How Do Male Ducks Fertilize Eggs?

When drakes and hens mate, the drakes’ sperm goes into the hens’ eggs to make them fertile. During mating season, which is in early spring, mating usually happens after a courtship ritual. For fertilisation to happen, drakes must mate with hens every four to five days. says that ducks use internal fertilisation, which means that the process happens inside the hen’s reproductive system. This keeps the growing egg safe. says that drakes have courtship rituals that include bobbing their heads, making big feeding movements, preening, and making movements in the opposite direction. They also make calls and stand in certain ways when they are trying to mate, like with their head and tail up. says that birds and mammals have different reproductive organs. When ducks are ready to mate, their reproductive organs get bigger and move into a hole in their bodies called a cloaca.

Cloacas are found on both drakes and hens. Once a hen has shown that she is ready to mate with a drake, the drake stands on top of the hen and they mate. The penis is formed by the extension of the cloacal wall by lymphatic fluid. This lets ducks mate in the water without the sperm getting washed away.

Inside the hen, the egg and sperm join together to make a fertilised egg, called a zygote, that has a shell to protect it. Brooding is the process of the hen laying the egg and sitting on it until it hatches. Most of the time, drakes leave the hen to raise the chicks.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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