Broody Mallard and Foxes

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by BlackberryAcres, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. BlackberryAcres

    BlackberryAcres Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 8, 2012
    Hello knowledgeable duck folks! ;)

    We have a breeding pair of Cayugas, and a Mallard. The Mallard is broody, and is taking it seriously now. ;) For the last few weeks she would sit on the nest for most of the day, then leave it around 5 and join the other two wandering around the yard, then would go into the duck barn with them at night. In the morning she would rush over to her nest and start the process over. Last night she refused to leave her nest. I put food and water by her, and she ignored it until the other two came over in the morning and started eating it for her. ;)

    The nest that she's sitting on is not in any enclosure. It's at a corner of our house, so she's protected on two sides. We have a pallet full of hay in the corner but not against the wall, so she's kind of in an "L" shaped area- so if something came at her from one side, she could run the other way.

    We know we have foxes on our property. We've never seen them at our house, our dog seems to be pretty good at running off deer and foxes and large birds. :) BUT the dog is inside at night. And since the Mallard is sitting out there all night alone, I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to help protect her? I'd considered a dog house over her, but then there is only one entrance, so if something came at her she wouldn't be able to get away. Any suggestions?

    We're also trying to figure out if we want to take advantage of her broodiness and stick some fertilized eggs under her. We also have 5 day old ducklings and had considered giving her one to take care of. If we do give her fertilized eggs, then we'll need to get the eggs that are under her out- they're the eggs that were in the nest when we discovered it about two weeks ago so we marked them and left them there, and have just been taking the new eggs out daily. But the old eggs might explode if she's sitting on fertilized eggs until they hatch, right?

    Thanks for any thoughts!
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    First of all, [​IMG] Now you have a broody mallard sitting on eggs that aren't fertile? and your thinking about giving her some that are? I'd say she is very vunerable to an attack and she could never out run a fox, coon or any other type of pred. for that matter. If she isn't sitting on fertile eggs get her out of there unless you want to put a dog house over top of her and put a door on it so she can be locked in plus something around the bottom so something can't dig under. I doubt she would accept 5 day old ducklings, but you could try one and see if she accepts the one she may accept them all but do it at night, remove a few eggs slip the duckling under her and back off just far enough to see how she reacts, if she starts to attack it get it away quick, if she lets it get under her then put the rest and wait and see how she reacts. she may just take them. but you want to be ready in case she doesn't. If she accepts all the ducklings or just a few take the rest of the eggs away so in the morning she'll be ready to start taking care of her new kids. More than likely if you move her she will not continue to sit on eggs. I would try to get her into a more suitable place though before attempting any of this. Do you have another room where you can close her in with fertile eggs or ducklings? Because they don't like to be moved and she may give it up altogether. what ever happens though safe is not safe now. Good luck and let us know what you decide please.
  3. BlackberryAcres

    BlackberryAcres Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 8, 2012
    Thank you! So, if I take away all of her eggs she'll stop sitting there? She has made a couple nests outside of the barn and every time we take all of the eggs, she just finds another place to make a nest. But maybe if she did that, at least she wouldn't be broody on it?
  4. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    Indeed there is a reason they use the term "sitting duck". You could try to move her nest over to the duck barn and hope she stays broody. Others have moved nests successfully, i have read. Otherwise, you could put a dog house over her nest and put up a welded wire fence with t- posts and something fox proof over the top to create a temporary pen Her eggs that she is sitting on should not go rotten for at least 25 days after she has been sitting on them, I would think. You could try giving her the duckling after she is done brooding and see what happens.

    By the way, she maybe through with the laying phase. It is hard to say. Usually they will lay their clutch over a week or two and then get serious about brooding. Sometimes they will quite laying if you take the whole clutch away, but occasionally they will start laying a new clutch.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  5. DuckLover3

    DuckLover3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2012
    Marlborough, CT
    I don't think it's a good idea to have her outside of the house, even though she's surrounded by fence. I've lost way to many ducks due to them being out to want to take that chance with your Mallard. And even if she got away, any eggs that you wanted to hatch would most likely be eaten, so you would be putting her at chance and you might not even get any ducklings. I would say get a small house with a door, a floor, and good ventilation that could not be torn away if a raccoon wanted to get in, and take the unfertilized eggs out of her nest, and then either put her nest into the house, or take it away entirely and give her new nesting material. I can't say for sure if you take away the nest that she will make it in the house, but I think she would because ducks like to hatch their eggs with as much protection as possible, as you saw with her making her nest in a corner, so she would most likely choose the house to build a new nest. If you put her already built nest into the house, I can't tell you exactly what she would do, whether she would accept it or not want to remake it because she thinks it isn't safe because it was moved, making her less likely to use the house. It all depends on her. But whatever you do, when she starts using the house you can leave the door open during the day and shut it at night, keeping her and the eggs safe from predators.

    It's normal that she didn't go for the water and food right away. Brooding ducks get off the their nests very rarely, so that's fine, she will eventually get off of her nest.

    As for the duckling, she might accept him/her or she might not. That also depends on her. I tried to let my female duck take care of a duckling and she actually was trying to hurt it, biting at it and chasing it into corners. But my neighbor also tried it with her ducks and they readily accepted it, so it really depends on the duck, whether or not she has had ducklings in the past and whether she thinks this is her duckling.

    Good luck!
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    If you don't want her sitting there take all the eggs their infertile right? and tear up the nest, she may go somewhere else and make another but if you stay on your toes you may be able to get her in an appropriate nesting place this time. My duck is sitting on eggs inside a storage building in a dog crate. I can close the door to the crate and also the building. I can usually tell when she is going broody and get her moved without much trouble.

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