Clip or Don't Clip?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by sunnyfishy, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. sunnyfishy

    sunnyfishy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 15, 2014
    I have a little sassy mallard mix (her name is Pteradactyl) and she's quite adept at flying. I don't want her to fly away this coming late fall, and she's been doing a lot of evening flying when I put the other ducks in at night. She'll go "what, why are we going in?" and sort of leisurely walk to the duck-house and then fly back to the pool on the other side of the yard. It's adorable, but it makes me worry she's just going to up and leave one of these days and won't see it coming.

    My question is, should I get her wings clipped so she won't be able to run away come fall, and if so, should I just do it now, or wait a little? I feel so bad at the idea of taking away her flight when it's so cute, but I don't want to lose her. I feel like if she was going to leave, she's had plenty of time (at least a couple months and she got picked on and didn't leave). Thoughts?
     
  2. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mallards are not necessarily migratory birds and aside from really cold climates they stay in the same area but in constant search for food and open water. So whether your duck decides to fly away or stay at your place may not depend on the season. If your duck has so far been staying, chances are that she is faithful to her habitat and won't leave for good. There is always a chance that she may change her mind, though as mallards to from time to time. She might also become adventurous and leave your property for some exploration and get into trouble - dogs, hawks, racoons, foxes, cars...
     
  3. sunnyfishy

    sunnyfishy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 15, 2014
    Well I live in the great cold state of New Hampshire, so that's why I'm concerned about migratory thinking from my little mallard. Her friend that we got with her, a mallard/blue swedish can't fly anymore and they're fairly inseparable so maybe she'd want to stay just for her? Is it silly to risk not-clipping her? Does it hurt the duck, and won't the feathers just grow in next year anyway?
     
  4. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Clipping does not hurt the duck at all. Feathers are made from the same material as our hair and finger nails ( keratin) and clipping wings is about as painful for a duck as a haircut for us. To make sure you don't cut too deep, you cut the primaries where they are just covered by the smaller secondary feathers. I had to clip my muscovy duck because she constantly flew over the fence ( a lot good it did me, now she simply climbs the fence) to explore our frontyard, and she really seemed unaffected by the trimming. The clipped feathers fall out when it's time to moult and are replaced by intact ones.

    I don't know in how far her domestic ancestry interfers with her migratory instinct, it might be that she doesn't even think of migrating, but you can never tell.Her attachment to the other duck might be enough to keep her in place, though.
    A neighbour of me kept Canada geese for years and although they would sometimes circle over the neighbourhood, they never took off for the winter.
     

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