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Conundrum

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by gmendoza, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am having a conflict of experience involving baby ducks.

    I have three muscovy hens and a muscovy drake. I want them to breed naturally, brood naturally,hatch naturally,and raise their ducklings without my help naturally (except for food and water).

    The conundrum is this:

    some people say baby ducks shouldnt swim until they get fully feathered.but what about wild ducks,or ducks in natural areas? I havent seen anyone go to wild duck mommas and say" momma duck, you cant let your ducklings swim until they are fully feathered!".

    My ducklings will be raised by momma, naturally. no brooder,no heat lamp,no pampered poop at all.momma duck will have all the oils for their babies under their butts.ducklings go into water,get a tad cold,come out and go under mommas butt for warmth.

    so why cant they swim naturally?

    whats the big deal? why people so spooked? nature selects who lives and dies.
     
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Baby ducks aren't suppose to swim by themselves because they are not well oiled on their feathers. When swimming with mom she takes care of making sure they are oiled and safe.
     
  3. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you.We are keeping the ducklings with momma duck 24/7/365 so they will always have a swim coach.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Indeed, nature does select who lives and dies, and many fall into the latter category.

    The general admonition about baby ducks not swimming till fully feathered has its merits.

    Based on my limited number of decades of life experience, if someone can overdo something, or do something that will cause harm (however unintended) then someone's going to. In this case, people raising ducks (without duck mothers) who ¨let their ducklings swim¨ may put a tiny, oil-less duckling into a deep bucket of fifty degree water and walk away for "a few minutes," which could turn out to be twenty or thirty.

    That would be long enough for a young duckling to get exhausted and hypothermic. Further, many people do not realize that ducklings are not very good at getting out of a bucket or tub or pool, which has straight sides, unlike a natural pond.

    Then there are the hazards of snapping turtles and hawks if ducklings are left out on a pond.

    I think I've made my point that there are enough people who don't understand ducklings, but who have them, who need to be warned not to put the ducklings at risk. And sometimes the only way to effectively warn them is to make it short and clear - don't.

    My ducklings, which I received as day-olds, were in water their second day of life. It was in a cake pan, 90 degrees F, under my watchful eye till they started acting tired. That took about five minutes.

    We progressed to tub time, again with warm water, just up to their bellies. I don't have duck oil to give to them. If I did, I would! The next best thing was to stay with them in the warm tub, get them out when they started to poop out, bring them back to a clean, warm, dry brooder, and wipe off those who didn't immediately start preening so they would not catch a chill. I took the role of momma duck.

    Many people do quite well letting their ducks be full time mothers. Muscovies have a good reputation. Even Runners can do quite well. Then there are the stories of Muscovy moms tearing up their little ones. It's a matter of paying attention, and I feel that you would certainly do that.

    So that's my take on why letting ducklings swim may be advised against. As my beloved tells me, some advice is not directed at me personally. So in your case, since you already care about ducklings having a good start with their real mother, that advice is for someone else.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In addition to the advice you have received I think that many people also want to maximize the number of ducklings that survive. For many, the expense of feeding/housing etc would be wasted if a large number of offspring died. Down here, there are feral Muscovy and many mallards. While they do have large broods, by teenage or adulthood the number of surviving ducks is low. For instance, at a park near me there was a mallard pair that had about 10 babies. 3-4 months later, there were 2 left.

    That being said, I plan on letting my ducks brood their young but they will still be confined when needed in their run. I like the idea of taking some of the pressure/chores off of myself when there is a perfectly good mother duck that will take care of her babies. But I want the maximum number of babies so I have a good pool to choose from for future breeding and freezer camp. [​IMG]
     
  6. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good advice. But I will keep an openeye on them occasionally. They will be in their enclosed, roofed pen with a bathing pond inside under controlled conditions.Not many hazards in there.
     
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, well good. I mistook your saying raised naturally to mean that they would be out or doors. Thats what I get for assuming. :) By all means, have her do it. I had runners before which I brooded indoors [​IMG] When one of the hens went broody, I let her have at it. She stayed on the nest for 4 days and hatched 10 and readily accepted an 11th that I helped out a few days later.
     

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