This is my very first post on Backyard Chickens and I would really appreciate the advice from seasoned duck owners :)
This past spring I bought some call ducks at a local consignment sale and I absolutely love them! But this past summer, one of my females made a nest outside with 5 eggs and luckily we found her before she had been sitting too long. So we waited until it was dark one evening and we grabbed her and her eggs and moved her inside, hoping that she would continue to sit on her nest once she was safely inside. Well of course that didn't happen, so after a few days of her not sitting on her moved nest, I took her 5 eggs to my cousin, who put the eggs under a broody chicken. Out of the 5 eggs, only one hatched on August 9th. I brought the chicken and little duckling to my house and put them both inside a cage separated from the rest of my 12 chickens and 7 other call ducks. Things have been going really well, but I'm getting concerned for my little duck. The chicken who is raising him doesn't seem interested in him anymore, which isn't really surprising because he's 7 weeks old already and she has started laying eggs again. She's not mean to him or anything, but she's just not interested; she'll go off without him and he'll stay inside the coop and make the most pitiful sound when she's not around. And I tried to put him by himself in with my 7 full grown call ducks and they were of course mean to him and tried to chase him off.
So I guess I'm concerned as to what I should do. I don't know if this little duckling will wean himself off the mother chicken eventually or if he'll always be attached to her because he was the only one she raised. I would like to return the chicken back to my cousin, but I don't want to rush anything and cause my poor little duck anymore distress. So should I separate the duck and the chicken and keep the little duck with the big ducks and let them go through the process of establishing a pecking order? Or will the little duck eventually wean himself away from his chicken mother?
I would really appreciate any advice that anyone could give me because I'm so concerned for my little duck. I wish more than anything that he had another sibling to grow up with, but I've had such a hard time hatching call duck eggs that I guess I should be lucky to have gotten one live bird.