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Duck Breeding Information

Ashmeet Bagga
Many mother ducks abandon few of their ducklings, if they are born with any deformity, and sometimes, many eggs hatch much later, after the mother duck has left the nest. Ever wondered how these tiny, snuggly, little balls of feathers called ducklings are produced?

Did You Know?

Daylight affects a duck's egg producing ability. When there is more daylight, ducks tend to lay more eggs. July to December is the period where daylight is not much, so they slow down the production of eggs, many refrain from laying eggs during these months.
Ducks belong to the Anatidae family of birds. They are mostly aquatic birds, but can live on both land and water. They are petite as compared to the swan. They are geese with long necks and webbed feet. They mostly feed on aquatic plants, grasses, and insects. Ducks are known to be outgoing and social.
They prefer to roam around in groups popularly known as paddling. They discover food together and sleep together. There are many different species of ducks like Mallards, Mandarin, and Combs.They are excellent swimmers, and fliers; they fly in a V formation for extra protection, and also, results in the reduction of wind resistance.
Talking about their breeding, bees do it, insects do it, and even ducks do it! That's how you get to see tiny, yellow-colored tots roaming around in your farm, if you own one. Let us learn about how ducks mate, their mating habits, and are they committed to their mates for life?


✦ Male ducks are called drakes; whereas, females are known as hens. Animal mating is not easy as it seems, there is a huge amount of ego that needs to be tamed in them as well. Females mate with male counterparts after careful consideration. Ducks form monogamous relationship which tends to last only for a year. The drake usually fluffs up his feathers to show them off. This is usually done to attract his mate interest.
✦ Their mating behavior includes several calls and actions like, a drake would dunk his head up and down in water to show his willingness and readiness to mate. He also pesters the hen by nibbling her neck, pulling at her feathers, or by dunking her head in water.
✦ They are ready for the mating process, generally, in the first year itself; females take the initiative. When a female wants to breed, she will swim in the water with her head just above the water surface, towards her drake. Signs of mating may include quacking severely and shaking her beak.


✦ Ducks are known to be more fertile in water than on land, that's why most of the mating takes place in water.

✦ Ducks are very aggressive when it comes to mating, in fact, many drakes gang rape a female duck, hard to believe right? In fact, it becomes so gruesome and leads to the death of many hens. A female selects her mating partner because she wants her babies to be handsome like their father, or whatever reason. But many drakes force female ducks to mate with them.
✦ Ducks usually mate during spring season, and for next mating season, they find a new partner. Females usually prefer the breeding site where she was hatched.

✦ Only 3% of the birds are known to have sexual organs, and ducks are among the luckiest lot. Females have an option to discard the sperm of the male, if she does not want his babies.
✦ During mating, a male duck climbs on top of the female and inserts his sexual organ inside her vagina. She has an option to discard the sperm. It is made in such a way, that she has little pockets inside her body to keep those sperms inside her body, only later to discard it if she does not want them.

✦ The sperm attaches itself to the egg inside her body, and fertilization occurs. The egg is laid and incubated by the hen, till the time it hatches.

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✦ As mentioned earlier, the drake does not stay around for long. He may guard the territory and look after the eggs, but once the eggs are hatched, he will go hang out with other male ducks, probably searching for a new mate. The female duck looks after the young ones.

Incubation and Hatching

✦ On an average, a duck is known to lay 7 to 12 eggs. The laying of eggs is dependent on the hen's exposure to sun. More the exposure, better are the chances of her laying more eggs. The incubation period generally lasts up to 28 to 35 days.

✦ Once the eggs are hatched, ducklings don't eat food or drink water for 3 days, they consume yolk sac from the egg. Ducklings are ready to fly after 5 to 8 weeks of hatching.

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Ducks are not territorial, but the mechanisms used by them to defend and protect their mates include chasing, pecking, and hitting. Males, however, do not care for the juveniles. That makes them real cold-hearted, doesn't it?