It’s nesting time for the ducks!

Most ducks will start to pair up between October and November, and will start nesting in March and we find that the majority of people welcome nesting ducks into their garden and really enjoy watching them. 

Ducks will prefer to nest near water although you may find them nesting in a dark corner of your flower bed.  The female generally makes her nest in a well-hidden place or in a natural hole in a tree or in a duck nesting box.  She will build a nest from leaves and grasses and line it with feather down plucked from her breast.

If you would like to encourage nesting ducks, you can do so by creating a safe environment for them by providing a duck house or nesting box.

Food for the female duck should be readily available while she incubates her eggs so you could put out a bowl of drinking water, together with duck pellets, place the food in an accessible area some distance from the nest.  It is important to not interfere with the incubating ducks as they must be left alone.

Because of the legal protection ducks and their nests receive in all parts of the UK, do not be tempted to chase away a duck that comes into your garden in the spring because she must be allowed access to her nest.

Eggs are laid between mid-March and the end of July. The normal clutch is about 12 eggs, laid at one to two day intervals. After each egg is added, the clutch is covered to protect it from predators.  If you find a nest full of duck eggs, leave it well alone – it is unlikely to have been abandoned.

Once hatched, the ducklings are very vulnerable to predators such as herons, cats, foxes etc  so providing a duck house will provide the mother and her brood a safe place.