When do ducks start laying eggs?

When do ducks start laying eggs?

Your tiny, fluffy ducklings have somehow transformed into ducks. They quack all the time, poop everywhere, and somehow, all ground within a 12-foot radius of any source of water is 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?

This article might also be helpful:

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.

Muscovies usually 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.

Have you ever actually witnessed a duck laying an egg? Here’s a closeup video of my two adorable Muscovy duck sisters, Peaches and Mitzi, laying their eggs:

How long after mating do ducks lay eggs?

Often, people see their young ducks starting to mate and assume eggs are forthcoming.

Not exactly.

In the first place, mating has nothing to do with egglaying. Ducks lay eggs regardless of whether or not there’s a drake present.

Also, ducks often start mating when they’re around four months old, which may be months before they start laying eggs. It varies, of course—mating can start as early as three months or as late as six months.

Sometimes ducks will start mating and laying at around the same time, but more commonly, mating starts weeks before laying.

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  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!


      1. my ducks bred yesterday , does that mean she’ll become broody or will lay eggs for me to incubate , can i buy fertile eggs and have her hatch them or will she take care of the ducklings once they’re hatched , this is my first em year with ducks doe 4-h and i got them in august on the fifth at a week old which means they were born on the 29th of July of last year .

        1. Hi Alyssa,

          Breeding and mating doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll lay eggs or go broody. Ducks will lay eggs and go broody even if there are no males around–it’s just that the eggs won’t be fertile. However, since it’s spring, your duck will probably start laying soon anyway, and if they keep breeding, the eggs will probably be fertile. But she may or may not go broody. Muscovies and Mallards go broody easily, while Khaki Campbells and Runners almost never go broody. If she does go broody, then yes, she will incubate the eggs and take care of the babies once they hatch.

          Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

          Hannah Miller

          1. Hi in have a flock of 9 silver appleyards and they don’t seem to be laying. I’ve head them since last September amd they have a large pen with pond amd lots of light. Any idea what could be wrong? Yours desperately seeking duck eggs

  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.)

      1. Thank you for the reply. My female Muscovy finally stopping laying after 19 eggs and then sat consistently on the clutch. I candled them after 1 week and threw out 2 that looked bad. Later I threw out another 1, and finally after 32 days, 14 ducklings hatched (2 were unknown or stolen by rats). Thanks for the advice. My female turned out to be a very good mother for her first clutch.

  3. I accidentally frightened a mallard duck while she was laying eggs – the nest has 7 eggs and she has not come back. (It’s been several hours now and the temperature is 42F)
    Is this normal, and will she be back, or is there something I can do? (I don’t think I can interfere with the nest, correct?)

    1. Normally, broody ducks will return even if they’ve been frightened, so I think maybe she wasn’t even broody on them. If she was actually LAYING an egg, she probably wouldn’t have been on the nest long anyway. Ducks only go broody and stay sitting on the eggs after they’ve finished laying the clutch. Most likely, she’ll return tomorrow to lay another egg.

      But once my dog did scare a broody duck so badly that she never came back to the nest. If she really was broody, the eggs would unfortunately have died from going that long without warmth. I don’t exactly remember how warm Mallard eggs are supposed to be, but Muscovy eggs require a temperature of approximately 100-101 degrees to hatch. And broody ducks generally can’t leave the nest for more than half an hour before their eggs die.

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by interfere with the nest, but with my domestic Muscovies, I do occasionally mess with the nest, sometimes to add more bedding, sometimes to candle the eggs, etc. It’s not going to hurt anything to touch the eggs.

      I hope she’ll be back tomorrow. 🙂

    1. First of all, are you sure this is duck is actually a female?

      Runners normally start laying around five or six months of age, so she should have started about seven months ago. Often, “why aren’t my ducks laying?” cases can be blamed on the weather and climate. But after that long, and with a duck breed that’s supposed to lay almost year round (although not all Runners are that good), I doubt that’s the answer. Even so, if you live in a very northern area like Canada, it’s a possibility. A lot of people have been wondering recently why their ducks aren’t laying yet, but they still have snow. But most of those are Muscovies, which almost never lay in winter. Runners often do.

      Could you tell me what her living situation is like? Is she alone? Is she in a barn all day? Does she free range? Does she have access to a pond?

