best duck nesting box

The Best Duck Nesting Box + Alternatives (FAQs)

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Installing a duck nesting box on your property is a great way to welcome a variety of waterfowl to your property.

If you live close to a woodland water source like a lake, river, pond, stream, swamp, or bay, you have the opportunity to see beautiful and fascinating ducks throughout the breeding season.

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Combine a nest box with a high-quality trail camera, and you’re bound to gain some fascinating insights into the lives of the ducks that live in your area!

There are several duck nesting boxes on the market. Most have similar features, but you still have your choice of different materials, sizes, and styles. So, if you’re unsure which box to choose, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular duck nesting boxes on Amazon!

Note: As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.

JCs Wildlife Cedar Wood Duck Nesting Box with Poly Lumber Roof

JCs Wildlife Cedar Wood Duck Nesting Box with Poly Lumber Roof - Mount in or at The Water's Edge to Attract Wood Ducks Nearby - Equipped with Clean Out Door and Drainage Holes (Green)
  • Welcome your feathered friends with the JCs Wildlife Cedar Wood Duck House!
  • Designed with ducks in mind with kerfs, built-in predator guard, and 4" oval entrance hole.
  • Easy-open clean out door makes cleaning this house a breeze. Simply open the door to empty and replace nesting material.

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This nesting box is made from cedar, but it has a polycarbonate lumber roof and a 4″ reinforced duck entrance.

Designed for Wood Ducks, the unit is 24.5″ H x 9.75″ W x 11.75″ D and comes with a bag of pine shavings to serve as nesting material (you can replace the nesting material each year).

The JCs Wildlife nesting box has pre-drilled mounting holes and an easy-to-open clean-out panel at the bottom for simple annual cleaning.

Mount the JCs Wildlife nesting box onto a 4×4 post (or tree), 4-5 feet above the ground, close to the water’s edge, in regions where Wood Ducks are present in the summer.

What we like about this nesting box:

  • The durable, poly lumber roof keeps the nesting box and internal materials dry
  • Drainage holes in the bottom eliminate moisture from inside the box

What could be better:

  • Some people have found that they need to reinforce the clean-out panel so it doesn’t fall open
  • The box works best with an attached baffle, which you have to buy separately
  • The clean-out door is pretty small, which means access could be better

Handcrafted Cedar Wood Duck Nesting Box

Handcrafted Cedar Wood Duck Nesting Box
  • Vent & drainage holes to allow air flow and to prevent any moisture collection
  • Interior wire ladder allows ducklings to exit on jump day
  • Swing open door for quick and easy seasonal clean out

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Handcrafted Cedar Wood Duck Nesting Box is a sturdy, cedar-crafted box that is 19.5″ H x 11.5″ W x 11.5″ D. (Note that the item description on Amazon lists the dimensions inaccurately, but I’ve corrected them here.)

The front of the box is hinged so that you can open the whole thing for easy access to the inside when it’s time to clean it out. 

This box includes air vents and drain holes to help reduce moisture. A nice feature is the hardware cloth-style ladder attached to the inside of the door, which allows ducklings to easily climb out of the nest when it’s time.

You can also buy this product in a two-pack.

Set of 2 Cedar Wood Duck Nesting Boxes - BUNDLE, Set of 2
  • Vented design for air flow and drainage provided to prevent trapped water
  • Interior ladder mounted for ducklings to climb to make their jump - hardware cloth below box entrance/ exit hole.
  • Swing open door for quick and easy seasonal clean out

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What we like about this nesting box:

  • It would be easy to install a small ladder on most duck nesting boxes, but it’s nice that this comes with one pre-installed.
  • The material is sturdy and weather resistant.

What could be better:

  • You will need something to prop up the door when you go to clean it because the hinges are at the top.
  • This box does not come with any nesting material.

Cypress Wood Duck Nesting Box

Cypress Wood Duck Nesting Box
  • 24" x 11" x 12" with 4" wide oval entrance
  • Hand-constructed from cypress wood
  • Made in the USA

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is a more budget-friendly option for anyone looking for a nesting box. Cypress is one of the other recommended box materials, in addition to cedar.

