Mandarins will breed if they feel the environment is safe and if they are not stressed.
Nesting boxes should be provided. Give them an extra box so they can be choosy about which one they prefer to use. They only use the nesting boxes for about a month for breeding. After breeding season, clean out the nesting box to discourage bugs and disease.
The females will lay 9 – 12 eggs in a clutch during April and May. The gestation period is around 28 – 30 days. Some people prefer to bring the eggs in to an incubator for hatching, although the hens do a good job hatching them themselves. It’s really a personal preference.
It is easiest to tame the ducks when they are young. The ducklings will remain skittish if ducklings are left with their parents to raise; however, they become more tolerate of humans if you raise the ducklings apart from the parents. I have been able to feed them from my hand.
I have had luck with the adults, though, by using meal worms. You can reward them with some meal worms when they are calm. They will allow me to be near them, but they will not let me reach down to touch them.
- Life expectancy:
I have had a Mandarin male that was at least 13 years old. They are not smart birds and will not do well if left in the wild on their own. In captivity, Mandarins do best in an enclosed aviary-type structure with shelter from the elements.
In the wild they will eat plants, seeds, acorns, grains, fish, aquatic plants, snails, insects, worms, frogs, and small snakes.
In captivity, these ducks can thrive on packaged duck food pellets. I use Buckeye® Nutrition Big “4” Pellets #11350 when I can find it locally. Otherwise, I use a duck/goose pellet mixed in with some cracked corn. I supplement their pellets with meal worms, bugs, vegetation, and acorns when available.