BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — Delta Waterfowl’s mallard-producing Hen House program has received a $30,000 donation from SportDOG Brand’s Conservation Fund. The gift will support the construction, installation and maintenance of the nesting structures throughout key breeding areas of North America’s prairie pothole region.
“Properly deployed Delta Hen Houses are the most cost-effective tool to boost mallard production ever devised,” said Matt Chouinard, Delta’s senior waterfowl programs manager and its unofficial Hen House guru. “Mallards using a Hen House are 12 times more likely to hatch a nest than those nesting in the surrounding grass. In many areas, nest success in Hen Houses is 60 to 90 percent, compared with less than 10 percent for mallards nesting in the grass.
The Duck Hunters Organization places Hen Houses over water in small wetlands with limited nesting cover, where predators such as red foxes, raccoons, skunks, mink, badgers, corvids and other egg-eaters can easily find duck nests in sparse patches of grass. Hen Houses provide a high level of protection from such threats.
“The elevated platform ensures the safety of the hen, her eggs and ultimately her ducklings,” Chouinard said. “For most mallards, it’s a risky waddle as ducklings travel from a nest in the grass to the nearest wetland, but Hen Houses allow the young birds to plop directly into the safety of the water.”
Delta installs Hen Houses in the critical breeding areas of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, North Dakota and Minnesota, and continues to expand the program to add even more mallards to every fall flight, across every flyway. The generous donation from SportDOG Brand, an industry-leading manufacturer of electronic dog-training products and accessories, will advance this goal.
“It’s this kind of hands-on effort producing real, measurable results that SportDOG Brand is proud to lend our support to, and why our Conservation Fund was created,” said Lance Tracy, Radio Systems Corporation (SportDOG Brand Founder) and CCO.
The sentiment was seconded by Darrell Douglas, SportDOG Brand Director.
“Delta Waterfowl’s employees and volunteers, who are out there growing this huge project, reflect the same positive attitude exhibited by our teammates,” said Darrell Douglas, SportDOG Brand Director. “It’s a great example of what happens when like-minded groups focus on common goals.”
By 2022, Delta Waterfowl forecasts that nearly 10,000 Hen Houses will be available for hen mallards. Local Delta chapters have installed more than 5,000 additional Hen Houses.
“Delta Hen Houses annually produce, conservatively, at least 50,000 mallard ducklings that otherwise would’ve never hatched,” Chouinard said. “We are grateful to SportDOG Brand’s commitment to our duck production mission.”
Delta Waterfowl Foundation is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and ensure the tradition of duck hunting in North America. Visit deltawaterfowl.org.
SportDOG Brand is owned by Radio Systems Corporation, a manufacturer of electronic dog-training gear and accessories, based in Knoxville, Tennessee. SportDOG product lines include training e-collars, GPS tracking and training systems, bark-control collars, containment systems, launcher electronics and other training aids. Visit sportdog.com.