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Hatching ducklings!

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hi. I have a female duck laying on her eggs. The first one was born yesterday but did not make it overnight (seems the duckling got away from the nest and something got a ahold of it sad.png I was dumb thinking it would be safe with the momma. I have two other females and two males. 5total ducks all right at a yr old. She has pushed her nest up against the chicken coop fence (the ducks have enclosures to go under etc but never really did even as they were young. But I made a mistake of leaving her vulnerable last night.
So I have a coop full of chickens but there are 3of them that fly out of the coop and hang out in the yard roaming free with the ducks.
My question is that I am thinking I can grab the ducklings after a few hrs after they have hatched and bring them in under a heat lamp so for one they will be ppl friendly and two bc of all the others free ranging around the yard they would not be safe staying outside?
And when I take the ducklings inside (but I will still bring them out to play during the day) will the momma duck go into some type of depression bc I've taken her babies away? I'd figure they would survive if they were brought inside the first couple weeks but I do not want to cause any stress to the brooding duck.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance smile.png 🐣🐣🐣
Also I was thinking after a few weeks not sure how long but I would put up chicken wire or something to let the babies to start hanging outside all day then progressing to staying outside day and night
I need a lil advice folks smile.png take care
post #2 of 2
We have crows that will get the ducklings in open areas so we have worked on having more tree cover by planting more lilac trees. The increased cover along with more cross fencing has made it safer for the ducklings but we can't keep them all so we have to take them away to sell them anyway.

Some hens will call for their ducklings for several days and the ducklings will call for their mamas too but eventually things quiet down. We take the ducklings away knowing it is to keep them alive but the mama ducks don't know that. Most will start laying and sit on another nest right away so it actually allows us to hatch more than we would if she were raising the babies. Collecting eggs and hatching ducklings in incubators has been our primary means of increases the numbers of a rare breed but I have been off my feet for over 3 months while waiting for surgery so we have let the hens sit on nests this year.

I would love to let the hens take care of the ducklings for us instead of having them inside in brooders but raising them inside where we can socialize them is better when we are selling them. I still feel bad for the mothers, though. Once her ducklings are gone she is not likely to take them back. We took ducklings from a hen to sell and then days later we tried giving her the two ducklings that we hatched from her nest because she left the nest before they hatched but she chased them off so we ended up taking all but two ducklings from her (the two we let her keep are ones we would be most likely to keep so she can raise them).

I think once you take the ducklings from the hen you are committed to raising them yourself. Ours tend to sell pretty quickly but I have had to refuse to sell brothers and sisters from the same nest together to avoid people inbreeding them. We have sold two hens from one nest with two drakes from another nest but that means I have to voice sex them very young or wait until they are big enough to vent sex. I have pretty good accuracy voice sexing hatchlings but we don't officially sex them until I can guarantee them through vent sexing. Because we raise bantam sized ducks I wait until they are between a week and two weeks to vent sex them so they are big enough to stretch the vent and see the tiny parts. The older they get, the easier it is to guarantee them. Once I sex them the price of the hens doubles, though, because too many people ask for all girls instead of taking a straight run if I don't raise the price. I try to make sure my straight runs are half and half but it depends on the hatch and the colors someone wants.

I really enjoy having the ducklings inside to raise but it is more work. Eventually we will have more covered areas to keep the ducklings safe from the crows so they can stay with the hens. For now I would rather know they are safe than to lose them and regret taking a chance with their lives.
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