Adding an orphan

cheezenkwackers

Crowing
Aug 28, 2016
1,340
2,237
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Memphis, TN
I received a sad phone call yesterday from my friend. She and I are teachers and had hatched some duck eggs for her. We had trouble and only two of the Welsh Harlequin ducklings hatched. One of the babies had a wry neck which we treated with vitamins and supplements. Her neck greatly improved and she could hold her head straight but would bend her neck when she was stressed or sleeping. Anyway, my friend called to say that she found the wry neck duckling (8 weeks old) dead in her pool. We assume she drown. The other duckling, another girl, was beside herself. Since it would be difficult to find another duck friend for this one duck, I offered to add her to my flock of five (three Khaki Campbell hens, one Khaki drake, and one 1/2 Khaki, 1/2 Appleyard drake, all between 2-3 yrs old). She brought her eight week old duck to school today and I brought my most gentle Khaki hen. We have the two of them in a pen in a quite back room (with a small pool) and they seem to be getting along. I will be bringing them both home tomorrow after school. My plan is to slowly introduce her to everyone else. I can keep her and my sweet hen together in a pen within the rest of the duck pen. I can also separate the girls and boys and let her get used to the other girls long before meeting the boys. My reason for writing all of this is to ask if this is the right thing to do? Also, how old does she need to be before meeting the boys (I was thinking 12 weeks)? It has been a while since I had a young duck.
 

CayugaJana

Free Ranging
Sep 2, 2017
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That question depends on the males. If they harass them, then seperate the boys from everyone else. But hopefully hormones will have cooled down by now. I keep boys separated from young females until they start laying flat for mating. If they are running for their life, they are too young. And to answer you, yes you are doing the right thing. The duck will be in the flock in no time.
 

cheezenkwackers

Crowing
Aug 28, 2016
1,340
2,237
302
Memphis, TN
3CB4772A-1917-4E7D-8095-956306052BFD.jpeg
My orphan has been with the big girls since yesterday afternoon. They don’t hurt her but they aren’t nice either. She follows them around but if she gets too close they lower their heads and chase her off. I am hoping time will work some magic.
 

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goats
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 8, 2015
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The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
View attachment 1566018 My orphan has been with the big girls since yesterday afternoon. They don’t hurt her but they aren’t nice either. She follows them around but if she gets too close they lower their heads and chase her off. I am hoping time will work some magic.
That's all normal behaviour so she definitely is trying to fit into the group. Yep, just give it time. What a cute Duck..
 

cheezenkwackers

Crowing
Aug 28, 2016
1,340
2,237
302
Memphis, TN
Since the boys completely ignored her through the fence yesterday, I let everyone back together this morning. I supervised for the first hour or so and have been checking on her every half hour since. So far things seem OK. The two drakes really ignore her. One half heartedly poked at her when she tried to drink out of the pool he was swimming in, but that has been it. The girls aren't as nice. The most dominant female keeps chasing her back into the coop and not letting her be with the group. In the coop, she has food and water so she is fine, but still. A few minutes ago, that same mean female and her drake went in and had a snack with my youngster calmly laying 3-4 feet away, so I think we are good. What do y'all think? I am wondering what to do tonight when I lock them in the coop. I have a dog crate in the coop that the boys have been sleeping in the last two nights. I am trying to decided whether to lock them up again, or maybe the mean female, or no one and hope for the best?! I also have to go to work tomorrow and need to decide what to do then.
That is my "mean girl" in the back. She seems to be making sure the youngster stays away from her man.
IMG_2511.JPG
 

cheezenkwackers

Crowing
Aug 28, 2016
1,340
2,237
302
Memphis, TN
Since I didn't get a response I reread what y'all said before and decided that I would rather be safe than sorry. So, I locked the boys in the dog crate for the night.
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
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Mountains of Western N.C.
Your going about it right. But the duckling needs to be laying before being in with drakes . Let them all meet but keep the drakes from trying to mate her .A pen with in a pen sounds good. Very sweet of you to take this duckling hope it works out for her joining your flock .
 

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