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#474801 - 06/24/17 07:25 PM Update on wooducks in my homemade box
Flame Offline


Registered: 09/12/14
Posts: 1214
Loc: Deep East Texas
The other day I noticed a few screws pulling out on my woodduck house I built but left it alone because I knew I had ducks entering in it. Well after the storm blew thru couple days ago my box ended up on the ground and broke open. This was my first experience with wood ducks in any way so didn't know what to expect as I walked up to it. I new they had nested in it and saw the first one fly in almost exactly a month ago. But the nest feathers had been in there awhile. Anyway I had one complete egg that did not hatch but there were at least 8 empty egg "membranes" or something. They were all crushed or deflated for whatever reason. My question is... Were these the remainder of what is left after they hatch or could 8 eggs be soft shelled and didn't mature? In other words after a "good hatch" what should I have found left in the box other than one or two that didn't hatch? Does it sound like some type predator had already gotten to them? I do have a large cone shaped predator guard on the pole.
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#474811 - 06/25/17 01:21 AM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
If you had ducklings hatch out, you will see small crushed up egg pieces and membranes halves, almost perfectly equal in size. You can count the membrane pairs as a way to determine how many ducklings hatched in that box. You would also find a lot of down in there, several inches thick. This is typically layered on top of the nesting material you had placed in the box when putting it up or doing annual cleaning/refilling of nesting material.
Any egg shells outside an intact box means predator activity. Large egg pieces, especially with membranes still inside the shell pieces, also suggests predation occurred.
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#474821 - 06/25/17 09:59 AM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
Flame Offline


Registered: 09/12/14
Posts: 1214
Loc: Deep East Texas
DrLuke, Thank you sooo much!! That is exactly what I found!! I was wondering why the membranes looked small compared to that one egg that didn't hatch. It's because each was only a half!! I didn't completely dig through all my shavings I put in it because it all got wet,but... I must have had at a minimum 5 or 6 that hatched and the one complete egg that did not.I'm excited...that was my first attempt at getting wood ducks. Is this the time to clean out boxes anyway? I am going to build another one the same size out of a different wood where screws won't come loose and put it on the same pole.I did not expect the duck egg to be the size of a chicken egg but they were.
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Dear Alcohol, We had a deal where you would make me funnier, smarter, and a better dancer... I saw the video... We need to talk.

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#474836 - 06/25/17 03:01 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
DonoBBD Offline


Registered: 06/13/12
Posts: 1992
Loc: Ontario, Canada, Eh.
We had a clutch of mallards hatch in our pond this year. They take a good 28 days to hatch.
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#474841 - 06/25/17 06:38 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: DonoBBD]
bryani289swmi Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
Lunker

Registered: 11/18/08
Posts: 170
Loc: SW Michigan
I saw activity in all 6 of our wood duck boxes this year, I don't know how many successfully hatched out. I've seen at least 4 different groups of young ones scattered around the pond, the biggest group I counted 12 little ones. Thanks.

Bryan

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#474844 - 06/25/17 09:43 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: bryani289swmi]
anthropic Offline


Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 1837
Loc: East Texas, USA
Do wood ducks return to the same pond every year? Do they fly south far enough for me to put up a wood duck house that would get used?
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#474849 - 06/25/17 11:04 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
Originally Posted By: Flame
Is this the time to clean out boxes anyway? I am going to build another one the same size out of a different wood where screws won't come loose and put it on the same pole.I did not expect the duck egg to be the size of a chicken egg but they were.


Up north, I clean mine out and refill nesting material in the winter from the ice. Just because it's easy to access the box on a ladder from the ice. But once they're done nesting, clean, count membranes, repair and refill nesting material whenever you want. Sometimes other birds will use the box. Small owls do. But also junk birds like starlings, which I tend to plink with the pellet gun..
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The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute. The man who does not ask, is a fool for life.
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#474864 - 06/26/17 07:56 AM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
Flame Offline


Registered: 09/12/14
Posts: 1214
Loc: Deep East Texas
Anthropic, I am in east Texas near the Louisiana border. They showed up at my 2 acre pond. It is my understanding that not all wood ducks will migrate. Some will stay down south year around. I don't think you are that far from me. As a matter of fact I think you are farther north than me. While standing under my dock watching my feeder yesterday evening one came flying in and landed in the pond. I stood still and watched it paddle around and I swear it was eating fish food pellets!! It paddled over to the grass near where the box had been set up. Looked around a couple minutes then flew off. Not sure what was going on.I am going to start rebuilding my broken box today!!
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Dear Alcohol, We had a deal where you would make me funnier, smarter, and a better dancer... I saw the video... We need to talk.