      You say she’s not hiding her eggs. Do you think it’s possible that predators are taking them, instead? Just this morning we discovered that our GSD puppy has become an egg thief. Foxes have stolen quite a few of our eggs, too. Even if she’s in an enclosed area, snakes, rats, and other small animals may still be a possibility.

      Also, Runners are one of the breeds of ducks that rarely go broody and have virtually no interest in incubating. So they often just drop the eggs wherever they happen to be when they feel the egg coming. Don’t expect them to be in a nest box. If you have a pond, she could be dropping the eggs in the pond.

      It’s possible she eats the eggs, but I think you would have noticed at some point.

      Is she kept in a dark barn or other dark area often? Ducks decide whether or not to lay based on the length of the day, and if she’s only outside for a few hours or not at all, the days would seem very short to her and she probably wouldn’t lay. If you can’t let her outside for longer, the answer would be an artificial light. This is what I feel is the most likely reason—the length of the day.
      Her feed sounds fine, although you may want to add calcium. Most flock raisers add crushed eggshells or oyster shell to be sure they have enough calcium to make eggs.
      Obesity is one other possible reason she might not be laying. Some ducks are gluttons, and obese ducks don’t lay.

      Stress is another major reason. Is there anything stressful that frequently happens to your duck–getting chased by dogs/kids, being picked up and petted or held a lot, being in a pen that is too small, getting beaten up by chickens or other animals frequently, not always having water available, etc.? Also, if she’s alone, she’s lonely. I don’t know if that’s enough stress to cause a duck to not lay, but it’s a possibility. Frequent weather changes might also mess up her laying. Recently, we had a series of sunny mornings, and we were getting plenty of eggs (and the ducks are in a mobile pen without a roof, so they can see the moment the sun comes up). And then…bam! One cloudy morning, and we only got one egg that day. It’s funny what a huge effect the weather has on their laying.

      There could be other, more unusual causes, such as being a hermaphrodite or something weird, but you should rule out all the usual causes first.

      I hope one of these gave you an answer!

  4. Hi Hanna
    I have two Muscovy ducks that are quite young, around three months old. I bought them not knowing the sex and I am still trying to determine their sex. Whatever sex they are it must be the same as I can’t tell them apart. Are there any differences or characteristics I should be looking out for?

    Deb May
  5. I have 5 females and 2 male Pekin ducks. I got them back at the end of March 2018/Early April. Not a single one has produced an egg. We use the Dumor feed plus I add mealworm to their feed. They also free range on bugs from sunrise to sunset. They are happy and healthy. Right now I’m beyond frustrated. Between how much bedding is, food is, pump set up for their pond, and all my time… I could have bought a lot of eggs by now. I’m starting to wonder if this was really worth it or if I just wasted $100s. Do people really find it worth it to do this even if you’re not selling them at market? Am I doing something wrong? Do I now have to wait all the way through fall and winter dumping more money and time into them to see if they’ll actually lay in Spring?

    1. Hi Marie,

      Have you read this article? It lists all the reasons ducks might not be laying and should answer your question.

      Why Aren’t My Ducks Laying Eggs? 15 Reasons

      To be honest, no, you are not going to save any money by raising your own duck eggs. The eggs will be far healthier, but they’re almost guaranteed to cost you a lot more. Why is it worth it? Because we love knowing our eggs were raised humanely. Because we want a source of eggs that isn’t from hens in battery cages that never see sunlight or grass. And because we just love our ducks. Pretty much any duck or chicken person will tell you this. It isn’t going to save you any money. It’s just more ethical and healthier.

      I understand your frustration, though. I’m a very practical person myself and really dislike doing something if I’m not going to make a profit. My personal goal is to eventually grow all the food my ducks need and mix my own feed rations, so I won’t have to buy any food whatsoever. However, that’s an unrealistic goal for many people as it requires land and the time and ability to work in a garden. Right now I’m experimenting with growing amaranth and pigeon peas, and I’m fermenting the feed I do buy to maximize nutrition and minimize waste. Fermenting is one very simple, easy way to reduce your costs. Here’s how you can do it: https://tikktok.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/fermented-feed-faq/

      (Other expenses aren’t an issue for us, as our ducks are in mobile pens for the night and thus don’t need bedding, and have access to a large pond during the day, which of course doesn’t need any upkeep or cleaning.)

