let the mother duck sit on the eggs for a few days before you move her. This will help her create a stronger bond with the eggs and she will be more eager to sit on them again after the move.

If you move a duck early in its brooding phase, then it’s easier for them to abandon the eggs and not think too much about it.

You may also want to put some heavy gloves on because, as you get closer to the nest, the duck is going to take the hint and will become very defensive.

They may try to bite you to get you away. Some owners report that their duck becomes very unhappy and aggressive, but they’ll stay sitting.

Have an Incubator Ready

Before you move your duck, you need to realize that sometimes it won’t work and the duck will not sit on the eggs again after the move.

Will the duck abandon her nest? Sometimes, yes. That’s why you should, if you are dead set on hatching the eggs, have an incubator ready.

Trying Limiting Space

If your duck isn’t sitting on the eggs again, one thing you can try is to put them and the eggs in a confined area where there isn’t much else to do. They’ll notice the eggs and perhaps will get a little bored. With nothing else to do, they may try giving the eggs another seat.

Some owners report having success by isolating the duck and their eggs. They go away for a bit and return as a brooding bird!

How to Encourage Ducks to Nest in a Safe Space

The best way to get your duck to nest in a safe place is to make sure the conditions are right where you want them to nest.

It can be stressful for owners to see their ducks in far-flung parts of the property or places where it’s hard to monitor progress. By arranging some things, you can create ideal spaces closer to home or to the pen where nesting is safer and more manageable.

Generally, ducks like to look for bushes with good cover where they can hide the nest from other birds and any would-be predators. You can try to let an area of your yard or garden where you want them to nest grow without trimming it for a while.

Longer weeds or larger vines could present an attractive spot for any ducks looking to build a nest. Make sure there is an ample supply of food and water near those spots and hope that the mother duck will make the right choice.

In the end, it’s very difficult to set a spot and get your duck to choose it. They are fairly secretive about where they put their nests because of their instinct to protect and conceal.

It’s always best to leave the duck alone on the eggs. If you have to move the duck, just make sure you have a backup plan and know that abandonment or ruined eggs are a real possibility.


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