According to Canary Zoo, mandarin ducks reach sexual maturity when they are one year old and lay eggs in the springtime. These ducks form breeding pairs that often last for several seasons, although the males frequently breed with additional females while their primary hen is incubating a clutch of eggs. Each clutch incubates for 30 days and contains up to 12 eggs.
Adult mandarin ducks go through a yearly cycle of "breeding months" and "non-breeding months." During the non-breeding months, they require only small rations of grain and grass. During the breeding season, they require supplementation with insects and additional grain. Mandarins also need large amounts of fresh water. Ducks who are overfed during their lean year experience reduced fertility until they lose weight.
Canary Zoo explains that captive mandarin ducks do not breed without specialized nest boxes located near water. The ideal nest box sits two to three feet above the ground and is roughly 30 inches tall and 10 inches wide. The box top needs a circular entrance hole measuring four inches across. The ducks need a textured access ramp that starts on the ground and terminates at the nest box entrance.
Newborn ducks, called fledglings, require close supervision by their mother or another female duck. They have prodigious climbing ability, and Canary Zoo recommends keeping them in a covered pen or aviary until they are at least one month old.