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#474867 - 06/26/17 08:14 AM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
TGW1 Offline


Registered: 09/19/14
Posts: 2826
Loc: Harrison Co. Texas
I had six land on the pond at dusk the other evening, but I have not seen any take up nesting in the wood duck box this year. I had two boxes but a storm came through this spring and tore a box up. Must have been some really strong winds to tear it up like it did.
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Do not judge me by the politicians in my City, State or Federal Government.


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#474878 - 06/26/17 10:06 AM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
Flame Offline


Registered: 09/12/14
Posts: 1214
Loc: Deep East Texas
Tracy, The screws just started coming loose on mine. I used a "special" treated flooring material that looked like pressed wood chips. So much for that holding up!! Can't find 10 inch wide rough cedar around here. Do you think 3/4 inch treaded plywood would work? Will the "treatment" hurt the birds or keep them from nesting in them? Never thought about how many times a wood duck flies in and out at full speed in that box!! Could take its toll on the material I use. I'm ready to build another one. Need a little advise.....anyone?
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Dear Alcohol, We had a deal where you would make me funnier, smarter, and a better dancer... I saw the video... We need to talk.

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#474887 - 06/26/17 12:28 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
Quarter Acre Online   content


Registered: 06/10/16
Posts: 1413
Loc: West Central Missouri
Flame, I am no expert on duck boxes or the materials that they require, but I can say that regular ole' pine (whitewood) 1 by's hold up incredibly well for bluebird boxes and bird feeders. I typically, but not always, paint them white and put a solid weather proof roof on them. Something like a piece of barn tin or thick plastic sheeting can yield a lot of weather protection when used as a roof. Also, most plywoods, except the marine grades, degrade fast in the outdoors.
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Noel

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#474891 - 06/26/17 02:07 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: DrLuke]
SetterGuy Offline


Registered: 10/30/13
Posts: 1529
Loc: NE Missouri
Originally Posted By: DrLuke
Up north, I clean mine out and refill nesting material in the winter from the ice. Just because it's easy to access the box on a ladder from the ice. But once they're done nesting, clean, count membranes, repair and refill nesting material whenever you want. Sometimes other birds will use the box. Small owls do. But also junk birds like starlings, which I tend to plink with the pellet gun..


Well this is news to me. I guess I should join a birding forum, but,, well I just haven't.
I did not know I needed to put nesting material into the box. I put my box up early, saw wood ducks swimming near it, but it went unused. It might have been rejected due to no nesting materials in the box. It was just an empty wood box.
So, what do I add? How much, and when? And I guess it needs to be cleaned out?
I had blue birds in the box I put up (different box) but when they came back this spring wouldn't use the box. My mother in law told me the box needed to be cleaned out. So I'm going to do that for next spring.
I really enjoy seeing them around. Would love to have wood ducks also.
Thanks, "anyone" you can steer me in the right direction!


Edited by SetterGuy (06/26/17 02:09 PM)
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4 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM, HBG, SMB, and HSB..
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.

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#474895 - 06/26/17 03:08 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2043
Loc: West Michigan
This is a good FAQ section for all things related to wood ducks.

Wood Duck FAQ

I've read that aspen shavings are preferred over pine or cedar but this wood duck FAQ doesn't seem to delve into that topic. I've read 4-5" is the right amount in the bottom of the nest.

Lots of other good links on the main page (woodducksociety.com) great reading material.

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#474901 - 06/26/17 04:38 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
Flame Offline


Registered: 09/12/14
Posts: 1214
Loc: Deep East Texas
I bought the Aspen scent free shavings. Purchased a 2 cubic foot little "bale" of it at a place we have here in Texas called Tractor Supply Company. Probably most pet stores have it. All I know is it worked for me the very first time I tried it!! I probably put 5 inches loose in the bottom of the box. Canyon Creek has you steered right. That is the same site I used to become informed of a lot of it and the people on this forum!!
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Dear Alcohol, We had a deal where you would make me funnier, smarter, and a better dancer... I saw the video... We need to talk.

