When Do Ducks Start Laying Eggs?

Duck that started laying eggs

If you’re new to raising ducks, you might be wondering when your ducks will start laying eggs. But figuring this out isn’t as simple as circling a date on your calendar; there’s a lot that goes into this natural process.

In this article, you’ll learn about what influences a duck’s egg-laying schedule. From their age and breed to the environment they live in, we’ll go through all of this together. With that, let’s get started!

When Do Ducks Start Laying Eggs?

Duck nesting on twigs with one egg visible

Ducks usually start laying eggs when they’re around 4 to 7 months old, and this can vary depending on the type of duck and the time of year. Typically, they are more inclined to lay eggs during the spring and summer months, when the weather is warmer and the days are longer.

The ducks’ maturity and environmental conditions have a lot to do with when they start laying eggs. Smaller breeds usually grow up faster and may start laying eggs earlier than larger breeds.

Daylight is also important. Like many birds, ducks need a good amount of daylight to start laying eggs. When spring comes and days get longer, it tells ducks that it’s a good time to start laying eggs.

This natural cycle aligns with the warmer temperatures, which are ideal for egg laying and hatching.

Once ducks start laying, they can be quite prolific. A healthy duck might lay an egg nearly every day during their peak laying period, but this can vary from duck to duck.

Now, after the ducks have laid their eggs, you’ll naturally be curious about them, so here’s a video to help you learn more:

All Things Duck Eggs: Basics and Details

How Do You Know When a Duck Is Ready to Lay Eggs?

Two ducks on a nest over eggs

Ducks show certain changes in their behavior and bodies when they’re about to lay eggs. By keeping an eye out for these signs, you can get a good idea of when to expect those fresh eggs.


You can often tell that a duck is getting ready to lay eggs by looking for certain physical changes. In my experience raising ducks, I’ve found that the best way to do this is by gently feeling their pelvic bones.

Normally, a duck’s pelvic bones are relatively close together, with a gap of about two inches. However, as it gets ready to lay eggs, this gap widens significantly.

When this happens, you should be able to fit three or even four fingers comfortably between its pelvic bones.

Another sign is that their abdomen appears fuller or more rounded. This happens as the eggs develop inside their bodies, occupying more space. 

However, this change can be subtle and might only be obvious if you’re observing your ducks closely.

Fun Fact: Ducks share their pigment with their eggs! When they start laying eggs, the yolks absorb a pigment called xanthophyll from the duck’s body, which can lead to color changes in their bills and feet.

As they keep laying, the eggs sometimes absorb more pigment than the ducks can eat. This can cause them to develop freckle-like markings on their bills and legs.


Most of the time, you can tell when ducks are getting ready to lay eggs by their behavior, particularly in their nesting habits.

Unlike chickens, which are known for their loud “egg songs” after laying eggs, ducks are usually pretty quiet during this time.

However, when they are searching for and preparing their nesting site, they often make soft, chattery noises. This is a sign that they have found a spot where they feel safe and comfortable laying their eggs.

They also become more territorial and protective of their space, especially around their chosen nesting area. You might notice them spending more time in or near the nest, getting it ready for the eggs.

Changes in their daily routine can also be a clue. Ducks might wake up earlier than usual or change their usual patterns of activity.

Do Ducks Lay Eggs All Year Round?

Duck on a nest looking sideways

When it comes to ducks laying eggs all year round, a lot depends on what breed they are and the amount of light they get.

Some ducks, like Khaki Campbells and Indian Runners, are prolific layers and can continue to produce eggs almost any time of the year. They’re just naturally good at it because of the way they were developed.

That said, laying ducks are generally sensitive to changes in daylight hours. For instance, if ducks reach maturity during the winter, they might not start laying eggs until spring rolls around.

This is because they usually like to lay eggs when it’s warmer and the days are longer, like in spring and summer.

Now, if you want your ducks to lay eggs even in the shorter days of winter, providing supplemental light can be effective.

By giving them light for about 15 to 17 hours a day, you can make them think that the days are still longer and get them to lay eggs even when it’s their usual off-peak season.

What Time of Day Do Ducks Usually Lay Eggs?

Duck resting in a nest with three eggs

Ducks typically lay their eggs very early in the morning, often around sunrise, and they usually choose a hidden spot to do so. This means you might not actually see them in the act of laying their eggs.

Depending on the breed, some ducks can lay an egg nearly every day, while others might take a break for a day or two between each egg.

Interestingly, ducks have the ability to hold their eggs until they find a spot they feel is suitable for laying. They are very particular about where they lay their eggs, preferring hidden or secluded areas where the eggs will be safe.

Hence, if ducks don’t feel safe or haven’t found the right spot, they might lay their eggs later in the day, sometimes even in the afternoon or evening, although this is rare.

Fun Fact: Ducks wait until they’ve laid all their eggs before starting to incubate them. This clever strategy means all the eggs start developing at the same time, so they hatch together.

Have more questions about when ducks start laying eggs or want to share your own experiences? Feel free to ask questions and share your thoughts in the comments below.

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