Use a natural predator-safe environment for domestic ducks such as a high-fence pen. Also, avoid food droppings that are likely to attract duck egg-eating animals. If the ducks are wild and laying their eggs in your yard, the best way is by providing them with food and water so that they don’t roam and apply them elsewhere.
How Do You Keep Duck Eggs, Predators Away?
It is easy dealing with domesticated ducks than the wild ones. With the wild ducks, you must create a sense of trust for them to lay eggs in one designated place where you can protect them. You achieve this by providing a safe environment such as a well-shielded nest to lay their eggs safely. Cover the nest using sticks or grass to ensure they are not visually visible by the predators. The other way is by availing water and food. In this way, they will stick around your yard as there will be no need to roam around looking for water.
The following are some of the ways you can use to protect duck eggs from predators;
Avoid too many yard activities around the duck’s nesting area. Like chickens, ducks prefer a quiet and less busy environment to lay their eggs. Carrying out your actions around their nest might cause them to look for another place to lay their eggs. What better place is quiet than out in the wild with minimal interaction? After laying their eggs, they are left there for predators such as snakes and raccoons.
Use physical and visual barriers around the nest to keep away predators. The best way is by placing shrubs around it to keep away duck-eggs eating animals.
Keep all other potential threats away from their egg-laying areas. Raccoons, snakes, and badgers are not the only predators. Even cats and dogs threaten duck eggs and shouldn’t go anywhere close to them. You can achieve this by putting a temporary fence for the duck’s nest to keep them off the area, as it also helps conceal their nest.
Keep an open path leading to food and water sources. Having a steady path helps the duck gain a routine of where to find food and water. Hence, there is no reason for them to leave your yard where they could lay eggs away without your knowledge.
Avoid too much contact with their nests. Continually invading their nesting spaces can cause a mother duck to abandon the nest and look for another without your knowledge. They might lay their eggs in an open area where protecting them is more complicated. Some duck species are federally protected, and it is illegal to touch or move their nest. The only thing you can do is protect it from a distance.
Which Are The Most Common Duck Eggs, Predators?
Ducks and their eggs have the broadest threat of prey in the food chain hierarchy. Almost every animal that comes across wants to take a bite of them. They are vulnerable, especially the immobile eggs with their nutrient-rich and tasty yolks, making them an easy target. Some of the most common duck-eggs eaters include;
Not only do they go for the eggs but also the ducklings. A study carried out in 1990 by Notre dame showed that 32 % of badgers’ stomach contents contained ducklings while 60% of them had duck eggs they had recently consumed.
Even though they do not entirely feed on ducklings or duck eggs like badgers, they gladly gulp on the eggs when they come across them.
Red foxes are the primary predators of ducklings, ducks, and their eggs. Their heavy consumption limits ducks’ production and population as they specifically go out looking for their nests. They do not wait to find their eggs opportunistically as other animals do. In most cases, they do not feed on newly hatched eggs. Instead, they hide them and wait for the mother duck to come back later and pounce on them.
These are magpies, crows, and ravens. They threaten duck eggs, especially with their aerial view, to find even the protected and domesticated ones. Corvids are abundant in areas with high trees density, like in southern Canada. Crows were the significant threats to duck eggs, but recent studies indicate that ravens are. Their huge destructive numbers made them more harmful, leading to a dramatic decrease in the ducks’ population wherever they raid.
Other duck-egg eaters are the minks which are semi-aquatic mammals. In the prairie pothole region, they kill ducklings and steal duck eggs. Nova scotia affects duck eggs the same way as minks, and they belong to the same family. Skunks and coyotes are also a significant threat. The coyotes are duck enemies number one but also play an essential role in their nesting areas. They tend to scare away foxes and other foraging animals near duck breeding areas hence offering protection.
Do Ducks Eat Their Eggs?
Sometimes you may be protecting duck eggs from the wrong predators, especially for domesticated ducks. It is common for poultry to eat freshly laid eggs except for the geese. Instead of having your ducks lay then eat their eggs, you can use the following tips to avoid such scenarios;
Ensure to give your ducks a balanced diet with at least 3% calcium in the layer feeds. It would be best not to mix layer feeds with chicken scratch as it has more carbohydrates with fewer minerals and proteins. Adding them to layer feeds imbalances the calcium making the ducks crave for them, with their nearest source being their laid eggs. You can use an oyster shell and provide it to the ducks. Ensure they eat as much as possible to quench their calcium needs. Even if they overeat, it’s harmless to them.
Provide enough well-bedded nesting area. Sometimes ducks do not break their eggs purposely. After breaking, that is when they acquire egg’s taste. Ensure there is ample space nesting space in their pen. For example, you can provide one nest for four female ducks. It is important to space them, like leaving at least two inches of wood separating one nest from the other. Ensure they are large enough since larger ducks tend to clumsiness on eggs compared t smaller duck breeds.
Separate offending and angry ducks and provide the rest with something to play with. Angry and offending ducks could break dozens of eggs in a day by picking up fights with others. They can also damage the eggs on purpose. Such ducks should live separately from others. In other cases, ducks break their eggs due to boredom. You can use chunks of lettuce, carrots, beetroots, potatoes, and cabbage for them to play with instead of the eggs. Most eggs break during rolling and playing and get eaten by the ducks.
Remove any broken eggs from the ducks. Also, avoid tossing back broken eggshells to them. Once they taste the eggs, they develop an intentionally breaking and eating them. Some people used to put hot pepper on the eggshell. When the ducks feel the tanginess, they avoid even the broken ones.
Why Are Duck Eggs Better Than Chicken Eggs?
The nutritional content of duck and chicken eggs is different. Nutritionists say that duck eggs are better. There is only one problem which is that they are difficult to find. You find only a few ducks raring farmers despite being easier to deal with than chicken. Some of the reasons why they are better to include;
They are creamier and richer in nutritional content. Duck eggs have a larger yolk with high-fat content. They are less watery due to their thick egg white when it comes to taste.
Duck eggs remain fresher for longer than chicken eggs due to their thick inner membranes and shell. Ducks are water lovers; hence, their eggs’ bodies are adapted to keep out moisture, making them stay fresher for longer. Another advantage of their hard shells is that they do not break easily.
Duck eggs are larger with more nutritional content and are about 30% larger than chicken eggs. Free-ranging ducks lay more nutritious eggs with more omega-3 fatty acids, folate, iron, and vitamins A and D.
How Does The Nutritional Content Of Duck And Chicken Eggs Compare?
The difference in nutritional contents of duck and chicken eggs is due to their sizes. An average duck egg weighs 70 grams, whereas a chicken one weighs 50 grams. The table below shows the differences in nutritional contents between both.
|Chicken egg||Duck egg|
|Iron||10% of DV||24% of DV|
|Cholesterol||141% of DV||295% of DV|
|Vitamin D||9% of DV||17% of DV|
Protecting duck eggs from predators starts by avoiding the thing that might attract them to your yard. For example, food dropping attracts animals such as raccoons and skunks. You can also enhance the ducks’ nesting place to ensure it is not accessible and visually seen by potential predators of their eggs. It’s also important to ensure that food and water are readily available so that they do not have to travel for a long distance where they could mistakenly lay eggs away from their nest.