How Long Do Ducks Sit On Eggs (And Why)?

How Long Do Ducks Sit On Eggs (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 30 Days

Ducks are common in many backyards, and people wonder how long the ducks will sit on their eggs. They are known for their cute appearances and playful personalities. However, many people don’t know that ducks are also excellent parents.

Ducks will sit on their eggs for around 30 days before hatching them in most cases. If the eggs remain unhatched after that time, the mother duck will likely abandon them. These birds can incubate their eggs for an extended period, ensuring that their chicks have the best chance at survival. 

How Long Do Ducks Sit On Eggs

How Long Do Ducks Sit On Eggs?

Type Duration
Duck30 days
Hen21 days

Ducks are some of the most beloved creatures on the planet. Different duck breeds start this process at different periods to make the ducks go into incubation.

A mother duck spends up to 20 to 23 hours a day on her eggs, taking three breaks of an hour or so. When she goes away, the duck wraps her eggs in more down and nesting material to keep them warm while she is gone.

Altogether, there is a wide range of time that these bird species spend sitting on eggs, and it varies depending on what kind of birds one is talking about. However, for example, ducks wait until the first egg hatches and then take care of that one chick by themselves until it has grown enough to take care of itself.

Hence, it takes about 30 days to sit on the eggs. Waiting that long can seem like such a long time for those with shorter attention spans, but the benefits of waiting don’t end there. 

Ducks provide better insulation than an infertile hen, which means minor damage is done to the developing embryo as it keeps warm since they would walk all over it and wreak havoc if anyone else were caring for them. 

To compensate for this hassle, ducks provided complete maternal care: watching out for danger and predators during the night so their babies will survive to hatch.

Why Would Ducks Sit On Eggs For So Long?

Ducks sit on eggs for so long because they have a process called “broodiness.”

When a duck’s eggs are fertilized, the female will start to produce a hormone called prolactin. Prolactin will cause the duck to sit on her eggs and keep them warm. She will also keep her eggs clean and turn them occasionally so that the embryos inside will develop evenly.

The average duck will sit on her eggs for around 30 days. By doing this, the ducks can ensure that their chicks will hatch healthy and be able to fend for themselves when they are born. 

Another reason Ducks sit on eggs for so long is that they have an instinct to do so. Ducks have an instinct to incubate their eggs for a specific period to ensure the health and survival of their offspring.

By sitting on their eggs for an extended period, ducks can keep their eggs warm and protect them from predators. In addition, by sitting on their eggs, ducks can maximize the chances that their eggs will hatch.

With the mother duck spending so little time away from the eggs, she survives on stored fat. Small fissures start to appear a few days before the eggs are ready to hatch, and the ducklings will start crying out from within their shells. 

Finally, in 24 hours, the ducklings will break out from their eggs and use a tiny sharp bump on their beaks called an “egg tooth.”


The average incubation period for a female duck is 30 days, with the eggs hatching if they are well-nourished. The amount of time the duck sits on eggs depends on how many eggs there are and their weight, but in general, it takes about 30 days before any chicks can be expected to hatch. 

That means that one needs at least one adult sitting on them constantly during this time frame to keep them warm and safe from predators or other dangers. A duck does not feed a lot during the incubation period, so one does not need to worry about its health. Male ducks have  no active part in egg or duckling care.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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