wood duck houses
Both of my houses have eggs and for sure one hen is brooding. I checked the box and she was sitting tight, wouldn't budge off those eggs. This was about 3 weeks ago so in another week or so they should be hatching. The other box when I checked it had 10 eggs but the hen wasn't brooding them yet so she probably wasn't done laying. Once she has laid what to her is a full clutch she will then start brooding them. And that is where it is hard to determine when they will hatch and on what day the chicks will jump. So unless you check the box everyday and determine when she starts brooding you won't know when jump day will occur. Approximately 28-32 days of incubation time is needed. But seeing them jump is not that important to me but rather that the hen pulled off a sucessful nest. Plus you don't want to be checking everyday--too intrusive I believe. Hopefully the other box doesn't turn out to be a dump nest like one of my boxes last year. I would wait till August or September to empty and clean the box. The one thing I'd like to stress is that you shouldn't put a box on a tree, especially if there are squirrels around. As far as buying a box you'd still be way ahead making one yourself. There are a lot of good plans online. Hope this helps. Putting a box over water is still the best bet, IMO.
Ours just hatched yesterday.
Thanks for the good information here. I was only able to get 1 out and was a little worried that it swayed too much. I just left it and noticed recently that it is being used. Well...I think it is as I have seen a female fly out of it in the evening 2-3 times now. Is there any kind of check ups I need to do? Or just leave it now till winter? I got the itch to get out more for next year. Has anyone found a good place to buy them? Wood prices are obviously crazy
Secrets to success: Face to the south for morning sun. Check yearly for repairs and to get out any rotten eggs or wet shavings that can cook the eggs when it gets warm. Put on 1 inch conduit pipes over water to keep out the varmits (although they do get in when water is iced over). Use caulk to fill in any gaps. Move to other areas if they are not getting used. What looks good to you is not always what they want. Make sure house is tight on pole. If they are swaying they do not get used as often. And much, much more.
26 for 31 this year with 5 of the other 6 having activity.
Last year I put out a house in the spring and had an egg laid in it 2 days later. That same box hatched two different broods.
Actually, it's easier to put your "post" in the water when there's ice on the lake. You just drill your hole through the ice and then pound your ( I like to use maybe 1 inch galvanized pipe) support pole into the bottom. Your house can be secured using strap hangars and if you put it all over water you don't have to have a predator guard as we don't really have a problem with water snakes or anything. I've never had a problem with raccoons swimming out and climbing the pole. If you build your house right and size the hole like they tell you in your directions they won't be able to get in anyway. You can put the post in after ice out. It's not too late. Good for you for helping out the Woodies.
Interested in installing 2-3 of my own this spring. When is it "too late" to put these up or should I have done that in fall? I want to put a post in the water, but obviously ice is the problem. Appreciate any advice for a newbie.
You should definitely check your houses before iceout just to remove anything that might have gotten in over the winter. I clean mine out in August or September as many times some of the houses are used as "dump" nests. This means that maybe a couple or few hens have laid eggs in them with no intention of brooding them. I've taken over a dozen eggs (infertile) out of boxes in August. I've had Tree Swallows build over the top of the Woodies eggs and nest successfully. They'll often use a Woodie box after the Woodie chicks have left the box. You can put numerous boxes on a small pond but try to put them out of sight of each other. Incidentally, the reason some boxes become "dump" nests is actually a survival tactic. A dominant hen will try to brood all those eggs in one box even if she didn't lay them. Here is one of my boxes from last year where the hen laid a second brood and they hatched on July 4th. That would mean they probably weren't flying until about the beginning of September.
I checked mine on Saturday and was 1/2. The empty one was on a pole that had bent 45 degrees so that might have been the problem. I bent it straight and filled it with new bedding. Woodies are 50% of what we shoot, so I hope the boxes are successful this year. Can you have too many boxes on a small pothole?