      So yes, it’s possible to own ducks and make a profit. But it’s difficult, and it’s something few people can achieve. I’m not even there yet myself. However, you might be interested in reading this article, which gives 20 AWESOME ideas for how to reduce feed costs.


      As far as the cost of bedding, are you sure you’ve found the cheapest option? For our chickens, we use rice hulls for bedding, which only cost us 25 cents for a large bag (equivalent to a 100 pound bag of feed). You may not have a rice processing plant near you, but maybe there’s another option that is cheaper than whatever you use now. I don’t know. Maybe you already have the cheapest option. I’m just suggesting for you to research and find out what’s best.

      Also, Pekins are not exactly the most productive layers. They’re average, at best, producing approximately 125-225 eggs a year. They’re primarily a meat bird. If eggs are your only priority, you might consider Indian Runners, Khaki Campbells, Silver Appleyards, Anconas, or Welsh Harlequins instead, all of which not only lay far more than Pekins, but are also better foragers and have lower feed consumption levels than Pekins. Pekins are known to eat a lot.

      I’m so sorry for your frustration and I really hope I’ve given you some ideas for reducing the expenses! Be sure to read the article I linked to at the top so you can figure out why exactly your ducks haven’t laid yet.

      Hannah Miller

  6. My 4 Silver Appleyard ducklings (all females) hatched October 1, 2018. This past week (November 16, 2018) a male drake several years old got into the safety of the pen in which I had the female ducklings. ALL the ducklings were spooked by the agressiveness of a large hybrid drake (several years of age – someone had given to me last summer & the ONLY drake we own). He was chasing the ducklings & pulling their feathers.

    We also own 2 Silver Appleyard females 15 months of age who’ve bonded with the drake but largely ignore the female ducklings at best but not agressive towards them.

    After I’d gotten the drake out of the ducklings’ pen I noticed a small white egg (about the size of a quail egg – which I have NO quail). The exterior of the shell was rough textured &, when I cracked open the egg, the white was much thicker than usual & the “yolk” was not formed – only streaks of gold.

    Yesterday the female ducklings had all gotten loose into the general population of the poultry run & the same drake was on top of one of the female ducklings appearing to be attempting to mate with her. He had her on the ground & had hold of the feathers on the back of her neck – mounting her but she was quacking in great distress.

    The only other birds I have in the run are 8 Ameracaunas (1 rooster & 7 hens – all 2-1/2 years old) & 1 guinea hen, 15 months old.

    What is going on with the egg laying & what seems like mating with the ducklings?

    1. Hi Kathryn,

      Unfortunately, some drakes will try to mate anything, even ducklings. It’s fairly normal, as I’ve heard of quite a few drakes doing this (although my own drakes have never tried to mess with my ducklings). I don’t think you can really prevent it. You’ll just have to make sure the ducklings stay separate from the drake until they’re adults.

      As far as the egg, I don’t really know. I’ve never heard of a duckling prematurely laying an egg. Do you mean that the Ameracaunas and guinea hen are in with the ducklings, or with the other adult ducks? Unless the ducklings are alone in the pen you found the egg in, I would suspect that the egg came from one of the Ameracaunas or the guinea. Ducks and chickens both occasionally have a slight malfunction in their system and lay a misshapen, small, or soft-shelled egg. They’re often called “fairy eggs.”

      I wonder if it’s also possible that this happens to be the egg of a wild bird that accidentally laid there, or something along those lines. Either way, I don’t really think the egg came from the duckling. I’ve never heard of that happening before. Who knows, maybe it’s possible, but I wouldn’t really suspect it unless there don’t seem to be any other options whatsoever.

      However, as long as it’s a one-time occurrence and doesn’t happen again, I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. 😃

      Hope that helps!

      Hannah Miller

  7. Ducks 10months old not laying!!

    I have 2 ducks and 1 drake of khaki Campbell breed which are 10 months old and my ducks haven’t layed eggs till now!!!
    All 3 are healthy but I am not knowing the reason for them not laying.

  8. I have a Cayuga and she laid her first egg today but seemed stressed and quiet fast paced breathing when I brought her in for the night I’m not sure I never had a female egg laying duck just a drake Muskovi as a pet… she seems normal otherwise maybe just tired I’m not sure

    1. Hi Connie,

      She sounds okay. If she’s still doing good today, then I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Just keep a close eye on her next time she lays and egg. I don’t think anything’s wrong, though. The first egg can indeed be a bit stressful.

