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#548212 05/20/22 08:12 AM
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I put up the YouTube stream yesterday. I think she's about 3-4 days out from hatching them.

[video:youtube]
[/video]

Last edited by DrLuke; 05/23/22 12:39 PM. Reason: updated link

"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts." - Dan Gable, Olympic Gold medalist, wrestling
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Fabulous live stream DrLuke!

I hope she turns out to be a great Mom.

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Fabulous live stream DrLuke!

I hope she turns out to be a great Mom.


She's sitting on at least 14 eggs, so she'll be a busy lady! Once the first one hatches the rest will follow within 24 hrs or less, and she'll call them all out of the box. Pretty amazing (and tough) little ducks.


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Dr. Luke-
I have a couple ponds in southern Iowa and have put up 2 wood wood duck houses and 2 plastic type house. Each winter I place new wood chips. I have been at this for 5-6 years but have never had wood ducks stay. I occasionally will see them on pond but never any chicks.

Any advice on getting wood duck to stay in houses. What you use to line bottom of house.

Tom

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Originally Posted by tdbdds
Dr. Luke-
I have a couple ponds in southern Iowa and have put up 2 wood wood duck houses and 2 plastic type house. Each winter I place new wood chips. I have been at this for 5-6 years but have never had wood ducks stay. I occasionally will see them on pond but never any chicks.

Any advice on getting wood duck to stay in houses. What you use to line bottom of house.

Tom

Hi Tom! I am happy to try and help. Can you post some pictures of your pond and your houses? Both close up and from far away? It would help me render an opinion.

I use wood chips. Usually cedar but whatever is available. But don't use sawdust. It'll clump from the hen going in and out of the box with a wet belly.

Like all the animals sportsman love (fish to deer), ducks are drawn to good feed sources, and good habitat. Woodies love acorns so oak trees near your pond help. Hens also need shoreline plant cover to hide the brood in. Some duckweed is nice too, as baby ducks love it.
So boxes alone may not be enough if the hen doesn't find the right environment for her brood.


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Thanks a bunch for taking time to host this livestream and post it here! I love this post and also if you happen to be able to catch the 'jump day' from the outside, how awesome!

I too have failed this spring despite moving the duck house to a more sheltered place. But like you said above. I probably do not have adequate vegetation to hide the brood in. In fact I have none, although I have mature trees almost all around the pond and several huge oak trees. I'm curious about the acorn part of things. The woodies come in the spring and the acorns fall in the fall. I rarely see any acorns left by winter time and surely by spring they are gone (deer and squirrels eat them). Do you have acorns left for them in the spring?

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Originally Posted by canyoncreek
Thanks a bunch for taking time to host this livestream and post it here! I love this post and also if you happen to be able to catch the 'jump day' from the outside, how awesome!

I too have failed this spring despite moving the duck house to a more sheltered place. But like you said above. I probably do not have adequate vegetation to hide the brood in. In fact I have none, although I have mature trees almost all around the pond and several huge oak trees. I'm curious about the acorn part of things. The woodies come in the spring and the acorns fall in the fall. I rarely see any acorns left by winter time and surely by spring they are gone (deer and squirrels eat them). Do you have acorns left for them in the spring?

I think acorns are a preferred food source, but definitely not an only food source. Mast bearing trees (aka nut bearing trees) don't produce a crop every season, and our trees produce every other to every 3rd year. But within a stand of oaks, several trees are dropping a bunch of nuts any given fall. The ducks always find these trees and gorge themselves. I have seen hens and half grown ducklings under our trees several times. But I know baby ducks are omnivores and will gobble up whatever tidbit they find while dabbling in the shallows, including bugs, slugs and snails. So I think they'll eat what's available at the time.
I guess even with ducks "it just depends". But the hen most certainly does some eyeball calculations about the suitability of a location for raising a brood. Our place is blessed with a nice combo of duck preferred cover and forage.
I suppose the motivated land owner could try and improve the duck friendly habitat around his pond. But I also know there is only so much time and effort and treasure we can invest in our hobbies.


