Do Ducks Bury Their Eggs?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Ducks burying their eggs are an interesting sight to see.

But what does it mean?

Why do ducks bury their eggs? 

Is it a cruel parenting technique or is there certain logic behind it?

Thankfully, it’s the latter.

Burying eggs is a routine for ducks and there are many good reasons why they do it.

Understanding the lifestyle of a duck is essential for people who plan to keep one and their egg-laying is an important part of their life.

Let’s take an in-depth look into the subject, shall we?

Why Does My Duck Bury Her Eggs? 

Do Ducks Bury Their Eggs
Photo by Pixabay on

Ducks bury their eggs for safety.

It may sound bizarre, but if you look into the logic, it’s actually pretty simple.

Burying their eggs protects them from predators.

It hides them away from the sight of insects, bugs, and big animals like foxes and raccoons.

These animals target duck eggs and gulp them down in minutes.

So, adult ducks bury their eggs inside the ground to keep them hidden. 

As soon as the duck lays her first egg, she covers them up.

Then, she lays another one on top of it.

This way, she can have a bigger hatch.

Also, this way, they ensure that all eggs will hatch around the same time.

Moreover, burying her eggs helps to keep their temperature level normal. 

What Happens If A Duck Lays Her Eggs In Water? 

At times, ducks have been known to lay their eggs in water.

While people think this is bizarre behavior, the concern is: do these eggs ever hatch?

Technically speaking, duck eggs require a specific range of temperature to hatch.

They need warmth around them, which is why burying the egg is a much better idea.

Considering this fact, if the water is cold, the eggs are not expected to hatch.

It also depends on the time duration and how long the eggs have been in the water.

If you take them out and provide them with the right environment, they might start doing well.

If they’re in there for too long, it might be too late for you to even try. 

Do Ducks Move Their Eggs? 

Ducks can move their eggs if they accidentally fall off the nest.

However, they don’t do it unless it’s necessary.

Birds usually don’t move their eggs once they have buried them.

However, it’s not impossible.

If the duck senses incoming danger or extreme change in the environment, it might take the step to protect its ducklings.

They’ve been known to move the eggs away into a safer place nearby.

But the chances of this are very low.

If you find that the eggs are suddenly not in their location, higher chances are that the predators got them. 

What Time of the Year Do Ducks Lay Eggs? 

Ducks are generous layers.

They don’t wait for a particular month to lay their eggs, and they do it all year long.

They barely even need the supplemental light during the winter months.

However, mid-March to early July is the typical egg-laying season.

The temperatures are warm, and the humidity is perfect around this time of the year.

So, the environment is very favorable to the eggs and ensures the baby’s healthy development inside.

In every clutch, a duck lays about a dozen eggs.

Some species can produce eggs every one or two days. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote on best duck egg incubators

Will A Duck Sit on Dead Eggs? 

Ducks still sit on dead eggs.

There’s nothing intentional about it; they just don’t know that the egg is dead.

The bird believes that all the eggs it’s sitting on are viable, healthy, and will eventually hatch.

There’s no way she can figure out one of them dead until it doesn’t hatch when it’s supposed to. 

Sometimes all dozens of eggs are either cracked, dead, or unfertilized.

The mother duck unknowingly continues to sit on them until she’s sure that they’re not going to hatch.

The bird waits for an entire incubation period and a few days beyond.

When she’s convinced, only then she goes on to lay another clutch. 

How Long Can Eggs Survive Without Their Mother on Them? 

Ducks usually don’t sit on their eggs for about ten days after they lay them.

The only time they spend on it is when they’re laying the eggs.

So, for ten whole days, the duck doesn’t sit on the eggs, and they survive independently.

Duck eggs can remain viable without their mother for two weeks or so.

They’re entirely dependent on the parent bird and cannot make it on their own unless they’re 50 to 60 days old.

Hence, they should not be left alone.

That’s terrible duck parenting! If you find a nest that looks abandoned, wait for a maximum of 14 days before you discard the eggs inside.

After this period, the babies will eventually start to give up and die. 

Do Ducks Cover Their Nests? 

Absolutely! Ducks cover their nests with anything they can find.

Potential items include vegetation, straw, and their own feathers if need be.

Yes, ducks have been known to pull out their own feathers to insulate the nest.

They usually pick out the ones that cover the belly.

Doing this is beneficial for another reason, too: the relatively bare abdominal area becomes an uncovered direct heat source for the eggs they will lay. 

Apart from the temperature benefits, covering the nest also somewhat protects it from bugs, insects, and predators.

Using straw and vegetation also serves as a camouflage boundary to hide it well and keep it safe. 

Do Ducks Have to Sit on Their Eggs for Them to Hatch? 

Yes, they do. Duck eggs require constant attention from the parent bird.

She must sit on the eggs for as long as possible to provide warmth, comfort, protection.

In fact, ducks can sit on the eggs for 20 to 30 days at a time.

Incubation periods can last from 26 to 37 days, which means that this is how long the ducks must stay on the eggs. 

If you are wondering how she will survive without any food throughout this time, don’t worry!

Ducks tend to bulk up in terms of food before they lay their eggs.

Doing this is a preparatory measure for the incubation period. 

However, it is also common to see ducks leave their eggs alone for a while, even days at some point.

You don’t necessarily have to worry about them.

Mother ducks know what they are doing. So, let them be. They will eventually come back to their eggs when they think it’s needed. 


Mother ducks are brilliant.

They know how to lay their eggs, protect them, and take care of them.

There’s really not much you have to do if your duck is laying eggs.

The most you can do is make sure she is doing well.

Give her good food, keep her clean, and make sure she has a warm place to sit with her unborn baby ducklings.

Just a fun fact, if you notice that your duck ate one of her eggs, don’t panic.

Like chicken, ducks tend to eat an egg that’s cracked.

If they’re starving, she might break one open herself.

If the thought scares you, just make sure you’re giving her the right food with the correct nutrition value. 

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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