The mandarin duck is originally from China but is now found throughout China, Japan, southern England and Siberia. They are often found on exhibit in zoos. They prefer a habitat that is mostly wooded, but ones that have water nearby. The typical brood is eight to ten eggs. They typically nest in holes in trees that overhang the water. You can, however, help them find a place to nest by building a nesting box for them.
Utilise cedar lumber that is unfinished and 1 by 10 inches (3/4 of an inch thick by 9-1/4 inches wide).
Cut the wood into six pieces. Cut the first piece measuring 31 inches by 9.25 inches; the second, third, and fourth measuring 23.5 inches by 9.25 inches; the fifth measuring 7.75 inches by 9.25 inches; and the sixth measuring 14 inches by 9.25 inches.
Label the first piece one--back; the second two--side; the next three--front; the next four--door; the next five--floor; and the last six--roof.
Attach the back and the side pieces together. Use four screws, two on each side. Insert the screws from the back piece into the side piece.
Utilise a drill to add five drainage holes along the bottom piece measuring a half inch each.
Use two screws to attach the floor to the side and back. Attach the screws from the back to the floor.
Draw an oval for the entry hole on the front. Measure the hole to be 4-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches. Use an electric jigsaw to cut out the hole once you have made a pilot hole with a drill.
Use a handsaw to make score marks on the inside of the front piece to give a place that helps the duck to climb out of the nest box.
Attach the front to the box using six screws.
Use an electric sander to round off the top front of the door. Attach the door to the box on the opposite side of the side piece. Screw one screw through the front into the door and one from the back into the door to create a hinge you can lift the door by, giving you access to clean the nest box.
Add wood shavings to the bottom of the box, approximately five inches thick.
Attach the roof by using seven screws. Place three screws through the back into the roof, avoiding the door, and four screws from the front into the roof.
Attach your nest box to a six foot tall two by four that has been embedded in the ground. Use six screws to attach it through the back of the two by four into the back of the box.
- Choose a site for your nest box that is over the water. This can be on the edge of the water or on a small tuft of ground in the water.
- You can add a predator protector approximately two feet up the two by four. You can make a metal protector by placing metal sheeting on the pole. Or you could use a plastic pipe around the pole.