Ducks are one of the wild animals that we hear about less in the wildlife removal world. While we tend to focus on creatures such as snakes, rats, opossums, and the like, ducks can also become a nuisance for human properties, and in this article, we talk about what to do if you find a duck nest in your yard.
So first of all, let’s see why there are ducks on your property…
Once the mating season is over, ducks set about finding the right nesting place for their ducklings. Unfortunately, they don’t pay that much mind to this particular topic and have been known to nest in all sorts of inappropriate places, such as apartment blocks, or in other areas near humans which may put them in danger.
While it’s difficult to tell why a duck chooses your particular yard as a nesting space, there are some elements that make it more likely to discover ducks on your property, such as the presence of a fountain, pond, or proximity to some other water.
How to recognize a duck’s nest:
The nest will typically be about 7-8 inches in diameter (so roughly 17-20 cm), and not too deep. It will usually be covered with dense vegetation, but really, any type of grass available in the nearby area will do.
After the nest has been built, the duck will begin laying its eggs within the next 3 days.
So what should you do? And what shouldn’t you do?
Interestingly enough, ducks (as well as other migratory birds) are protected by law, and so you really shouldn’t attempt to move or disturb them on your own, or else you risk incurring legal penalties.
Ideally, you’ll want to contact a local wildlife removal expert like Nuisance Wildlife Rangers. They will be better equipped to determine what you should and shouldn’t do about your duck problem. Until someone arrives to deal with your duck situation, we recommend avoiding the area altogether, so as not to disturb the birds, and if you must go out into the yard, at least avoid walking around the nest.
Generally, we recommend leaving the duck nest alone and keeping children and pets away from it, also. Don’t attempt to relocate it somewhere. While this intention may be innocent enough, the mother duck might not interpret it as such, and you may unwittingly disturb the hatching eggs in the process.
You can try figuring out what species of duck is nesting in your yard, as you wait for the eggs to hatch. For example, you can visit pestwildlife.org to learn about Muscovy ducks.
How long does it take for duck eggs to hatch?
Of course, the hatching process will be a little different from one duck to the next, but usually, once incubation has begun, the hatching process itself takes no more than 28 days.
While this may seem like a long time, surely, you can avoid disturbing the nest for one month. Once the nesting and hatching period is over, the mother duck will lead its ducklings to water, usually on the first day, or in the next few days after hatching, and so leave you alone for good.
What if you don’t live near water?
A lot of homeowners, once they’ve made their peace with their new, feathered neighbor, begin asking a different question – but what if my home isn’t near a water source? Sure, it’s all good and well if you live right next to a pond, but what if the nearest water body is five miles away? Should you intervene? Should you call a professional?
While you can and maybe should call a professional to put your own concerns to bed, it’s usually the case that ducks know what they’re doing, often better than you do. The mother duck knows how to safely conduct its ducklings to the nearest water source without coming to harm, and really, you shouldn’t intervene.
If you like, you can feed the mother duck while she’s raising her eggs. However, keep in mind that this risks attracting other birds, as well as other wild animals to your property, which might not be your intention.