Accidental Magpie caretaker - help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by diane7196, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. diane7196

    diane7196 Out Of The Brooder

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    The golf course we live on in SC has taken in 9 Magpies. They were dropped off when the owner was moving and couldn't take them with her. My husband & I were worried since we found out these ducks were raised by a human, but all I know about ducks is what I've read on the internet. We've sort of been looking after them and I have no idea if what we're doing is correct and/or necessary.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Here's the routine so far:

    We feed them 6-7 cups mix of Flockmaster and cracked corn every morning. If the night is going to be cool (30F) we give them an evening snack.

    They live on a good sized pond and seem to feed a little from that. Would this be enough to sustain them?

    They have no overnight shelter and sleep between one of the condo buildings and the pond. The building is about 8 feet away from the water. I'm worried sick about predators but have no authority to build anything for them. There are a couple of foxes in our area. Could they escape to the water fast enough?

    They probably walk about 10 miles a day along the banks of the pond and alternate by swimming around. is this normal?

    I've tried my best to spread the word to the other residents about no bread - people seem to be cooperating.

    I'm thinking this isn't the ideal situation for these guys so we're trying to do the best we can. They're wonderful little ducks!

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. QuackSpeak

    QuackSpeak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Those ducks are beautiful! I'll do my best to answer your questions....

    We feed them 6-7 cups mix of Flockmaster and cracked corn every morning. If the night is going to be cool (30F) we give them an evening snack. This sounds fine. You can probably intersperse the corn with more variety, like peas or lettuce (No spinach), etc. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/242460/the-ultimate-list-of-duck-treats-and-supplements That's a list of a lot of the things that ducks can eat, you might find it helpful,

    They live on a good sized pond and seem to feed a little from that. Would this be enough to sustain them?
    Ducks are pretty good foragers, but I would keep feeding them FlockRaiser in the morning, especially since they're human raised.

    They have no overnight shelter and sleep between one of the condo buildings and the pond. The building is about 8 feet away from the water. I'm worried sick about predators but have no authority to build anything for them. There are a couple of foxes in our area. Could they escape to the water fast enough?
    Maybe. But if a fox or something snuck up on them while they were sleeping, I'd imagine that it would do quite a deal of damage. What you can do is keep an eye out for your flock.. Maybe install a camera or something?

    They probably walk about 10 miles a day along the banks of the pond and alternate by swimming around. is this normal?
    I think it's fine. [​IMG]

    By the way, [​IMG] !! You obviously care a lot about those ducks; thank you for taking care of them in these circumstances!
     
  3. diane7196

    diane7196 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for the reply. Yes, we do care about "the kids" very much.

    They have no overnight shelter and sleep between one of the condo buildings and the pond. The building is about 8 feet away from the water. I'm worried sick about predators but have no authority to build anything for them. There are a couple of foxes in our area. Could they escape to the water fast enough?
    Maybe. But if a fox or something snuck up on them while they were sleeping, I'd imagine that it would do quite a deal of damage. What you can do is keep an eye out for your flock.. Maybe install a camera or something?

    I've met the resident who lives on the 1st floor of this condo building. Apparently she doesn't sleep much and keeps a pretty close eye on them. So far the foxes have been kept at bay. Ugh, but as my husband reminds me, I am not the duck police. [​IMG]

    Thanks again for your helpful and reassuring answers.
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    It's wonderful these domestic ducks have people feeding and watching out for them. Predators are very sneaky and quiet and domestic ducks would be hard pressed to get away from one especially since they can't fly and even flying might not help in most circumstances. If it was me and since they are magpies which you don't see alot of. I'd ask if you could work on finding them a home where you know they'd be safe and cared for, Not only would it be better for them but you all would rest alot better too.

    We have a rehoming thread on here and we have quite a few members who live in SC. https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1045152/duck-breed-focus-magpie 2 kind of look like blk Swedish
    @diane7196
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  5. diane7196

    diane7196 Out Of The Brooder

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    This is where it gets sticky. The golf course is not owned by the condo association. The former duck owner is a friend of the golf course owner. My husband would like me to keep my nose out of this and just make the ducks as comfortable as possible. Hence "the duck police" comment. When the magpies first showed up a couple of months ago I actually spoke with 2 people who run sanctuaries in NC. One of them was willing to take the ducks. Since then I found another sanctuary right here in SC. I'm assuming these places shelter their domestic ducks at night.

    And what happens when they start breeding???

    I have to find some creative way to present this idea without offending the course owners, or get them to agree to a shelter somewhere on the property without sounding like a crazy lady from up North. [​IMG]

    Yes, I've lost sleep over this.

    Thanks for the reply, and for a very helpful message board. I appreciate the help!
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  6. QuackSpeak

    QuackSpeak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @diane7196 , It sounds like you really care about those ducks. Yes, hopefully you can come up with a way to let them make a duck shelter... But the breeding thing could be a problem, I think. Do you know how many are males and females?
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    @diane7196 I am sure most sanctuaries lock up their water fowl/poultry at night. They are very familiar with the threat of predators. If they should agree to shelter then it would have to be up to someone to go and round up the ducks at dusk and put them to bed. Which having a large pond to escape to maybe a little hard to do. Or let them go to where they usually sleep then catch them. Which would be traumatic but at least they'd be safe.

    I am surprised they aren't breeding already but I don't think ducklings would survive there Herons, and other large birds eat ducklings. Plus snapping turtles do to and large mouth bass. And that is just on and around the water. Then you have weasel, minks, foxes etc.

    Just be honest that you have alot of concern for these domestic ducks since they aren't wild and cannot survive like their wild cousins. Maybe a petition if you have enough neighbors who would get behind you.
    This was written in 2004 but just as true today. https://www.upc-online.org/ducks/52004plight.htm maybe you can get some facts off of it that will help when you go talk to those in charge.
    Especially the part where it talks about domestic ducks giving disease to wild ducks and about domestics and wild breeding and producing hybrids.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  8. diane7196

    diane7196 Out Of The Brooder

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    If I remember correctly there are 6 males and 3 females.

    I checked SC DNR a while back. There is something about releasing ducks and hybrids. My main concern with that was not knowing how DNR would handle the situation. We've told many residents about the sad magpie story; maybe a petition would be a good idea!

    The mallard ducklings fare surprisingly well. There are usually at least 3 families in the various ponds and have only noticed one missing in 2 years. That was a hawk. (Several people here are interested in the wildlife). The community and golf course are surrounded by the Intracoastal on 3 sides and a highway on the 4th, so that helps a little with predators.

    OK, now I have a duck-induced headache - [​IMG]
     
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Aww you poor thing. We're very thankful your so tender hearted towards these ducks. Hoping you can get enough folks to sign a petition if you go that route. Sometimes we just have to take up the cause especially when the ones we care about have no voice. Please keep us updated.
     
  10. diane7196

    diane7196 Out Of The Brooder

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    I will. BTW, I had been lurking on this site for some time before posting and found tons of info on feeding, weather conditions and shelters from actual duck owners. It's a great resource so thank you once again. And the ducks thank you too!
     
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