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Better mothers when raised naturally?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by animalz11, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. animalz11

    animalz11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all,
    I've been thinking about it for a while as my Muscovy's are horrible mothers (out of 9 ducklings only 2 survived, they are always leaving their duckligns outside at night for me to save) yet the wood ducks that hang around seem to be great mothers. I was also talking to a friend who buys her ducklings off a breeder and she says that the bredder only incubates the eggs as her ducks are terrible mothers.
    So I was wondering, are ducklings that are raised by ducks better mothers then those that are raised by humans?
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I can only go by what i have seen here, years ago when i first got my Muscovy's We let one of our girls sit the first summer which would have made them 1 yr old. she hatched 10 ducklings and was pretty good mama, then we made them take off about 3 yrs before we had any more to brood, I let 3 of them brood that summer and only one was attentive mama, so decided to wait about 5 yrs next and tried different ducks, first yr at 3 yrs old not good killed one and rejected the other one. Our gain though he is awesome drake almost 2 yrs old. Okay this past summer we let the same duck that killed and rejected have a go at it again, with me ready to intervene if need be, she hatched 4 ducklings and was an awesome mama, nothing like my chicken mamas though and was more than happy to let my gander take over for her around week 3, I have noticed that they just don't seem to have the same parenting skills as chickens do but whole different species so really can't judge based on that, but i would notice if mama went into nest box for rest it was like okay duckies if you don't follow me too bad, not really very concerned but this year if I let any brood it will be my 2 yr olds, I'm thinking age makes a difference too. too young not so good, older much better mamas. . But each individual duck is different, some on here have Muscovys mamas that held on way past time to let them go so It does seem to be the individual duck not necessarily the breed. We have to remember the wild ducks haven't been tampered with by humans either, so many duck breeds have had broodiness removed so it's just a chance we take when allowing mama ducks to brood and raise their ducklings. I don't know if I answered your question but it made me think about my own ducks and what I've seen first hand. So sorry you had such a bad experience with yours.
     
  3. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Broodiness is hereditary. Some breeds have had the broodiness bred out of them, Pekin, Runners, Cornish Cross chickens. There are always exceptions. I had a Runner that went broody and was a great and protective mother.

    My Muscovy, so far, have been excellent moms. They were brooded by their mother. I do think that it plays an important role in how they are as broodies. I also don't interfere at all in the incubation or hatch. I haven't candled eggs and other than peeking in at my broodies, providing food and water, I leave them be. After the hatch, I will check any leftover eggs and will help any late hatches (only did once). My last broody stayed with her babies for about 7 weeks. Then started wandering off with the drake and other ducks. She still hangs out with the ducklings but they also now follow the adults.

    In buying ducklings, I'd always go with natural brooded young unless I REALLY wanted a specific breed or a specific line of a breed. I really want to get some Pekin to cross with my Muscovy drake (I raise mine for meat) so I get faster growing good birds of both sexes. But, Pekin aren't typically broody. So, I plan to keep a few of my Muscovy ducks and allow them to brood some Pekin cross eggs if none of the Pekin go broody. I will try to find someone with broody Pekin but I'm really interested in Metzer Farms Grimaud hybrid Pekins. So......
     
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm sorry your experience hasn't been good. As a whole the breed is good for this and well known/documented for it.

    Was the area they had to bring the babies into easy enough for ducklings to access? i know with our duck barn being elevated, we had to mind the wee ones as it proved difficult at the start till they grew.

    I do agree with ML, depends on the individual duck, just like with anything it's general based info, each person's mileage will vary.

    Now onto mine...

