It’s convenient for you when a hen decides it’s her job to hatch out ducklings! But how can you tell if a duck is serious about brooding? Have you even given a hen a nest, only to discover she was fickle and undecided? Here are 5 signs of a broody duck, how you can tell if a bird is truly ready to set!
An Infatuation With Eggs
When a duck hen has the mothering itch, she’ll develop an infatuation with eggs. Those left within her reach will often end up in her nest, regardless of who laid them!!
Aggression Toward Humans
A ‘hen in the mood’ doesn’t like anyone who gathers her eggs. In fact, she may strike and hiss at any hand or foot that comes near her treasure. As you walk away, the hen will likely follow, flapping her wings and nipping at your heels.
While these are signs of a broody duck, a hen displaying these two traits may only be thinking of going broody.
If your hen is also displaying the following 3 signs, she’s usually in earnest about becoming a mother.
A Carefully Constructed Nest
Much like the wild ducks, your hen will take pains to construct a nest with whatever material is available. Grass, straw and hay will be carried to the chosen spot.
If nesting on the ground, your hen will often enlarge the indent before carefully lining it with material.
Removal of Breast Feathers
After constructing her nest, a hen’s final pre-brooding act is to pull out some of her own downy breast feathers. She uses these to create a soft lining in her nest. Once accomplished, she’s ready to brood!
Refusal to Leave the Nest
Last but not least, you know the hen is serious when she refuses to leave the nest she’s taken such pains to create.
If she only has a few eggs, you can take as many as necessary from the other hens. Your average sized duck can manage up to 15 eggs.
Slip them under the wanna-be mama and leave her to complete the task.
These are 5 signs of a broody duck!