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Author Topic: PLEASE HELP!! A DUCK THAT WON'T SIT ON HER EGGS!!  (Read 11676 times)


  • Joined Dec 2007
« on: March 17, 2008, 12:03:28 pm »

I've tried to read up on this as much as I can, but I have quite a few questions.....

We have a pair of campbell whites and as i've laready posted elsewhere... duck lovin' is going on daily and we started to leave the eggs about 2 weeks ago....

2 weeks have passed and no sign of her wanting to sit on them... if anythig she just seems to kick them about the nesting part of their house...

We also have chickens, and i know you can't make a chicken broody but we had signs that one is. Joe's always been the one to make a secret nest (one we found had over 20 eggs in it) and every now and then she'll just go and sit in the nest box and sit on nothing!!
So yesterday we made the decision to move the duck eggs. After laying in bed yesterday morning discussing at length which chicken would mkae the ebst mum (like we have any idea!!) my other half suggested our first battery rescue gilr as she is gentle and kind natured, and i pointed out Joe, our secret nester and regualr sitter......

So we did it. We inherited 3 chickens fomr a frined about 6 months ago, and our original 3 (Joe is one of these) all decided of their own accord to move into the chickne house the inherited chickens came with.
It's too small for 6 really, but every time we moved them back into their own home they moved straight back out...
The ducks then moved fomr the relatively small duck house into the other chicken house, which isnt as you'd imagine being home made rather than bought, which gives them plenty of room.
Which left us wiht our small duck house.....

Steve put the eggs in the old duck house ... and low and behold when we looked to see where Joe was she was sat in her house on an empty nest... so he picked her up and popped her in the duck house... and she promptly walked out....

Half an hour later she was back in her house sat on an empty nest... so we went again, but this time popped her in and closed the door to give her the chance to get used to the idea..... kind of hoping she suddenly develop a purpose and sit on them... we left her closed in till this morning... (felt bad about it!!)

So this morning we opened up the door and out she came, ate, drank wandered for a bit, and didnt go back in.... well Steve has just phoned me, shes back in the small duck house sitting on the eggs!!!

questions are these...

if they hatch do we then give them back to mother duck?
is it true they will drown if they go to water too soon?
i'cve read that mother duck will get her belly wet then go sit on the eggs? i dont think mother chicken will do this? will this hinder the eggs in any way?

and anything else anyone has ever known about chickens doing the hatching rather than the ducks!!

i am so excited at the prospect and would much rather one of the birds did it than an incubator... although i'm preparing to buy one should this not come off!!



  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2008, 01:34:43 pm »
In my experience chicken lickin will happily brood and raise her duckies but you would only keep very shallow water available for the ducklings say in a roasting tin.  When I incubate duck eggs the hatchlings stay in the bathroom in a box for a couple of weeks where it is warm, then they eventually go into the rabbit hutch with run and start with a pyrex lid, move on to a roasing tin and then eventually a washing up bowl and it works fine. Once large enough they go onto the pond.

Our chooks and ducks will stay on the nest for eternity until they get a hatchling. When I get a broody one we always inclubate a few eggs about three days after she starts sitting just incase  she is sitting on a duff eggs which has happened before.  Once I hear the tap tap inside the shell (but not atually broken through) I slip them under mum and she gets her family. 

Before I got the incubator I used to go to the market and buy chicks a couple of days old, and put them under the hen during the night. It is important to do this in the dark very quietly. We had a hen that sat for nearly two months - when it was apparrent that her eggs were no good, we gave her new eggs which were also not fertile, my French neighbour advised me to buy some in and it worked really well. In our first year we did this three times - two mums accepted them no problem and the other did not. We ended up with a small hen who mothered 20 hatchlings which was a fantastic sight and she raised every one succussfully. We were also successful with buying in goslings for a poor goose that also sat forever on unferile eggs and that was a complete success. Oddly with geese it seems to be the male that raises the young.  The female was totally content to have her brood and then handed them over to hubby.  That seems like a good idea to me! With hinesight we should not have left a hen for two months, but that was inexperience and we learned a lesson from that.

We had a hen last year who was a nightmare. She desparately wanted a nest but didn't want her own but everyone elses. She kept highjacking nests, pulling out the eggs and in the end breaking eggs in nests. We put her in a rabbit hutch in the end to get her out of the way, and after a  couple of days she lost interest. Amazingly she got broody end September early October, and with a lack of fertilised eggs then both in her nest and in the incubator she sat for ever. She finally abandoned her nest end of November and when I broke her eggs a few days after she left the nest I found two out of the four with 2 weeks old embryos in them so had she waited just another week she would have had her family, it was such a shame.

