Do Male Ducks Sit on Eggs? (What’s their Role?)

Do Male Ducks Sit on Eggs

No, male ducks, or drakes, do not sit on eggs. Instead, their role has something to do with protection. They will stand guard over or beside the nest and also protect their offspring from predators.

Male ducks, unlike some animals, do not play a big role in the life of their hatchlings. Ten days after the incubation, the male duck will leave.

Do Male Ducks Lay Eggs?

No, male ducks do not lay eggs. The female ducks, however, can lay an egg every 24 or 48 hours. Many ducks lay eggs daily, but there are some breeds that do not do this.

The role of the male is to fertilize the eggs. Without fertilization, no duckling will form inside the eggs. Pretty much, these eggs will only be like the chicken eggs sold in stores. They are edible, but there is no life in them. 

Related Article: Where Do Ducks Go in the Winter?

Do Male Ducks Protect Eggs?

Not exactly. In the case of mallards, the female protects the eggs. The role of the male duck is to protect the female one.

After laying the eggs, the female duck will cover the eggs with leaves. Ducks use all sorts of vegetation to cover their eggs to hide them from predators.

After the eggs hatch, the male will eventually leave to join other males. This process is part of the molting period, which typically happens in June.

Do Ducks Need A Male Around To Lay Eggs?

No, they do not. Ducks are like chickens where they can lay eggs that are not fertilized. However, these eggs will never hatch as there is no duckling inside.

Ducks are better egglayers than chickens. They are layers all year round. Ducks will even lay eggs during winter. Many duck breeds can easily outlay chickens when it comes to eggs.

Do Male Ducks Stay With The Nest?

No, not really. Male ducks will stay with the female duck. The male duck will stay with the femalefor up to ten days after the female starts incubating the eggs.

If the eggs ever get destroyed or eaten by a predator, the male duck will mate with the female duck once again. After this, the female is left to fulfill the incubation period and rearing of the hatchlings.

So, male ducks do not necessarily stay with the nest. Instead, they stay with the female duck to ensure that the mating was successful.

How Do Male Ducks Fertilize Eggs?

Ducks mate similarly with other animals. They must have sex so the drake, or male duck, can inseminate the eggs.

During the mating season, one can observe male ducks courting the female ones. There is a ritual in early spring. During the mating season, a male duck will mate with the female every four to five days.

Ducks are not monogamous. They do not mate with the same partner for life. They mate with the same partner over and over again, but only during that particular mating season.

However, there are occasions when the eggs are fathered by different drakes. In a study, researchers found out that between 7% and 25% of egg clutches came from more than two fathers.

Duck FAQs

1. How many eggs will a duck lay before she sits on them?

The normal clutch of eggs of a duck is about 12 eggs. However, ducks do not lay eggs all at once. Some will lay one egg a day, and some more than that. Ducks also lay eggs at different intervals.

One curious thing about ducks is that they do not lay eggs in the same area every mating season. The laying period is particularly stressful. It takes about two weeks to complete the egg-laying process.

2. Will a duck sit on dead eggs?

Yes, a duck may sit on dead eggs. When a duck does this, it believes that its eggs are viable and that they are fertilized.

One problem with ducks is that sometimes, they could be sitting on eggs that have cracks. These eggs are dead.

One way to find out if the eggs are dead is to put them under a flashlight in a dark room. If there are no veins inside them, then the eggs are dead.

3. Do ducks know if their eggs are fertile?

Apparently, they do. Ducks abandon their eggs if the eggs are not viable. This action is a strong indication that the female knows if the egg is fertile or not.

A duck will typically sit on its eggs between 21 and 28 days. If this period is over and the egg did not hatch, the duck will leave.

By this time, some of the eggs may have already hatched. After this, the ducklings only have ten days with their mother.

Ducklings must be able to get up on their legs in the first ten hours. Once they know how to walk and feed, the mother will leave them to fend for themselves.

4. What is duck molting?

Molting is a process that usually occurs in waterfowl like ducks. During the molting period, the duck replaces its old plumage with new ones.

The process of changing the feathers is called molting. One can think of it in a similar fashion where snakes change their skin.

Most waterfowls molt once a year only. However, most ducks molt two times a year. For ducks, the first molt happens after the eggs hatched, and the second one happens in the fall or early winter. Some ducks, like the long-tailed ones, can molt up to three times a year.

When ducks molt, they do not replace all the feathers but only those on their bodies. What it means is that they do not grow new feathers for their wings. It is during the molting period when ducks develop their multiple-colored plumage.


Male ducks do not incubate the eggs of their female partners. Their role is to mate with the female and ensure that the eggs are fertilized. Make ducks are also around for protection while the female is incubating the eggs. They bring food to the mate, but then they will leave in approximately ten days after the mother began incubating the eggs.

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