URGENT runner duck on unprotected nest.


10 Years
Oct 31, 2009
Somerville, AL
I posted this under the duck link but any info would be appreciated.

Yesterday I could not find my black female runner. I finally found her sitting under some vines. She moved when I approached and there was nothing there. Todya, I again couldn't find her and went to the same spot and discovered sitting on a nest with 6 eggs. They must have been covered in leaves yesterday. I am excited as the breed is not known to go broody but very concerned as she located her nest outside of the run at the edge of the yard along the fence line. There is no protection at all there.

What should I do? Can you move duck nests? Should I let her set and see what happens? I'm in Florida and there are many predators though I have yet to find any evidence of anything other than fruit rats trying to get into the chicken coop or duck run.

I was thinking of covering the nest with an extra large dog crate without the floor. Any ideas would be welcome.
I would put a fence around her.

I use the dog exercise pen around and then more over the top.

I've moved a goose nest, but geese are very serious about their parenting duties. I don't know that a Runner would stick with a nest if you moved it.

If you can't put a fence around her, then pick her up with the nest and confine her and the nest in a safe location, where she can't get out and return to the old spot.

You are better off to lose the nest of eggs than to have a predator get your duck because she is in a risky location.

If you have access to an incubator, fire it up. Then move her and the nest and if she abandons the nest, put the eggs in the incubator.

The large dog crate would be better than nothing. Weight it down, so a predator can't just knock it aside.
This is just my experience with runners hatching out eggs (we have 4 black runners currently sitting on eggs that have babies in them, one set started to pip just a couple of hours ago--all the nests are in places of their choosing--the tractor shed, the feed room of the horse barn and 2 are in the flowerbed in front of the house. We had 3 hatch out clutches on their own last summer, one I only discovered when she came out of the hay shed I go into EVERY DAY where she had been hiding with 9 eggs and they all hatched):

Moving the nest will make my runners stop sitting every time. The runners are looking for an excuse to give up sitting: too hot, too cold, hungry, thirsty, no view from the nest, they miss their friends...

Putting a fence around them will often just trap the mama when the raccoon or mink climbs or tunnels in.

The eggs seem to be a better target for predators than the mama; every time we have lost a nest to predators because mama chose her own spot, the nest was raided and as soon as the predator showed up, mama left and was fine and acted like nothing happened the next morning. The one nest that was gotten by predators this spring was actually in the coop where she was supposed to nest. Darn those 'coons!

What I would do in your case: Candle the eggs when she gets up to get a snack. If they are no good, get rid of them and she will go back to the coop and you will sleep better. If they are viable and you want to incubate them in the house take them. If you want her to do it, you will have to risk it and let her sit where she is. Good luck to you and Mama Duck!

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