Will Wild Ducks Lay In A Nest Box Or Man-made Nest?

Ducks like to lay in a rounded nest with plenty of nesting material. Domestic ducks don’t always like to lay in nest boxes especially if they have to climb into the box, so will wild ducks lay in a nest box or man-made nest?

I live in a property with a small river flowing through next to the old town mill site. The old mill pond adjoins my garden in which there are as many as a hundred ducks sometimes, brought presumably by the locals who feed. There appears to be a resident population of 60/80 who spend inordinate amounts of time on my banks. Occassionally I find a clutch of eggs which I always leave but it has occured to me that these ducks are probably laying all over the place. If I were to create/provide nesting boxes would these wild fowl take advantage and lay their eggs there? thanks Adrian

Hi Adrian,

Thanks for your interesting email. Your place sounds very nice and what a duck population you have. I only have 7 resident ducks which I hatched out the incubator last year!

With regards to your question about creating a nesting area or nest boxes –

I would say it is worth trying but as they are wild fowl they may not respond to your efforts but if you create a nest site that they feel is a safe place to lay then they may well lay there.

My ducks tend to like a large nest that is built up with lots of straw. I have kept some pot eggs in the nest all the time and I take out the real eggs. Putting some white pot eggs (if their eggs are white) in your nest may encourage them to lay.

I have read that ducks don’t use nest boxes especially if they have to climb in and out. Having said that I have tipped a plastic tub on it’s side and put straw in and a pot egg and one of my ducks snuggles into that and lays an egg everyday. I also have an old milk
crate which I have added straw to and one of the ducks lays her egg in there so they can lay in nest boxes.

All of my nests are in the hut that they shelter in on a night and the ducks lay sometime in early morning. As they lay between daylight and about 9am the nest site needs to be a place where predators are unlikely to see them at that time of day.

Just to let you know I have a free forum with a section on ducks.http://farmingfriends.com/forums/forum.php?id=5

I hope that helps.
Good luck and let me know how you get on.
Kind regards
Sara @ farmingfriends

Do you have experience of wild ducks laying in nest boxes and man-made nests, if so please leave a comment?

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3 thoughts on “Will Wild Ducks Lay In A Nest Box Or Man-made Nest?

  1. Hi – htis isn’t a comment on the above but a request for info!
    I have just found a mallard mum and her 12 chicks in my garden, it’s not a huge garden but there are lots of trees and shrubs and birds love it. There used to be a pond here before I moved in over a year ago and I believe it attracted a lot of ducks from the nature reserve about half a mile away, and I can imagine lots of ducks were born here as they seem quite at home! Should I feed the ducks, make water available for them, how old do they need to be before they fly/walk away back to the reserve. My garden is really secure so there is no way they can just walk out. I also have a dog (who alerted me to the ducks) but she isn’t really bothered about them and I’m sure the duck will scare her away if she got too close. Need some advice really about what to do next, I just want them all to survive!
    Thanks Lorraine

  2. Hi a alloway,
    Thanks for visiting farmingfriends and leaving a comment.
    I thought that ducks were ground nesting birds so it does seem strange behaviour to me but could be wrong. I wonder whether you can create a nest site at the bottom of the hedge and put some pot eggs or some old eggs in the nest to encourage the ducks to sit in this nest. From experience with my ducks, the duck nest is quite big and has thick sides.
    Your garden sounds an interesting place for wildbirds. You may be interested in a website my friend has called birdtable news http://www.birdtablenews.com as she writes about the birds that come to her garden.
    Let me know how you get on with the ducks. What type of ducks are they?
    Kind regards
    Sara @ farmingfriends

  3. In my garden I have numerous nest sites (robins tits etc) one of the nest sites is on top of my 7ft hedge. A pair of ducks that have been coming to my garden for the past two years and raised 12 chicks last year has noticed this nest and she decided to try and take it over.Is this usual behaviour for ducks,and how can I stop the duks from taking it over.

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