      Does she have a companion, though? Ducks shouldn’t live by themselves. They need a friend of their own kind.

      Hannah Miller

  9. I have 2 female ducks and 1 drake. They have laid 3 eggs so far beginning this past Saturday, but neither female has nested them. One is a white layer and my other is a runner. I hope they will nest to have baby ducklings but I’m wondering if it is too late for these eggs to hatch in 21 days or so? This is my first time and it’s hard to find accurate answers. Thank you for your time and help.

    1. Hi Bonnie,

      Unfortunately, Runners and white layers are among the best layers of all breeds, which means that they are very unlikely to go broody. The more a duck has been bred to lay extra eggs, the less likely they are to go broody, because people who wanted ducks for eggs obviously didn’t want to have ducks that would constantly waste their time being broody and not laying.

      If you want eggs every day, you’ve got the right breeds. If you want ducklings, you probably need a Muscovy or Call or something. Luckily, there’s also a compromise. Duck breeds like the Silver Appleyard, Saxony, Magpie, and Ancona are all excellent layers (they all lay 200+ eggs per year), but are still liable to go broody and hatch ducklings. I’m not saying it’s impossible for a Runner or white layer to go broody, since it certainly can happen, but it’s unlikely. I have a few hybrid commercial laying chickens (equivalent to your hybrid white layers) and I know they will never go broody in their life.

      Also, eggs should generally be incubated within a week after being laid. After they’re a week old, hatchability goes down quickly. And the 21 days is only for chickens. Duck eggs take 28 days to hatch, and Muscovy eggs take 35 days.

      If you do get a breed that is likely to sit on eggs, or if your Runner is one of the few individuals who is willing to go broody (I think it’s much more likely for the Runner to sit than the white layer), then she will lay a full clutch before going broody. Almost no duck goes broody on three eggs. My Muscovies will often lay a dozen eggs before they go broody (and I’ve had multiple 100% hatch rates with those, which shows that the 1-week mark is only a generalized mark and that eggs can still hatch even after they’ve been laying around for twelve days!).

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Hannah Miller

  10. A Mallard couple hung around my yard (on the water), and female laid 13 eggs in a ground level concealed nest. Haven’t seen the Mallards since the weather changed temperature (80 degrees high and 40-45 degrees at night). Hoping they come back, but how long can the eggs be viable if they don’t return soon?

    Raymond Millaway
    1. Hi Raymond,

      If there are 13 eggs, then the oldest egg is at least 13 days old. Ideally, eggs would be incubated within a week of being laid, but after they’re two weeks old, hatchability goes down fast. I’m not sure about wild ducks, but I know that my Muscovies definitely don’t sit on every clutch they lay, so perhaps they aren’t intending to hatch these eggs and will never return, especially if it’s too cold now.

      Hope that helps!

      Hannah Miller

  11. Can 1 duck be raised with chickens?
    I have a young Indian Runner female.
    And 3 female young hens.
    They are on day 2 living together and the duck is a bit of a bully Always pecking and chasing the young chicks and sometimes blocking them from eating.
    She is twice their size.
    And how would i round her up if I was to let the chicks and duck free range?

    1. Hi Jen,

      I think a duck should really have at least one other companion of her own species. She can’t communicate or have companionship with chickens in the same way she can with another duck. Ducks can in general be raised with chickens, yes, but it’s best for them to not be alone. If she’s always pecking and chasing the chicks or blocking them from eating, perhaps they need more space. You could also add another feeder so they can eat at the same time. Hopefully she’ll bully them less once they grow up, though.

      My ducks free range, and I herd them to bed every night. The chickens generally go on their own since their roost is in their night pen, but the ducks are a little less keen on going to bed. They’ve gotten used to it, so they generally hang around near their pen while the sun is going down, and then it’s easy to get them in. But it can take some training to teach a duck to go back to its pen for the evening. Always feeding them in the pen helps a lot.

      Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Hannah Miller

  12. hello i have a female duck i am not sure what breed she is i call her my mut duck and she just started laying eggs is it okay to hatch them now i also have two male pekins but i did not know if i had to wait till she is older or what?

    1. Hi Annie,

      A duck’s first eggs are often rather small and thus the babies may not be as strong and healthy. It would probably be best to wait a little while, at least a week or two, before trying to hatch her eggs. It would also be a good idea to check if her eggs are fertile before trying to hatch them, by breaking open an egg and looking for the “bullseye” (a small white circle on the yolk).

