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Question about lone duckling being raised by a chicken

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

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. 

post #2 of 4

Welcome!  I don't have a chance to read over everything all the time - just found this.  I'll take a look and respond shortly.

 

@anschmidt 

 

awwww:hugs

 

Well, it's mostly up to the birds.  I wonder if you might put one duck in with him and see how they get along.  Sometimes trying different mixes - supervised at first - shakes up the flock dynamic and makes room for a new one.

 

And sometimes drakes are difficult to incorporate into a flock.  But not impossible.

 

Our newest addition, we had in a pen inside the pen till things seemed smooth, then let her out among the flock - supervised - and then kept her in a crate at night to be safe, until we felt things were working out (under supervision), and now she's with the flock full time.


Edited by Amiga - 9/29/15 at 6:32pm

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post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Well I guess I shouldn't say my little duck is a 'he'. I'm not quite sure what he/she is yet, so I guess I've been calling the duck a 'he' so I don't have to say 'it!' :)

 

But I will definitely give your idea a try! I'll have to rig up some kind of temporary pin inside the their coop, but I'm willing to try anything to make my little duck happy. 

 

While I'm trying to integrate the little duck with the other ducks, should I take his chicken mother and keep her separated with the rest of my chickens? Maybe that would be too stressful for the little duck, but do you think it would help him to get integrated faster if he can't see her around?

 

I am also expecting a shipment of 6 day old ducklings next week in the mail, 4 Welsh Harlequins and 2 Indian Runners. If my little duck doesn't seem to want to integrate with the other call ducks, do you think it could work to wait a little while until my day-old ducklings are around my little call duck's size and introduce them to each other?

 

Sorry for all the questions! I'm a rookie duck owner who never really intended to get ducks, I thought chickens would be enough for me, but they really have found a special place in my heart and I just want to do the best by each of them! Thank you so much for all your help!  

post #4 of 4

I don't think it would help his integration with other ducks to keep his chicken mom away.  In fact, he may feel much more content and normal if she is nearby.  My ducks seem to gravitate toward others in a dynamic way - so reducing stress (mom's nearby) may help him make natural transitions to include more critters in his circle of friends.  

 

I would keep the littles physically separate from the others till everyone's around the same size (though the calls will be so small no matter what), and again - let them see each other, give treats at the same time, like a party, and from time to time let them have supervised time together.  A little chasing and poking is okay - beyond that, intervene, separate, make sure everyone is safe.

Please PM me, or use @Amiga in the message if you would like to hear from me soon.  

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