Please bear with me- this is kind of long. About a week ago we discovered a Mallard had hatched eggs in our yard. Our backyard has a natural all season stream with a 4 ft pond. The first day she brought nine of her ducklings out for their first swim on the pond. They stayed the night on the pond and, for the first time in months, it rained. Six of the little ones died in the resulting flood. We found one, up the bank, that we warmed yp and returned to Mom. (She was MIA for awhile) We found another one, stuck in the mud, that was in worse shape than the other one. We took that one in the house, washed and dried him, and stuck him in a temp house with a heat lamp.
The next day we went down and discovered, to our dismay, that raccoons had killed the remaining chicks. We couldn't give the last one back to mom or it would die. There are just too many predators here. I know they don't like to be alone, so we ordered two more. I since discovered it was illegal to keep the wild one we found so we gave it to Project Wildlife. They will raise with other ducklings until it can fly and then return it to this general area. I still have mixed feelings about giving up the duck, but we couldn't get it any friends for at least another week and it was illegal to keep.
Now we have to decide whether to go ahead with the 2 mallard duckling order that we placed. I think they ship at one day old. That being the case, can they be "trained" to go into a pen at night where it will be safe? Ideally we'd let them have the run of the place during the day, so they could play in the pond, and pen them at night. Mallards are the only breed I've been able to find that can fly. I know we risk them flying away, but I'd be ok with that if they could escape predators through flight.
Does this sound feasible? Do mallards make good pets? The one we found was three days old when we found him. He was pretty scared the whole time he was in the pen, though he would snuggle under my hair when I held him. He never really warmed up to us though. Will this be the case with domestic duck? I really enjoyed my time with the little one and think it'd be awesome to have them on our property (almost two acres) if we could keep them safe at night.
Follow up on mom: She's back on the pond with her mate so I guess she's going to give it another go.