      Two other things I’d like to mention:
      1. Do you have any other ducks? It’s not the best idea to have two drakes and only one female, since they can overmate her and kill her. It would be safer to have several more females, or get rid of one drake.
      2. It’s not wrong to want to hatch a duck’s eggs or anything, but I see way too many people wanting to hatch eggs for fun and then having no idea what to do with the babies. They can’t keep them due to lack of space or having too many males, they don’t want to eat the males, and no one else wants to adopt all the extra males. So before you hatch this duck’s eggs, make sure you have a plan for what to do with the extra males.

      Also, if you’d like to know what breed she is, you can send me a picture and I can attempt to figure it out.

      Hope that helps!

      Hannah Miller

  13. I have 3 female ducks and they have been sitting on eggs since may 26th I know this is to long. They have punched some eggs out and even took them and put it into thier little swimming pool. Should I check the eggs or leave them alone. They do get off about once a day to eat and bath. Any suggestions on what I should do?

    Marcia s Lee
    1. Hi Marcia,

      Do you want to hatch the eggs or not? If you don’t have the facilities to care for ducklings or a plan for what to do with them when they grow up, or if you simply don’t want ducklings, then I would recommend taking away all of their eggs. If they keep sitting on the nest even after you’ve taken the eggs, you may need to “break” their broodiness by blocking up their nest as well.

      If you do want to hatch the eggs, then I would recommend candling the eggs to make sure they’re developing. If any eggs aren’t developing, they could rot, which would pose a risk to all the other eggs. Just shine a flashlight through the eggs and look for blood vessels. You can look up images online of what the eggs should look like when you candle it, but in general, if an egg has blood vessels, it’s good, and if it doesn’t, you should remove it.

      Do you mean the ducks have been throwing some of the eggs out? Maybe they’re not good moms, but I’ve heard that mother ducks can sometimes tell which eggs are good and which are not, and they will sometimes throw the bad eggs away.

      Hope that helps!


  14. My seven month old Pekins mated a few weeks ago and the female has begun laying eggs. Should I take them since we are in November and it is starting to get cold? We live in Southwest Georgia so it typically doesn’t get too cold here though. Thank you for the advice!

    Lauren Mueller
    1. Hi Lauren,

      Well, the coldness probably won’t be an issue (some broody ducks hatch in winter as far north as Wisconsin), but you should probably take her eggs anyway. For one thing, the first clutch ducks lay tend to have smaller eggs and they’re not so good for hatching.

      More importantly, what are you going to do with the ducklings when they arrive?

      You need at least 4-5 females per drake, and about half of the ducklings will be drakes, which will mean you’ll have to do something with those extra drakes, and possibly the females as well if you don’t have much space. Please don’t breed unless you know what you’ll do with the babies, especially the drakes.

      Also, it’s possibly she won’t even go broody. Ducks don’t always go broody, and she’s probably less likely to go broody late in the year.

      So if her eggs are normal size (at least 70 grams or 2.5 ounces, I think–I don’t have Pekins), you have a plan for the babies, and she actually does go broody, then go ahead and let her keep the eggs. If not, take them. Duck eggs are just as good as chicken eggs for eating (if not better).


    1. Hi Jay,

      Mating has nothing to do with laying. Ducks will lay even if they’re never mated. However, usually, young ducks will be old enough to mate about a month or two before they’re old enough to lay. My Muscovies start mating at 4 months and laying at 6 months.

      So it shouldn’t be too long before you start seeing eggs. 🙂


  15. a pair of wild Mallards are visiting our yard every day. There is a pond about 3/10 of a mile down the road from us. They eat the bird seed we put out and swim in the plastic pool we put out for them. Today they mated in the pool. I imagine she will nest near the pond. Will she bring her baby duckies up the road to our yard?

    Deborah Papp
    1. Probably. She’ll want to bring her babies to an easy source of food.

      The only problem is, I don’t recommend feeding wild ducklings. They need to learn how to find their own food as soon as possible, while they’re still young, or they may never learn and could starve if they ever leave your place. If she brings her ducklings to your yard, I’d recommend either not feeding them or only feeding them very small amounts until they’re a few weeks old, and even then, make sure they don’t start to rely on you for food.


