Two Duck Eggs in Nest

When do ducks start laying eggs?

Your tiny fluffy ducklings have somehow transformed into a duck. They quack all the time, poop everywhere, and somehow turn everywhere around their water into a mudhole. They’re fun, but you’re wondering when you’ll get the rewards of all the work and money you’ve put into them. Where are those eggs?

Depending on the breed and the season, you can expect your first eggs when your ducks are 4-7 months old, or when breeding season starts.

Ducks mature and become old enough to lay at 4-7 months or 16-28 weeks of age. Smaller breeds, such as bantams and Runners, will lay earlier, often around 4 months, and heavier breeds such as Pekins and Muscovies will lay later. Khaki Campbells will start laying around four months, or 17-18 weeks of age, and Muscovies start laying when they’re about six months, or 25 weeks of age – unless they reach this age during fall or winter.

In the wild, ducks will start laying at the beginning of breeding season, at spring. Some domesticated ducks, especially types such as Mallards, still are somewhat seasonal in their laying and will often only start laying in spring regardless of age. If you use artificial light to artificially extend the length of the day (which is often done to keep ducks laying all winter), then they are more likely to start laying earlier, when they reach maturity, instead of at the onset of breeding season.

So if your ducks are older than 28 weeks and haven’t yet started laying, you may have to wait until spring.


4 thoughts on “When do ducks start laying eggs?”

  1. I raised a single orphaned muscovy duck, now she doesn’t want me to handle her and doesn’t trust me she is 3 and half mos. Old. Is that normal behaviour? I never mistreated her.

    1. Hi Myrna,

      Good question! It seems to be something that frequently happens (at least with Muscovies) during the adolescent stage. I’m really not sure why, but I have two guesses. It could be just a “teenage” thing that has to do with their maturing. Or it’s possible that growing feathers makes them sensitive and tender, because I’ve noticed that all my ducks become skittish during every molt.

      Either way, don’t worry, it’s not your fault, and it should pass. All the Muscovies I’ve ever had, as best as I can remember, behaved with what seemed to be irrational skittishness for about a month when they were growing up.

      But while she’s in this sensitive stage, do try to refrain from handling her, especially petting and holding her, since it upsets her so much.

      Hope that helps!


  2. My Muscovy female duck started laying 12 days ago, and still doesn’t seem to be getting broody. She sits on her nest of eggs for only a few minutes at a time, and is found wandering the property foraging majority of the day. If those eggs aren’t good anymore and she never gets broody enough to set her eggs, will she continue laying eggs daily or take a break? There is a drake always around and they’re still actively mating. I’m considering to start taking those eggs for food.

    1. They don’t always go broody. Some Muscovies go broody on every single clutch they lay. Others only go broody once or twice a year–or never. Muscovies are generally known to go broody a lot, but not all do. I have girls that are four years old and have only been broody two or three times in their entire lives.

      And if this is her first ever clutch, she’s probably not going to go broody. For some reason, domestic Muscovies rarely go broody on their first clutch.

      Likely, she’ll stop laying within a few days and take a break. My ducks will lay a clutch, stop laying for a couple weeks, and then lay another clutch. It does depend on the strain of Muscovy, though. Some strains, especially the ones bred for production, lay far more consistently and rarely take breaks, while other strains, usually the ones that are closer to their wild origins, only lay a few clutches in spring and then don’t lay for the rest of the year.

      I would certainly suggest taking the eggs for food. If she decides to surprise you and go broody anyway, you can always give the eggs back (assuming you haven’t already eaten them all).

      And if she doesn’t go broody, maybe she will on her next clutch.

      (Also, the drake has nothing to do with whether she lays eggs or goes broody. He only ensures that the eggs will actually hatch. Ducks don’t really know whether their eggs are fertile or not, so they’ll gladly go broody on infertile eggs.)

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