If you are sure that the chicken and the duck are both broody now, I would be inclined to give Mrs Hen new chicken eggs and give Mrs Duck back her eggs.

Ducklings stay under mums wings and body for about 24 hours which seems to be the time that they become waterproof - I think mums body coats them is some way to achieve this or maybe their own bodies develop the waterproof covering - I am not sure. Someone may explain this more fully but that is my understanding.

Sitting time for chickens is around 21 days and for ducks 28. This varies from bird to bird but this is the marker time.  If Mrs Hen has already been sitting for a week it isn't going to hurt to let her go a week over, just keep her well fed and watered.

Mrs Duck will be over the moon I am sure to be off a little earlier!

I must stress that this is my experience and it has worked for our birds.

Good luck

Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !


  • Joined Dec 2007
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2008, 02:10:55 pm »
thanks kate.... i think the problem is mother duck isnt broody and although we have what we think is a batch of fertilised eggs all she does is kick them about her house with no care and attention!! hence the removal form her house and giving them to broody chicken!!
i think this is going to prove to be a learning curve alright..... just when we thought we'd mastered chicken and duck behaviour we're on new ground again!!

still... its keeping us busy... and amused!!



  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2008, 02:21:27 pm »
I think it will work out ok for you.  We know someone who regularly gets her hen to incubate Indian Runners and it is always a good outcome.

If the eggs are not fertile then there is always the option of buying in the chicks at the market for the hen.  If you get a phone number of your supplier at your local market you can ring and order half a dozen once you know what your hen is doing and if her eggs are good.

Keep us posted, always like clucky or quaky stories!

Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !


  • Joined Dec 2007
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2008, 02:31:32 pm »
will do..... if they arent fertilised i'll be gob smacked. Poor old belle doesnt even seem to be able to have a drink in peace these days wihtout Buster jumping her!! Still if nothing else it's wildly amusing when he does this on the paddling pool... ive had to start keeping the water level lower as im sure he's going to drown her soon!! :)

as you have a flock too... how do you keep them out of the house??? my lot queue up by the back door and the second it's open beeline for the conservatory (and the cats bowls just incase theres any catfood or milk left...) and im wondering what the heck we are going to do in the summer as they free range the whole garden??!!!!
i think if i lived on fa arm it woudlnt be an issue but we have a normal house just with a very big garden!! i'd go with the baby starigate option but the buggers will just jump it.................. i'm going to spend the summer with a stuffy house just to keep them out at this rate!! i was going to put a cat flap in for ailing moggy but theyre so determined to set up home in my dining room / kitchen i darent!!

always makes me laugh that whenever anyone comes round they spend hours sat in the conservatory watchign the garden dynamics.... 6 chickens, 2 ducks, an 18 year old cat wiht no teeth (and cancer now too), 3 rescue hedgehogs (wildly amusing when the first one came out and found 6 chicksn staring intently at her) and a disabled rat (tumour on the fornt leg and back leg kaput after my other half failed miserably with the gun.... still able to move faster than light and quite cute too)

right i'd best do some work as i've spent most of the day on duck egg research (again)




  • Guest
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2008, 04:08:23 pm »
Hello Katrina,
                years ago when I had loads of chickens ducks geese etc etc...we had the same problem . The ducks were the worst problem , as I think they saved going to the loo till they got in the door ...then boy did they let rip .... :D :D, anyway , I made a light door frame out of 2"x1" and covered it with twillweld. I fitted it to the ouside of the door frame , the main door opened inwards , the twillweld door outwards...problem solved may have to put on some spacers so that the twillweld door opens flush with the wall , but trial and error will soon sort things out ...Hope that helps a bit ... cheers,   Russ


  • Joined Oct 2008
  • Normandy, France
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2008, 05:26:03 pm »
We have a smallholding so most of the birds just wander around away from the house. However we do have some that prefer the garden, but with five dogs they tend not to come in. It would be like running the gauntlet!

We have friends here who have a chain link door hanger to keep the flies out. It was bought over the internet, but since it is heavier than the normal door hangers, it also could work with chooks I guess. It doesn't look ugly, quite swish actually.

Animals - happy days!

Bonjour et avoir un bon jour !


  • Joined Dec 2007
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2008, 06:15:46 pm »
willing to try anything to keep them out!! funny as it can be at times (chicken found stood in a roller tray of paint .....) he indoors will go ape if he finds chicken poop on the hallway carpet! luckily to date theyve only got that far once... my delightfu teen was lounging on the sofa and tuned to see one of the mabers trotting donw the hall and heading towards the stairs.... grr!!! :)


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