Anyway, because we lost the other ducks shortly after dusk, I no longer felt comfortable letting them free range during the day since even though they go back to their coop (not sure how they learned to do that) when the sun is going down by themselves, sometimes I make it home a little later than that, and it's on those days that I found my mallard ducks missing. I decided to pen them in and build a run.
My first question is am I providing enough space for them during breeding time and how it will work when they hatch ducklings next year? I have a drake and three girls, all adults when I got them but under a year old. I originally only wanted girls for eggs, but then friends and family were asking for them for next year and none of us knew if the seller would have any next year so I quickly got a boy just in case.
Their coop is a shed that's 5ft x 10ft and their run is 8ft by 8ft connected to the coop. I've been reading that the girls will get aggressive towards each other when they start setting the eggs and when they hatch out their ducklings so will I need to get another pen/coop ready to separate them when they start setting on the eggs or are nest boxes enough for them to not see each other and leave each other alone? What happens to the drake when all the girls just completely ignore him?
My second question is whether or not I need to provide a pool for them to bathe in when they are hatching their eggs so they can regulate their humidity for the eggs better? Right now I just have several buckets that they can dunk their heads in because they always turned their kiddy pool into a stinking brew within a few hours of me refilling it and I had to do it every few hours.
3. If I take the ducklings away from the mothers after they fluff out, will Muscovy ducklings still imprint on the human taking care of them (some people who were interested wanted them as pets)? I'm not even sure how I would do that, because they don't quack. With my week old pekin ducklings, I sat with them, quacked like ten times, and they just started following me. I could herd them around, even as adults, just by quacking at them and they'd follow me.
4. Also, if I don't want the females to lay any more eggs, can I just leave one or two ducklings with each of them to mother on? Will the drake kill the ducklings in that space?
5. Are first time Muscovy moms bad at hatching and rearing? How much help should I expect to give her.
Thanks for taking the time to read this!