My duck's started sitting...what happens next? Newbie seeking advice please!


5 Years
Apr 16, 2014
Hello everyone - this is my first post here. Please forgive me if this question's been asked and answered - I've had a look around but couldn't see exactly my question elsewhere.

One of my ducks has just started sitting on a nest and, although I don't want to disturb or upset her (and a bunch of ducklings would certainly be cute) I have no idea what sort of long-term commitment I'd be taking on if I let the ducklings hatch, and I'd really appreciate any thoughts you might have.

I recently moved from London, UK, to a house on a farm in rural Cambridgeshire. This is the first time I've lived outside a city. The house has a natural pond in its garden - about 40 feet wide and 70 feet long. The previous owners kept ducks and chickens, and I seem to have inherited three ducks that have been here since I bought the place last November. They are pretty much wild, I guess, but they are also friendly, particularly to anyone that feeds them!

The previous owners left a note saying 'duck food in shed', but no other info. So since I got here I've been feeding them with duck pellets most days (though I've been away 2 days out of 7 fairly often). But other than that I've been doing no 'looking after', not shutting them in anywhere at night or anything: they just live on and around the pond and don't seem inclined to go anywhere else. In the spring, they started laying, and a visiting drake appeared on the pond - at various times he has seemed to try to mount each of my ducks (so I guess I have three girls).

I had been collecting the eggs every day or two as they were being laid - not being sure what I'd do if I allowed so many to pile up that the ducks started nesting. However, I didn't realise that one of them was laying under a bush by the side of my house. By the time I discovered her little stockpile, there were 14 eggs there!

Yesterday, when I fed the ducks, she emerged from under the bush rather than from the pond as she usually would - though after feeding she spent the rest of the day on the pond. Today, she once again emerged from the bush and, after an hour or so on the pond, has returned there and I guess it's safe to say that she's definitely 'sitting' now! There were two extra eggs there this morning, BTW.

My inclination is to let nature take its course, and it feels like it would be mean to disturb her or remove the eggs at this late stage - however, although I can find lots of info about how long ducklings take to hatch, and what they do when they're first born, I have no clear idea what happens over the longer term.

For example, are they likely to fly away once they're grown, or are they going to stick around on my pond and in my garden for ever? How many are likely to survive? Since their mummy is used to being fed by me, does this mean that they are going to be reliant on me for food too? The edges of my pond are already rather eroded, I presume partly from the ducks foraging, and I wonder whether more ducks will mean more erosion.

I guess I am slightly nervous about what I am letting myself in for by having a bunch of babies hatch. My work means I cannot always be around, and although I love animals and am happy to do some basic feeding and stuff, I didn't exactly expect to be acquiring a whole load of new pets when I bought the house!

Thanks for any advice you can give - and warmest wishes from the UK.

Do you know what type of ducks you have?
If they are being fed by you, if new ones hatch, you may end up with new residents of your pond because food is plentiful. If you don't want more ducks, then remove the eggs from her nest.
Hi - thanks for the reply. I think I have three different kinds - a ?Pekin, a ?Grey Runner and, um, a brown one (see photo)! It is the brown one that is nesting.

So if the ducklings find my pond a food-friendly place, they'll stay for their whole lives?

And it's okay to remove the eggs even now - it won't traumatise her? She won't hate me?!

Thanks again. B

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She'll be mad, but she'll get over it quickly.
Take the eggs when she is getting some food.

And yes, most ducks will hang out if you feed them. If mom has stayed, the babies will likely stay.

Pekin, blue runner and maybe a khaki campbell
Thanks for the advice - and for identifying them! I appreciate it. Best wishes.

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