    The duck who is sitting again this year, is a good mum but she's short lived by about 4wks she is pretty much done but till then dedicated and a total bulldog. She had a small clutch with only one living but that wasn't her, i don't know what was wrong with the other duckling or why it passed on(two live hatched)

    Our Lilly who raised the largest clutch last year(9) is beyond dedicated, she kept on with them till well into 6+wks. It was adorable she would bring the ducklings in at dusk to the barn, leave and then go forage on her own a bit, if ANY duck dared come near those babies she'd put them off equal to a guard dog. Now i should add these were not her's, she subbed for Lilac who OTOH killed her babies... so while producing lovely birds she is a NO for brooding lol

    So there you have it, i also have one duck who while she lays never goes broody. My other ducks are too young, although i am seeing my hatchling from last year (8mth old) getting a wee bit broody like but i'll be sure to nip that(shhhh nobody say anything!!)

    Are ducks raised better by ducks? yes, if they are good mothers, they provide direction i could never,foraging skills, predator cautions, they show how to herd(yes, i have Muscovy who do and in turn show their babies) they provide better levels of heat than i can.

    I have raised ducklings myself, did so again last year(3) and am about to this year(2) but i will always choose my ducks before myself if it's a possibility.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  5. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I follow the same mindset. The only time i stepped in was when i realized, Lilac was actually killing the babies... literately handing Lilly a duckling in the throw of hatching since Lilac refused to aid, thankfully Lilly took over and the babe survived.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2013
  6. animalz11

    animalz11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm... that might be it.
    My girls are 1 year old and didn't sit on their own eggs, I would check on them everyday to see which ones were alive or which ones were quitters, dead, infertile etc.

    I would like to let them go broody again without interference from me but I'd be afraid that if something did go wrong I could have stopped it.
    They have a wooden hutch with a largish run at night with an exit that could fir maybe 1 duck walking through.
    The ducklings are being left out less and less now as I think they've figured out how to get back inside, before they would just peep for a while and then sit down and this is when I'd come out and chase them back insdie and lock them up. But last night they went inside so they are getting better and better. Also now that they are older (almost 2 weeks!) I'm leving them out during the day so they can forage then locking them up at night.
    The first time I let them out the entire day the ducks left the ducklings outside and a few crows started hanging aroundw which really scarred the ducklings... I'm glad I got to them before the crows did...

    My girls seem to be excelent brooders, just not very good mothers, so maybe it's one or the other.
    I was wondering if they would be better mothers if brooded naturally as my girls seem to have some instinct but seem to be lost there after, so, if they have their instinct that comes with most ducks, maybe they learn the rest from their mother? I would like to incubate the eggs myself but it's just too impracticle...
     
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As for the ducklings being left outside, it seems to me that the door is too small. They don't walk in a straight line so if they are lagging behind and then lose sight of mom and siblings they will just sit.

    Maybe next time, if you want to candle do so but you don't need to do it often. Nothing is going to happen to an infertile egg or one that dies along the way. They will be fine to remove after the hatch. Candling in an incubator is typically done around day 7, 12, 19, 24. Remember that the more often the egg is moved around, the more likely the chance of a problem developing.

    I would also try to find somewhere else to brood mom and the babies. Go ahead and leave them in the coop to set and hatch then gather them up and move them elsewhere. I didn't let mine outside with mom for about a week or 2. They are just too little to keep up all the time (and it was December). After a week they have gained alot more strength, after 2 much, much more as you are noticing by them not being stuck outside.
     
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    All my Muscovy's have been hatched naturally by broody ducks, I do think it just depends on the individual duck but I did find that second time around mine did so much better. And yes you may lose one or 2 but it is much better on the broody if she is left to do it her way. It's always sad when we lose some but the ones that are left have a much better chance of being taken care of and taught by mama if we don't get involved in the process.so much.
     
  9. animalz11

    animalz11 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:The mums would leave their head out of the coop and watch the ducklings so the ducklings would try to walk through the pen, but when the ducks came more out of the wooden hutch the ducklings would find their way back in... Also the girls haven't been laying eggs since hatching Popcorn & Ronald (names by a friend and my 3 year old cousin)
     
  10. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They won't start laying again for a while. Mine hasn't started up again and her babies hatched December 5.
     

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