"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts." - Dan Gable, Olympic Gold medalist, wrestling
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Im loving this thread myself, I have 4 duck boxes out on my lake, 2 homemade out of 8 inch pvc pipe and 2 of the duck huts, I have them about 6 ft above the water on 2" steel pipe bolted down to a tree stump that I cut off about 2' above the water, I'll get some pictures, I have had them out for this would be the second season now and don't think I have had any success yet. I should have a reasonably desirable environment at my pond, I have several acres of standing timber flooded out when I built the pond, I put the duck boxes sorta on the edges between open water and woods but shaded during the hottest part of the day.
I already have wood ducks staying and hatching at the pond, Ive seen the young, for several yrs and the other day again I observed a male wood duck floating around by himself in the middle of the day so I am convinced she is on a nest somewhere. the pond is only several yrs old so the flooded timber is not that old and rotten enough yet to be nesting material yet except maybe a really old dead tree or two that were dead long before the water filled up, 1 of them looks like it may have some duck sized cavities.
Really liking the live stream,, hoping I can get to find out when they hatch and climb out of the nest!
This pond is in north central MO btw. Randolph county

Last edited by gehajake; 05/21/22 11:39 AM.

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https://imgur.com/a/BAjjXZs

Hey Luke-
Hopefully this link will open photos of my wood duck houses and wood chips I use.

They do face west and get afternoon sun maybe need to move to west side of pond.

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Originally Posted by tdbdds
https://imgur.com/a/BAjjXZs

Hey Luke-
Hopefully this link will open photos of my wood duck houses and wood chips I use.

They do face west and get afternoon sun maybe need to move to west side of pond.

Thanks for the photos! I think your house placement is fine as far as facing the pond. I do the same with mine. As long as the box stays relatively dry in storms, she'll be fine (she's waterproof, but cold and wet nest material can be bad news for brooding eggs).

I see you have PVC pipe predator guards on the shore mounted boxes. What do you see inside the boxes when you inspect them? If you see broken but large pieces of shell, your boxes may be getting raided. I have witnessed mink going right up a pole and into duck houses easy as pie. And once they find a house, they remember it and always come back to check for free eggs. Coons would have a tougher time but sometimes can surprise you with what they figure out. You could consider putting a game camera or two out to monitor your boxes, if you have any to spare (maybe you use them to scout deer, and could use them from March to June on your duck boxes instead).

Is the bedding disturbed? Most hens mold it into a cup shape by wiggling into it with their belly. Shape is about the size of a cereal bowl. Any downy feathers?
How about any shell bits or membrane halves? If you've had a brooding hen (sitting on eggs) she'll have plucked a bunch of her down out and lined the nest with it. Sometimes if they start brooding and get interrupted (mink raid, starlings, etc) they'll leave and do not return. And speaking of starlings, they are the worst. Useless junk bird that will try and take over nest boxes, and even peck holes in eggs they find in the box. I give them no quarter when seen.

Would you say the edges of your pond as seen in the picture is typical for the spring? On the one hand, you have a nice clean water edge as far as I can see. BUT without some flatter shorelines with some more wet land like conditions (emergent plants like cattails or rushes and some duck weed amongst them) I wonder if the hens are rejecting this nesting location due to worries about hatchling rearing without that cover and feed combo they need. I noticed some pine, maple and cottonwood along the shore. Any nut bearing trees, like oak or hickory? It's not a deal breaker in my opinion because the adult ducks will fly where they need to go for feeding. But if the marginal cover and feed is scarce and there are no close food sources for the adults, it may contribute to less takers on your boxes.

Lastly, if the boxes don't seem to have any evidence of being raided, and you don't mind swapping out the chips every season (at least) I would be patient and wait and see. Boxes don't take up much space and can last a number of years with a little regular TLC. The duck hut boxes are awesome and the only sign of weathering on mine is fading of the green exterior color. I have to replace boards and screw together splits on wooden boxes on a regular basis.

Please don't take any of the above as an insult to your pond or property. Your pond and place look fantastic! I am strictly commenting on what wood ducks like about our pond, and nothing more.
Post any questions you have about the above.


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Good information DrLuke my huts are out actually on the water probably 30' from the shoreline, tons of oak trees, starlings are my biggest concern if they are a problem, I have never seen any around my place till this past spring I have seen them nesting in at least a couple of the boxes, what can a person do about them? I am not around there much and the pond is big, getting close enough to waste a couple would be pretty hard to do. TIA


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Originally Posted by gehajake
Good information DrLuke my huts are out actually on the water probably 30' from the shoreline, tons of oak trees, starlings are my biggest concern if they are a problem, I have never seen any around my place till this past spring I have seen them nesting in at least a couple of the boxes, what can a person do about them? I am not around there much and the pond is big, getting close enough to waste a couple would be pretty hard to do. TIA

Starlings are the pits, and there is no easy fix I know of. I live right next to my pond and can spot them right away. As a funny coincidence, I know the exact yardage to each box (as well as the perfect hold with my Benjamin Discovery .177 PCP pellet rifle). Lead poisoning is very effective, when delivered with accuracy. :-)


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Luke-
Thanks for all in advice. I will set up trail cams to see what is lurking. I change out wood chips each year and generally nothing in next but some wasp nest which I take out. occasionally an unhatched egg of unknown species. I dont have any nut trees around which is a bummer. I have planted 300 oak the last 10 years but the they are not fruiting yet. Boarder of pond is generally clean and I dont have any cattails or duck weed. Maybe just not a wood duck place.

