Mallard duck left nest

Asked April 13, 2016, 12:50 PM EDT

Hi- we have a mallard that chose to lay 12 eggs in our front yard. She has been sitting on them for about 2 weeks- this morning I saw her up looking around and she has not been back to the nest in 5 hours...correction- 12 hours..I looked at the nest and usually she leaves a pile of down over it but today it is up on the sides- and I only see mulch in the center. Could the eggs be under the mulch? "Daisy" has been sitting through sleet & snow & rain and now it's sunny & she is gone??? What should we do? Thank you for your help.

Berks County Pennsylvania poultry mallard ducks

3 Responses

The incubation length on duck eggs is 28 days. At times, ducks will abandon their nests to re-nest in other areas. Other predators will feed on the eggs, so fox & other birds may have already cleaned out the nest. The eggs could be under the mulch, and can survive for 12 hours or more until she returns. I suggest you wait and see what happens. Mallards are the most plentiful duck in your area, and if this nest fails there will certainly be others in the area that will succeed in producing a flock of ducklings.
Thanks, G.

Thank you. She has not come back. I checked the best and could not find any trace of the 12 eggs. the nest was round and fluffy with down. Is it common for a predictor to take the eggs but leave ithe nest as they found it? I have a vary curious 8 yr old wanting to learn as much as possible. Thank you in advance for your help!

Yes, it is common for a predator to take an egg and run with it. Crows, hawks and owls can also take the eggs. The down was fluffy from the other birds digging around in the nest. Maybe next time things will work out.