Delta Waterfowl Doubles Hen House Deployments in North Dakota

delta hen houses installed for ducks in ND

A North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund grant will allow The Duck Hunters Organization to install hundreds of new mallard-producing nest structures

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — Delta Waterfowl is set to more than double the size of its fleet of mallard-producing Hen House nesting structures in North Dakota, thanks to a $105,000 grant from the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund.

“Hen Houses are truly a mallard’s best friend,” said Tom Hutchens of the NDOHF board of directors. “Supporting this grant request from the Delta Waterfowl Foundation was an absolute no-brainer. Delta Hen Houses are economical, effective and farmer-friendly. That makes them the near-perfect OHF proposal.”

Approved in January, the grant will fund the construction and installation of 600 new Hen House nesting structures in the heart of the prairie pothole region of North Dakota during the next three years. Delta will secure matching funding to cover 10 years of maintenance on the new fleet.

Installation will begin in the winter of 2021-2022, ultimately bringing the number of Delta Waterfowl Hen Houses in North Dakota to more than 1,000, and pushing the total in the United States and Canada well past 10,000. Locations where the new Hen Houses can be installed to produce the most ducks are currently being evaluated.

Ben peterson Delta Waterfowl mallard-producing hen house nesting structures in North Dakota

North Dakota’s OHF was established in 2013 to award grants to support conservation practices such as enhancing wildlife populations, restoring habitat and providing access for sportsmen and women. The money comes from oil and gas production tax revenues.

This marks the third grant Delta has received from NDOHF for Hen Houses. In total, these grants will have placed more than 900 of the nesting structures on the North Dakota landscape. Another NDOHF grant in 2015 provided $1.75 million toward Delta’s Working Wetlands pilot project, which resulted in the historic official rollout of the groundbreaking conservation program by the USDA-NRCS in the spring of 2020.

“The Duck Hunters Organization is honored to have the enthusiastic and ongoing support of the North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund,” said Matt Chouinard, Delta’s senior waterfowl programs and Delta Marsh property manager. “Its grants are responsible for the construction and installation of the vast majority of Hen Houses in the state.”

Hen Houses are a primary focus of The Duck Hunters Organization’s science-based, cost-effective duck production efforts. Mallards using a Hen House nesting structure are up to 12 times more likely to hatch a nest than those nesting on the ground in upland grass cover. In many areas, nest success in Hen Houses is 60 to 90 percent, compared with less than 10 percent for nests in the grass.

“In combination with our North Dakota Predator Management work, the NDOHF-backed Hen Houses allow Delta to boost duck production in the PPR,” Chouinard said. “That benefits hunters all the way to the bottom of every flyway.”

For more information, contact John Devney at (701) 471-4235 or jdevney@deltawaterfowl.org.

Delta Waterfowl is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowl hunting in North America. Visit https://deltawaterfowl.org/