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#475011 - 06/28/17 07:44 AM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: canyoncreek]
SetterGuy Offline


Registered: 10/30/13
Posts: 1529
Loc: NE Missouri
Originally Posted By: canyoncreek
This is a good FAQ section for all things related to wood ducks.

Wood Duck FAQ

I've read that aspen shavings are preferred over pine or cedar but this wood duck FAQ doesn't seem to delve into that topic. I've read 4-5" is the right amount in the bottom of the nest.

Lots of other good links on the main page (woodducksociety.com) great reading material.


Good info. Thank you.
Flame, I will go by tractors supply on my way to the pond.
Thanks guys. I'd really like to have some nest next year. I have my box in a tree, so I may need to move it to a pole. I know I've got coons around. They leave a lot of tracks on the feeders.


Edited by SetterGuy (06/28/17 10:02 AM)
_________________________
4 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep.
RES, YP, GS, FHM, HBG, SMB, and HSB..
I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.

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#475015 - 06/28/17 08:34 AM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
Flame Offline


Registered: 09/12/14
Posts: 1214
Loc: Deep East Texas
I have coon tracks all around my pond. I built the metal cone predater protector out of some flashing material. aparently it worked. Mine is on a pole only one foot from the water. If I ever get full pool it will be in about 6 inches of water. Good luck!!
_________________________
Dear Alcohol, We had a deal where you would make me funnier, smarter, and a better dancer... I saw the video... We need to talk.

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#475019 - 06/28/17 09:04 AM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
canyoncreek Offline


Registered: 05/07/13
Posts: 2043
Loc: West Michigan
Dono, we had a mallard pair hatch about 12 eggs at our pond as well. It is amazing, the momma picked a pine tree with branches near the ground and nested under it. The kids were trying to get a good look and the mower gets very close to the nest when trimming around the tree but she hung in there.

She would race out from under the tree when the hand feeding of the fish food began and lap it up like crazy.

But strangely one day the ducklings were visible and the next day mom, dad, and babies all gone. Why would they not stay in the pond to raise their young? (perhaps it is our dog?) The young can't fly, how did they get to a safer BOW to raise their young?

Bryani289, we live near each other, I'm curious, what do your boxes look like that you got 6 to have activity? Are they in the water, near the water? ON posts or trees? a picture would be great. I'd love to see some success with the woodducks.

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#475126 - 06/29/17 03:17 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: Flame]
liquidsquid Offline


Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 1961
Loc: East Bloomfield, NY USA
I am going to give it a shot with Wood ducks. I don't expect success due to the setting being rather open, but what the heck? If it doesn't work out, I will re-purpose the house for small owls.

Speaking of which, has anyone tried composite decking materials for bird houses? Heavy as heck, but should be easy to clean and last longer than any of us. I saw in Running some pretty pricey bluebird houses made out of some really nice composite materials.

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#475142 - 06/29/17 05:32 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: liquidsquid]
DrLuke Offline


Registered: 06/04/15
Posts: 430
Loc: Grinnell, IA
Originally Posted By: liquidsquid
Speaking of which, has anyone tried composite decking materials for bird houses?


FWIW my ducks prefer the wooden houses, and even cedar over pine, but not by much (i.e. the cedar board houses get rented first, then the pine). I also put up two commercially made extruded plastic houses this year, which I didn't see much activity on. But I will know better once I clean them this winter. It's also possible the plastic wood duck houses needed some time to season. I'll keep you posted on that, because they are neat houses, and easy to put up and clean. Now I just have to convince the ducks of that!
I put up some of the plastic bluebird and wren houses around our property, and so far nothing has touched them. Not sure why not, but wood must seem most 'normal' to them I suppose.
_________________________
The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute. The man who does not ask, is a fool for life.
- Confucius
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#475146 - 06/29/17 05:45 PM Re: Update on wooducks in my homemade box [Re: DrLuke]
anthropic Offline


Registered: 05/03/14
Posts: 1837
Loc: East Texas, USA
I'm sure no expert on bird houses, but have heard that plastic ones get too hot in the summer.
_________________________
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