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Duck issues and need some help!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by 13thmaiden, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. 13thmaiden

    13thmaiden Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, this is my first post and thread, so please, don't kill me.


    In my neighborhood we have a large pond, and in this pond we've always had ducks, along with 3 ahengas, a resident heron, a few resident red-wing blackbirds, and the occasional Canadian geese visitors (And that's just the birds! We have turtles, various types of fish, lots of frogs and whatnot.)

    Anyways, the ducks have always been a staple in our neighborhood, and are semi-feral. I say semi-feral because they come to people for food but they live a semi-wild lifestyle (outside, foraging, and making their own nests and no house coop or anything for them (the people around the pond have never felt the need to build them one.) Children feed them bread (I know not good for them but you can't tell the whole neighborhood to stop that) and they get fed usually in the morning by a neighbor across from the pond with duck feed. Through out the day they wander the neighborhood foraging through yards, and by rule we keep our dogs on leads when not in their own fenced in back yards. We do have pets cats, but they're fed well enough we don't much worry for the adult ducks safety.

    Now of these guys, they are 5 pekings, 1 wood duck hen, and about 7 mallards, and 3 crosses between the pekings and mallards. For a long time they kept themselves evened between hens and drakes, they'd have ducklings and get some up to age, and some would leave for new ponds somewhere else. For a long time it was pure harmony and the ducks were happy and the neighbors were happy because the ducks were happy.

    Well, in the 27 years I have lived in this neighborhood, there has never been an accident with the ducks. The worse thing that has happened was Gimpy, who was a peking who's leg was broken and healed incorrectly so he has a permanent limp. (the pekings previous keeper was NOT a good one (kept all 5 in a small cage and whatnot, bought them for Easter, you know the type) so when they released the ducks into the pond, the ducks were MUCH happier and healthier. Gimpy's leg by that point was healed and there wasn't much anyone could do to help him, so we just have Gimpy. But he does just fine. (Gimpy and the recent fly in Woodette are the only really named ducks, most all the children in the neighborhood give the ducks random names and never can remember which one they called which.)

    I'm sad to say though, this year, some jerkwad on a cellphone who was NOT from our neighborhood came flying through (endangering pets/children/ducks) and killed one of our mallard females.

    It's caused pure chaos in the pond.

    Originally we had 6 females and 10 males: 3 mallard hens, 1 peking hen (the mother of the crosses), 1 hen cross, and the recent fly in Woodette a wood duck hen, (I call her a fly in because she came in on her own, she's pure wild, though she does partake in feed now). Of the drakes we have 4 mallard drakes, 4 peking drakes, and 2 cross drakes. Now while that put out 4 drakes, the others kept the calm and kept their females from being mobbed.

    And with the death of one of our mallard hens, we now have males mobbing the females, fighting to near ripping each other apart, I haven't even seen Woodette in a while, I'm afraid she left when the mobbing started. I'm afraid that all this stress is going to cause the females not to lay this year, or worse, it will be such a free-for-all if any ducklings are born they'll end up killed by fighting drakes.

    So I got the idea to try to get some adult hens to add to the flock to maybe even out the chaos and lessen the mobbing stress. But it's REALLY hard to find someone that sells an adult duck and not a duckling. I cannot raise the ducklings unfortunately (I'd love to but) 1) in the area I live, livestock is NOT allowed as a pet, this is why the pekings were released to the pond. and 2) I have 2 demon jack russells. If you know anything about Jacks, they are NOT a dog to keep small creatures around. I don't trust them and I'd be afraid even if I'm zealous in protecting the ducklings they'd get to them before the ducklings got big enough to kick their butts or escape (our pekings have been known to snap and attack at any animal threatening them if cornered, the mallards do like mallards and fly. All of them escape to water normally though.)

    If I had adults I could atleast work to introduce them to the flock (I have a crate and can figure out ways to keep the adults safe until they are integrated.) but I'm also not sure if a hand-raised duck will do well. I think the pekings did well (they were technically hand-raised even if the husbandry of them was atrocious.) because there were 5 of them and were released as adults.

    I want to help our neighborhood ducks out. Can anyone tell me if my idea to add some hens to the flock is a good idea and if it is, how can I find some adult hens?