  16. Hannah- we purchased several ducks that we have allowed to free range on our large pond and acreage. We had three small ducklings and two larger “pekin” that were about 6-8 months old. Unfortunately even with nesting them and offering moderate protection two ducklings were lost to a Bobcat. We still have one of the younger ducklings and two of the older ducks who now are no longer white and look more like a saxony or golden cascade. . When we rescued the two older ducks we were told that they were great egg layers. And wow they really are! A wild Mallard has found favor with the two larger ducks and they are now a cute little family in our backyard. At least one of the ducks continues to lay eggs around our pool and in random areas of our yard. We have made several nesting areas for them that they do not seem to be interested in. That doesn’t break my heart knowing that we have a lot of predators and they’ve obviously kept themselves safe where they are choosing to nest. My questions are…
    How do we know if the eggs are still good to eat when we can’t track the actual time our ducks are laying the eggs? Often we happen upon eggs at random.

    Do you have suggestions for a way to get our ducks to start nesting in a particular area so that we can track the timing of their egg laying?

    I would also like to point out that we live in Texas and it gets quite hot here during the day.

    Our ducks never seem to sit on these eggs and we aren’t necessarily interested in having a lot of ducklings but we would be very interested in finding a way to harvest these eggs and eat them and share them with friends. I appreciate any feedback that you could give us and I know that Lucy, Ethel and Desi will be appreciative too!

    1. Sorry for the late reply!

      Some ducks, particularly the ones that lay a lot, have no interest in going broody, and many also have no interest in making a nest or laying in a nest. So you may not be successful in convincing them to lay in nests. Do you have a coop for them? Putting them in an enclosure or coop for the night will not only keep them safer but will also ensure that they lay their eggs where they’re easy for you to find.

      It often gets very hot where we live too, and if our ducks lay eggs in the open under the sun and we don’t pick them, then sometimes they’re almost cooked by the end of the day. So I’d suggest looking for eggs every morning. Ducks usually lay in early morning.

      If they don’t fry in the sun, eggs do last a long time. Unwashed, unrefrigerated eggs should last at least two weeks. Refrigerated eggs last two months or more.


    1. There is no way of knowing. After they start laying, they could go broody in a week or two, or they might not at all. Runners very rarely go broody, so it’s likely your Runners will never go broody in their entire lives.

      Ducks that are prone to going broody usually do so when they feel their clutch is nearly complete. Clutches consist of anywhere from about five to twenty eggs. Most ducks don’t go broody on their first clutch, though. Broodiness in breeds that lay continuously rather than laying in clutches (like Runners) is very unpredictable.


  17. i bought a muscovy duck that already started laying. hatched 9 ducklings and they are already 3 months now. my question is when do i need to breed the mother duck to start laying eggs again? do i need to separate those ducklings? tia

    Rodolfo Buna
    1. Ducks usually start laying again 3-4 months after having ducklings, so I would guess your duck will start laying soon. Separating the ducklings isn’t necessary. However, ducks usually don’t lay until they stop caring for their ducklings, so if yours is still attached to and caring for hers, it’s possible separating her from them will cause her to lay sooner. If you do, don’t put her alone. She still needs companionship.


      1. I love my Muscovy babies! We have been breeding ours for years but our flock was taken out by a fox…. All but one male, Bailey….. I ordered a batch of four ducklings, not hatching for the first time since our originals. Bailey is very interested in my 9 week old females. At what age can I let him mate with them (not for breeding but allowing them to get to know each other. They are currently separate but he lays next to their gate all day)?

  18. I got my ducks from a friend and don’t know what breed they are around 2 months old we have a cage for them outside with wood chips and food and water
    One started to act odd and wouldn’t keep their head off their neck and wasn’t as energetic as usual
    I assumed that it was either about to lay eggs or it was close to death but I didn’t know why it would be dying please answer ASAP
    thank you

    1. Two months old is too young to lay eggs. I don’t know what’s wrong but it sounds like it might be serious. I would recommend contacting a veterinarian and researching duck health conditions. You could also try asking for help on this forum: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forums/emergencies-diseases-injuries-and-cures.10/

      I am not a health expert, so I don’t know if I can be of much help.

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by your description of the duck’s behavior, but it did make me think of botulism as a possibility: https://poultrydvm.com/condition/botulism

      Hope your duck will be ok. 🙂