Can Ducks Move Their Eggs? (Everything to Know)

can ducks move their eggs

Ducks can move their eggs to protect them from predators or when they fall off their nests. However, this occurs on very rare occasions when they feel there’s a threat to their unborn ducklings.

While ducks can freely move their eggs, individuals are prohibited from moving duck nests with or without eggs without a permit, especially those of the Mallard breed.

Why do ducks rotate their eggs?

During the incubation period, female ducks rotate eggs in their nest after random time intervals to ensure even distribution of heat from the brood patch. When you consider the position of the brood patch on the underside of the waterfowl, the eggs at the center of the clutch will be warmer than those on the edge.

How long can a duck leave her eggs?

When the incubation period starts, a female duck, particularly of the Mallard species, leaves her eggs for around an hour every day to find food. Otherwise, she would spend all her time sitting on the eggs for the entire incubation period which can last for up to 29 days.

Other times, the waterfowl can abandon the eggs altogether. The simplest method of identifying whether an egg has been abandoned is to shine a light on the egg.

If the egg is white and you don’t see any veins, there’s a high probability that the egg is dead. There’s no specific period during incubation that this can occur. Therefore, being on the lookout from the beginning to the end of the incubation would be very beneficial.

Do duck eggs move before they hatch?

Duck eggs begin to move on their own when the hatching day is about 3 or 4 days away. The movement is not the same for all eggs as some may rock more than others as the hatching day gets closer. The rocking indicates that your ducklings are doing well and will be out in good shape very soon.

How do ducks move their nests with eggs?

Ducks barely move their nests. Whenever there is imminent danger like predators or the environmental conditions aren’t favorable for their unborn baby ducks, waterfowls will instead move their eggs to a safer location in a more ideal surrounding.

They are protective of their eggs to a point that they will abandon a nest whenever they discover that their nest has been moved slightly. It’s why you’re advised to avoid interfering with their nests.

Ducks move their eggs by rolling them over to the new spot or clutching the eggs in their beaks cautiously to avoid breaking them in the process.

Do ducks bury their eggs?

Adult ducks bury their eggs in the dirt to keep them out of sight. Ducks like many other animals have predators that can attack them and even eat their eggs on some occasions. Waterfowls will cover up their eggs with dirt in the ground for safety purposes as soon as they lay them.

Why do ducks abandon their eggs?

Ducks abandon their eggs whenever they sense impending danger to find a safer spot to build their nests. Typically, waterfowls build their nests near water in a spot that is hidden by the surrounding vegetation. Whenever they notice their nest has been moved by a short distance, they will abandon the eggs for long periods resulting in the eggs becoming dead and not hatching.

As a matter of fact, there is a law that bars anyone from moving Mallard duck nests without a permit.

How to move a duck nest with eggs

To begin with, ducks particularly of the mallard species are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. It’s therefore illegal to move their nest with eggs without a permit. Secondly, the waterfowls won’t recognize their nests when you move them even by a few feet.

The best course of action would be to call individuals with a permit to do it for you or let nature take its course whenever you think the nest is in the worst possible location.

Other actions you can take to help the duck during the incubation period are:

  • Set up signs to alert people nearby and prevent them from interfering with the nest.
  • Build a fence around the location of the nest to keep predators away. This helps in keeping the duck calm as she awaits the hatching of her eggs.
  • Avoid feeding the duck during the incubation period. But wouldn’t this be leaving the duck to starve? Well, the waterfowl eats a lot beforehand in preparation for this period. Furthermore, leaving food out for her would attract predators and endanger both her and her unborn baby ducks.

Final Thoughts

Ducks are very protective of their eggs and will not hesitate to move them if they detect an impending danger such as predators, or the surrounding environment threatening the survival of the eggs.