Caring For A Broody Duck

Allowing a duck to sit on eggs and attempt to hatch them can be a fun and educational experience for you. Going “broody” is the term used to describe letting a chicken, duck, or any other type of poultry set on eggs. 

How to Make A Duck Go Broody

Instead of simply giving a female duck some eggs in the hopes that she will make a nest for them and sit on it, you’ll want to make sure she’s broody first. In reality, we cannot make a duck, chicken or any other bird go broody and want to sit on eggs.  But there are a few things we need to know and things we can do to encourage her to do so. 

duck with ducklings

First, make sure it’s the right time of the year. Longer day length signals to most birds that it’s time to have babies. Early spring to mid-summer is the best time. Then, give her a few secluded nesting spots that are away from the rest of the flock but still secure from predators. 

The Broody Trigger

Once the duck is laying eggs in a chosen spot, don’t lock her away from the rest of the flock just yet. By leaving the eggs in the nest, and not collecting them for several days, you can help trigger her to go broody. The sight of a nest full of eggs is another trigger for encouraging broodiness. When she’s broody, she won’t leave the nest and may “hiss” at you when you look in to check on her. Once you are certain she is broody and stays in her chosen spot all the time, you can then secure the spot from the rest of the flock and predators if needed.

If you want your broody duck to hatch purchased eggs, simply swap out your eggs for hers in the nest. 

A broody duck will only get off the nest once per day to get a quick bite to eat and take a speedy bath. She does still need to have access to a daily bathing spot. Broody ducks are more likely to get external parasites if they are not allowed to swim. Ducks are usually attentive, persistent mothers and require little more from us than to have a secure spot and be left alone with food and a wading spot. 

In my experience, having a broody duck is much easier than having a broody chicken. Ducks are usually great mothers and are quite dedicated to their nest and subsequent hatchlings when given a chance. Leave us a comment below and let us know about your experience with having a broody duck.

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