why do ducks bury eggs

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by isabrowneyedsue, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. isabrowneyedsue

    isabrowneyedsue In the Brooder

    Aug 29, 2009
    upper michigan
    just a quick question, WHY? LOL, i thought she was making a nest to set on, but she doesn't set. then i thought she stopped laying, and i found oh, 12 eggs buried under the shavings, and i could only see half of them. the second part of the ? is, should i throw them away, or can we still eat them. it's been cold, and they are all clean, lol. i can't stop laughing, this is silly! i hate to throw them out, but i would hate to eat them and get sick.

    all thoughts welcome
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Depends how cold. Have they been blow 45 degrees for the entire time? If yes, then I would candle them to make sure nothing has started to develop and use them.
  3. K4zn4v3

    K4zn4v3 Chirping

    Oct 16, 2010
    The main reason ducks bury there eggs is to keep them safe from predators. Foxes raccoons and many other creatures love to eat eggs.
  4. spinn

    spinn In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2010
    duplicate post... sorry!
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  5. spinn

    spinn In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2010
    So, I am the "predator" then when I dig them up and take them. [​IMG]

    Always makes me feel a little bad.

  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    I find that my ducks bury them more often in cool weather than warm. I do think it's an instinct based in the fact that the reason ducks lay eggs, evolutionarily speaking, is to procreate. So even if they're not "planning" to set on the eggs, the cool weather triggers that instinct to protect the eggs from extreme conditions by burying them.

    They do also try to hide them in various ways, and they will change the location of a nest if they notice the eggs keep disappearing--again, an instinct having to do with procreation, imo.

    I don't have any expertise to back that up, but it has been my observation and that's the explanation that makes the most sense to me.

    As for eating them, personally I don't eat eggs that I haven't been collecting daily. I just really like to know precisely how old the eggs are before I eat them. But practically speaking, eggs will generally tell you if they've gone bad, so you could just crack them and see how they smell. You can also judge based on the size of the air cell, which is easy to judge by floating the eggs in a bowl of water--older eggs will have a larger air cell due to evaporation, so they will float. Eggs that are still fresh will sink. Borderline eggs will sink with the air cell end standing up.

    I can afford to be picky because I have more than twenty duck hens, so I am never short on eggs. But if you only have a few hens and want to salvage what you can, submit them to the float test or the sniff test (after cracking), and go with it. Just make sure you cook them well if you're not sure about age--I'm not positive, but I believe the risk of salmonella infection from eggs increases with the age of the eggs.

  7. Smiles-N-Sunshine

    Smiles-N-Sunshine Songster

    Oct 19, 2008
    Palominas, Arizona
    Oh goodie, I was just getting curious about this myself! [​IMG]

    I'm picky about the eggs I sell at the farmers market, but much less so with the ones I eat myself. So, when I found eight eggs in the corner of the coop my five ducks use, I did the float test and the sniff test, hard cooked them, and found them all very tasty!

  8. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Songster

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    My ducks always lay their eggs in the duck house in the same area. They always bury the first they lay, then cover them lightly and lay another layer. They can have a larger hatch that way and they need the space to move eggs around to cool them or warm them. This is how they calibrate all the eggs so that they hatch together. (Duck House sits on ground, but has 1/2 wire covered with dirt, shavings and hay when building nest and in the winter). They know they have nothing to fear from predators here, they put themselves in the Duck House at night. Doesn't matter how much shavings or hay they have, they will scoop it away and lay those eggs right on the ground, cover them with shavings then lay another layer of eggs and cushion them with hay in the winter or just the shavings in the summer, then sit them. But the eggs are constantly rotated, all the eggs. (I used to number them and the numbers would shift positions daily). I dont bother anymore. If there's a bad one the duck will roll it out of the nest and I dispose of it for her.

    I have one that started to sit yesterday [​IMG], so its fresh in my mind how each day she has been working on the nest and its the same as in the past. Only she's older and bigger now and this nest is the grandmother of them all with 5 ducks laying in it. Why can't they take turns? Why don't they each just make their own nests to begin with? Not my ducks, they like sharing and she has taught the younger nieces and her daughter how to go about it.

    So, now another nest is starting, so I will be removing those eggs, daily. Which means they will probably end up sharing the big nest again at some point. Muscovy due date - Xmas [​IMG], guess we aren't going anywhere this year. [​IMG] Pretend these are ducks [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So the question is why isn't your duck sitting them? Something bothering her? Is the nest in a duck house and secure? If not move it to a secure area. She may just want to lay more before she sits. There is no magic number. I would leave the nest alone if it is secure. If she is turning the eggs (sitting for a while) each day and checking on them, she should sit soon. Make sure she feels secure and is not disturbed by other ducks or chickens. My girls always set the hatching nest way in the back of the duck house. Everyone stays out of the duck house except her and the Drake once she starts to sit. (Drake will go and sit with her from time to time throughout the day. Just keeping her company). The rest just go in at night. If she is a young duck, she may not realize she needs to sit the nest , so I would lock her in and see if she sits it. If not take out half the eggs and see if she lays more then sits. If not , then you may need to waite until the next time she makes a nest. Good Luck.
  9. isabrowneyedsue

    isabrowneyedsue In the Brooder

    Aug 29, 2009
    upper michigan
    hey guys, you all rock!

    thanks for the info, i will see if my eggs sink or swim ha ha. i guess i will just have to sift through the bedding a little better, i never thought of it as a way for her to hide her goodies, and that makes great sense....she seems a little mad at me this morning, and has already made a new hollow for herself in the other corner so i'm sure she will get over it and lay a bunch more eggs. too funny these animals we all love, and i guess there is a method to their madness lol.

    hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving ! ! ! !

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