Tom

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Originally Posted by tdbdds
Maybe just not a wood duck place.

Tom

Our farm is mostly winter wheat and tallgrass prairie. However, we do have a 100' wide shelter belt of trees that was planted in the 1930s. We have very few nut trees, but like you, I have gotten some young ones planted.

We are definitely NOT a good wood duck place.

However, we do have a narrow live creek, that is mostly lined with various species of scrubby trees. I see a pair of wood ducks down on the creek every second or third winter.

If it is not too much work for you, I would keep trying to maintain your wood duck houses and habitat.

"If you build it, they will come." (Hopefully)

Good luck on your project!

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Is the live stream within your duck box over Dr. Luke? Did jump day already happen or can you restore the live stream? Thanks!

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Finally got the video uploaded. And by finally, I mean by my son, who is my 'IT guy' and a really good one at that.



"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts." - Dan Gable, Olympic Gold medalist, wrestling
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Good job Dr. Luke on helping Mom raise that big brood of wood ducks!

Good job by your "IT guy" to get the video uploaded and running!

Good job by your peepers to play a constant "drum roll" in the background to encourage the ducklings to jump out!

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Originally Posted by FishinRod
Good job Dr. Luke on helping Mom raise that big brood of wood ducks!

Good job by your "IT guy" to get the video uploaded and running!

Good job by your peepers to play a constant "drum roll" in the background to encourage the ducklings to jump out!

It's pretty cool to watch live. When she starts doing that low volume putting call, the hatchlings start going wild (like popping popcorn). I really love all things pond, including and especially the fish and life IN the pond.
But I'd be lying if I didn't admit how much I love the wood ducks. Very cool little duck. And the drakes would give any bird a run for it's money on 'cool paint jobs'.


"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts." - Dan Gable, Olympic Gold medalist, wrestling
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[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


"Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts." - Dan Gable, Olympic Gold medalist, wrestling
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Man, that's a beautiful bird!


7ac 2015 CNBG RES FHM 2016 TP FLMB 2017 NLMB GSH L 2018 TP & 70 HSB PK 2019 TP RBT 2020 TFS TP 25 HSB & 250 F1,L,RBT -206 2021 TFS TP GSH L,-312 2022 GSH TP CR TFS -116




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a couple random questions and thanks for hosting this and making the video again.

-where is the male during this process?
-does male have to 'accept' the chicks in order for them to survive?

-Do they hang out at your pond for a while or do they disappear?
-I guess they can't fly so do they walk out into the woods? or do the little ducks eat out of the pond like mallards do for a while?

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Originally Posted by canyoncreek
a couple random questions and thanks for hosting this and making the video again.

-where is the male during this process?
-does male have to 'accept' the chicks in order for them to survive?

-Do they hang out at your pond for a while or do they disappear?
-I guess they can't fly so do they walk out into the woods? or do the little ducks eat out of the pond like mallards do for a while?

The drakes will come by the nest box morning and evening and wait for his hen to come out for her short feeding run. They hide or leave the rest of the day. But after about 2 weeks, the drakes dissappear for the rest of the summer. The drakes are not involved with the hatchlings at all. I've never seen a drake with a hen and hatchlings in the 7 years we've been here.

From my literature research on woodies, they don't pair mate for life, like Canadian geese do. Just for the season. If I recall the study, they were tracking banded pairs, so could make this determination.

We rarely ever see the hen and chicks again. And (surprisingly) she DOES walk them everywhere. We've seen a hen lead her gang hundreds of yards to our neighbors pond, up hills, across Ag fields, through thick grass. The day old chicks keep up no problem. Wood duck chicks are FAST, both running and swimming. Makes sense, when the whole wild world is trying to eat you.
The chicks are omnivores and focus on small floating plants like duckweed and small insects. And they hide and forage along the shoreline. Probably gives them the best options for escape depending on the hunter.


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Thanks Luke.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

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