    I'm in south GA btw, and willing to ride and pick up some hens if I'm told this is a good idea and someone offers me some hens.

    Please help!!
     
  2. 13thmaiden

    13thmaiden Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2016
    Anyone?? Please??
     
  3. 13thmaiden

    13thmaiden Out Of The Brooder

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    Please guys I'm desperate here, can't anyone help me out here???
     
  4. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    While I appreciate your concern for these ducks and their harmony/well-being it is not a good idea to release domestic ducks into the wild. First off, it is illegal. No matter how you feel about it you would be breaking the law. Second, it would be extremely unfair to the new adult hens. They would more than likely be coming from a situation where they had a safe place to sleep and all the food they need and you would be adding them to a chaotic situation. It would be a cruel thing to do to them.

    The aggression on the part of the drakes is probably compounded by the timing, since it is mating season their hormones are pumping. You may just need to let them work it out themselves. The good thing is that the Mallards have the option of flying away and finding new territory. If I were you, I would let them be. It's not pretty but nature usually restores balance one way or another.

    If you still feel like you need to do something, I think your only good option would be to remove some of the drakes. Of course, this would mean the Pekin. The Mallards are/could be wild ducks so you shouldn't mess with them.

    I know this is probably not what you want to hear. It stinks that these ducks have to suffer because of the mistakes made by people.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I am wondering if there is a waterfowl rescue person around - the Pekin drake could be removed and rehomed (rehoming can take a while, but someone may be willing to take him in). And a wildlife/waterfowl person may actually have some ideas that could help, such as providing a possible way for females to hide and take shelter. It is a tough situation, and I am glad that you are trying to come up with humane ways to handle it.

    Agreed - releasing domestics is all kinds of problematic.
     
  6. 13thmaiden

    13thmaiden Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, I know for a fact we have no rehabbers in my area, the closest that I know of is an hour away and she focuses soully on mammals only. There is one area we have that we could release the mallards (wildlife sanctuary swamp thing) but it would be near impossible to catch these ducks without considerable effort and most of the neighbors would refuse because they don't want to lose any ducks.

    I guess there's nothing I can do :( the cross drakes have been torn up pretty badly, as have the mallards drakes and pekins....I wish I lived by the pond so I could make a safe place for the ducks...but no-one seems to care about the ducks enough to even do that *sighs*

    Well thank you nonetheless, my neighborhood likes the ducks as decoration but not enough as animals so I guess I really can't do anything for them....
     
  7. 13thmaiden

    13thmaiden Out Of The Brooder

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    Though I do remember the first mallards were released fatm raised (I was a very small child when they brought them but my parents told me that they had rings on their ankles which meant they were farm raised) these are the offspring of those mallards and then of course the added pekin and the subsequent crosses born to them (they kinda look like what you'd expect a Khaki and a Welsh Harlequin had babies: a mixture of brown, buff, and white). I don't know if this makes those offspring mallards count as wild or domestic still, not that I'd try capturing them either way but it does make me wonder what those mallards would be considered.

    Anyways this just all makes me really sad since I wanted to be a wildlife rehabber, but I was never sure how to get into the "business" because the closest rehabber is an hour away and I could never get in real good contact with her. I tried Wildlife management school and got scared away (it was all boys sitting in class spitting tobacco and the teacher having good fun poking at my gender, all that compounded with my social anxiety just ruined me) so I finished school with an art degree (lotta good it did) and now I'm back in for medical coding...

    I'd still love to be a rehabber but I still really don't know how to get into it....

    Sorry I'm rambling now...
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  8. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's okay. Sounds like you have a real love for animals. It really is a tough situation. I would assume the original Mallards' offspring would be considered wild because they are a wild breed and they were hatched and raised in the wild, but don't know if that's how it actually works. I have no idea about the mixed breed ones. I would assume they would not be protected like the wild breeds.

    Check out this link. Don't know if you are any where near South Carolina but it may provide some helpful information.
    http://www.scwa.org/Mallard-Release-Program.html
     
  9. 13thmaiden

    13thmaiden Out Of The Brooder

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  10. lonebluetear

    lonebluetear Out Of The Brooder

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    I'd let nature take its course.
     

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