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Baby Duckings Under Broody Hen? HELP

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Today I found 4 baby ducklings in a parking lot at a grocery store one of them was lifeless near the curb and was possibly hit by a car :( no mama duck around I was able to grab the three remaining ducklings and bring them home. They look to be about 2-3 days old. I gave them about half a ml of sugar water each and offered them mushy chicken crumble. They took to the water but were not interested in the crumble. I don't have a heat lamp so I decided to sneak them under my SUPER broody silkie hen.

 

I fear she will be very upset and hurt the lil guys because of my cluelessness:

 

It was broad day light when I removed her eggs and snuck ducklings under her from  behind.. She hasn't seemed to notice them yet and its been about an hour..... She's been trying to be a mom for so long I thought it would make her happy but I'm worried that I may only upset her now. 

 

Should I go out and remove the ducklings from under her?

post #2 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by WonderlandFarms View Post
 

Today I found 4 baby ducklings in a parking lot at a grocery store one of them was lifeless near the curb and was possibly hit by a car :( no mama duck around I was able to grab the three remaining ducklings and bring them home. They look to be about 2-3 days old. I gave them about half a ml of sugar water each and offered them mushy chicken crumble. They took to the water but were not interested in the crumble. I don't have a heat lamp so I decided to sneak them under my SUPER broody silkie hen.

 

I fear she will be very upset and hurt the lil guys because of my cluelessness:

 

It was broad day light when I removed her eggs and snuck ducklings under her from  behind.. She hasn't seemed to notice them yet and its been about an hour..... She's been trying to be a mom for so long I thought it would make her happy but I'm worried that I may only upset her now. 

 

Should I go out and remove the ducklings from under her?


Listen to the ducklings. If they peep and the hen answers with clucking sounds she is accepting them. Same to with holding on to a duckling right in front of the hen; if she answers the ducklings peeps she is well on the way to accepting her new "chicks". Next step-put a duckling right next to her where she can see it. If the hen gets aggressive, try giving her the ducklings tonight when it is dark. Good luck.

post #3 of 7

I'd just leave them alone. 

 

When a hen hatches eggs, the chicks don't all hatch at once. So, it's the hen's instinct to stay on the nest for another day or two, to give all the eggs a good chance to hatch. She's being a good momma, being patient. 

 

I don't usually put food or water close to the broody, I feel it's important for her to get off the nest and take the chicks out. So those 2 days or so after the first chick hatches is fine for the new chicks, as they've just absorbed that whole yolk before they hatch. But, since the ducklings are already past that stage, I'd scatter some feed around her and put a small waterer close by. See how she interacts with the littles then. Does she call them for the food or water? Most hens will, in my experience, even when they're still waiting for stragglers to hatch. If she does that, I'm thinking you are golden. 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 


She has not been aggressive toward them at all today. She has been very patient. The only thing is, one duckling wondered off and it was not calling out for her nor did she call out for it. I found it curled up in the corner.. When I put the duckling underneath her she seemed to gently tuck it in with her beak. My worry is that one will wonder off in the middle of the night and freeze to death or worse (there are rats out there). Do you think she has accepted them as her own? 

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by WonderlandFarms View Post


She has not been aggressive toward them at all today. She has been very patient. The only thing is, one duckling wondered off and it was not calling out for her nor did she call out for it. I found it curled up in the corner.. When I put the duckling underneath her she seemed to gently tuck it in with her beak. My worry is that one will wonder off in the middle of the night and freeze to death or worse (there are rats out there). Do you think she has accepted them as her own? 

It sounds like the ducklings have not accepted the hen as their mother. Hopefully that has changed this morning.
post #6 of 7

Ducklings imprint very strongly.  These little ones have already imprinted on their missing Mama duck.  IMO, the first several days, when Mama sticks to the nest are prime imprinting days.  So, these little ones may accept heat from your silkie, but they don't consider her to be their Mama.  IMO, you have a one way street going here.  Mama willing, babies... not so much.  If I were you, and wanted to succeed with these little ones, I'd set up a MHP brooder for them, and brood them artificially, separate, but within sight of the rest of your flock until they are feathered enough that they don't need heat.  Also, you might want to read up on the needs of ducks.  They are different creatures than chickens.  Ducks need water that is deep enough for them to get their nares under water.  They are very messy, slopping food and water.  These little ducklings may not even know what chick crumble is.  Sounds like they are a bit on the wild side.  You might need to work with them a bit to get them to eat the crumble, even wet.

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
post #7 of 7

:goodpost:

 

LG makes a great point, I didn't even think of it from the duckling's perspective. 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply
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