This box is 24″ H x 11″ W x 12″ D, and the oval entrance hole is 4″ wide, making it one of the larger boxes on our list.

You can mount this one quickly because the holes are pre-drilled onto a 4×4″ post. The hinges are brass, and there is a small clean-out access panel on the side.

What we like about this nest box:

  • It’s nice and spacious.
  • Cypress is a durable, lightweight material, and the box is easy to install.
  • The brass screws are generally appropriately weather-resistant.

What could be better:

  • The clean-out access is raised above the floor a bit, which means you’ll have to reach in and grab the old, dirty nesting material when it’s time to clean it out. A lower-level clean-out would be better.

Uncle Dunkels Premium Wood Duck House

Uncle Dunkels Premium Pine Wood Duck House; Rustic Handmade Duck Nesting Box
  • SUPERIOR CRAFTSMANSHIP: Built by experienced southeastern Kentucky artisans, each nesting house is individually handcrafted to...
  • VARIETY OF BIRDS: Ideal for wood ducks, hooded mergansers, common goldeneyes and Barrow's goldeneyes
  • INCLUDED: In addition to receiving this premium roosting box, we include pine shavings to be used as nesting material for its...

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Uncle Dunkels’ design is 24″ H x 8″ W x 8″ D with a 4×3″ oval entrance hole. The box is constructed of solid pine, and the roof is shingled.

The front panel of the nesting box is made from bark, and the entire exterior has been coated with animal-safe decking stain to protect the structure from the elements.

The interior of the box includes a ladder for ducklings, and one side of the box opens completely for access and cleaning; There are actually two panels that open so that the entire box is accessible.

This Uncle Dunkels’ model comes with 2 galvanized mounting screws and your first nesting material.

What we like about this nesting box:

  • The natural look of this box may be more appealing to ducks who prefer tree cavities to nesting boxes.
  • The clean-out access is great!
  • This is an incredibly sturdy box, made from 3/4″ lumber.

What could be better:

  • We really don’t see any drawbacks with this nesting box! It is a bit more expensive than some other boxes on the market, but it doesn’t appear to have a history of being overpriced.

BestNest Recycled Plastic Wood Duck House

Amish Made Recycled Plastic Wood Duck House, Brown and Gray
  • Generous, recycled plastic shelter specifically designed for wood ducks
  • Brown and gray tones enhance your natural setting
  • Extended back attaches to a tree or post easily

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The BestNest model is made from recycled plastic jugs and is 10.75″ L x 12″ W x 24″ H. Like most other models, the entrance hole is a 3×4″ oval.

This nesting box includes pre-drilled holes for easy installation onto a post.

As well, there are grooves below the entrance hole that are designed to give ducks a better grip as they come and go.

The roof features an overhang to prevent water from getting into the box, and it also slides off for easy access to the rest of the box. Additionally, there is a clean-out panel at the base of the nesting box.

What we like about this nesting box:

  • The recycled plastic construction is going to last for years, so you don’t have to worry about replacing it due to weather damage.
  • It’s great to have multiple ways to access the inside of this box.

What could be better:

  • Plastic duck boxes can become quite hot and humid inside. Therefore, I recommend this box in cooler temperatures, rather than hot or swampy environments.

The Benefits of Installing a Duck Nesting Box

Duck nesting boxes are one of the best ways to make your property more inviting to a variety of ducks.

There are at least 29 different kinds of ducks in North America, plus mergansers, eiders, grebes, and loons.

Most ducks are migratory, which means that you have to pay attention to where you live and what season it is if you want to become an experienced duck spotter.

Not all ducks will take to a nesting box, though. Rather, many species of ducks build their nests in aquatic grasses and reeds along the water’s edge, and these varieties won’t be interested in a duck nesting box.

For example, Mallards are North America’s most common duck, and they won’t concede to living in a nesting box. Instead, they nest on dry land, close to the water’s edge.

However, Wood Ducks, Goldeneyes, Mergansers, and Buffleheads are all cavity-dwelling ducks who are just as likely to choose a nesting box as they are an abandoned tree cavity.

When you install a nesting box, you create a welcoming and hospitable environment for these kinds of ducks. They use these boxes to build a comfortable, dark, and safe nest to lay their eggs and hatch their ducklings.

A protected nest box — one with a baffle to keep snakes and predators away — can also help these ducks thrive. You can play a direct role in improving the reproductive success of a variety of ducks, including threatened species like Barrow’s Goldeneyes.

If you really want to make the most of having a duck box, install a trail cam nearby! Some people even install webcams in their nest boxes in order to live stream the process.

Duck Nesting Box FAQs

Adding duck nesting boxes to your property may bring you a lot of enjoyment, but you may have questions before you get started. This section is all about helping you figure out the basics of when and where to place duck nesting boxes on your property — and how to make the most of them!

Which duck species will use a nest box?

Ducks that dwell in abandoned tree cavities are usually willing to nest in a box because the entrance to the tree cavity and the box are quite similar.

This includes Wood Ducks, Barrow’s and Common Goldeneyes, Hooded and Common Mergansers, and Buffleheads.

What time of year can I expect ducks to use a nesting box?

Most ducks will only use a nesting box during the breeding season.

You can check our Wild Bird Scoop Duck guides for information about when ducks visit each state. (For example, here are our guides for Ducks in Texas, Ducks in Minnesota, and Ducks in Florida.)

We recommend having your duck nesting box installed and prepared by February so that early-season migrants can access the duck box.

How many nesting boxes can I put on my property?

You can install as few as one nest box, but you can also install many nest boxes in the same area.

However, it’s best to install each nest box at a reasonable amount of distance. Thirty feet apart is a good guideline.

This way, you don’t create opportunities for territorial conflict. As well, another great idea is to make sure that the nest boxes aren’t visible to one another.

Where should I place my nesting box?

Duck nesting boxes should be mounted on a 4×4″ post or onto a tree at the water’s edge. The box should be mounted 3-6′ feet off the ground. For Wood Ducks, you can place them between 25-200 yards from the waterline.

Do I need to include a baffle?

A baffle is a protective device that attaches to the post, below the nesting box. These devices are generally used to keep squirrels and other pests away from their bird feeders, but they are also helpful for keeping predators out of duck boxes.

What kind of nesting material should I put in my nesting box?

You don’t have to add nesting material, but it can make the nest box more welcoming. To create nesting material, fill the bottom of the box with about 3-6 inches of pine shavings.

How often do I have to clean the nesting box?

You don’t want to pester the ducks, so there is no need to clean the nest box while in use. However, you should completely empty it and wash it out after the ducks have departed.

This will prevent the growth of bacteria and parasites, and it will also keep your duck nesting box functional for more years.

We recommend cleaning the duck box when it’s cold because it’s less likely to be infested with wasps, bees, or hornets during the colder months.

To clean properly, use gloves to avoid being exposed to any bacteria left behind by the ducks and their feces.

What if ducks don’t visit my nest box?

This can be frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world! If you notice that one of your nesting boxes isn’t being used, try moving it to a slightly different location.

Our Top Choice: Uncle Dunkels Premium Wood Duck Box

If you’re not sure where to start, but you want to invest in a duck box, my recommendation is to go with the Uncle Dunkels Premium Wood Duck Box.

Uncle Dunkels Premium Pine Wood Duck House; Rustic Handmade Duck Nesting Box
  • SUPERIOR CRAFTSMANSHIP: Built by experienced southeastern Kentucky artisans, each nesting house is individually handcrafted to...
  • VARIETY OF BIRDS: Ideal for wood ducks, hooded mergansers, common goldeneyes and Barrow's goldeneyes
  • INCLUDED: In addition to receiving this premium roosting box, we include pine shavings to be used as nesting material for its...

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This box is the sturdiest option and should last the longest. It comes with all of the basic supplies you’ll need to get started, including the hardware and nesting material.

As well, the double access points on the side of this duck box give you easy access to the inside of this box. With this box, you should be able to attract ducks for years to come!

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