Ducklings under Mama Goose... When?

LittleLakesFarm

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6 Years
Jun 15, 2013
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I have a 3 year old goose that has been sitting on infertile/dead eggs for a couple of months. She proved last year to be an excellent mother last year.
I just hatched 6 healthy ducklings last week. I have been told it would be okay to put the ducklings under mama goose seeing as she is broody & obviously waiting for some babies.
My question is, how old should the ducklings be when I put them with her? Thank you.:love
 

Pyxis

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The ducklings should have been as close to a day old as possible. How old are they now? You may be outside their imprinting window, which would mean they would not imprint on the goose and not let her keep them warm, not go back to her when she calls them, not let her show them feed, etc. What that would mean is that even if your goose is perfectly willing to care for them, they won't let her do so.

It might be too late to give them to her depending on their age. If they're over three or four days old I personally wouldn't try it.
 

LittleLakesFarm

Songster
6 Years
Jun 15, 2013
85
33
136
The ducklings should have been as close to a day old as possible. How old are they now? You may be outside their imprinting window, which would mean they would not imprint on the goose and not let her keep them warm, not go back to her when she calls them, not let her show them feed, etc. What that would mean is that even if your goose is perfectly willing to care for them, they won't let her do so.

It might be too late to give them to her depending on their age. If they're over three or four days old I personally wouldn't try it.

Last year my duck hatched some eggs herself but squashed them :( so I was afraid to put this year's babies under anyone until they were big enough... so that is why I waited a week this year. I know now that mama runner ducks (at least mine) are not very good mothers. Not that they don't love their babies, they just seem to lack the know how.

You were absolutely right. I took the babies out to introduce them to mama goose & mama goose was totally willing to mother them, but the babies only recognize me as their mother now because I waited too long. We live and learn. I think they might have gotten acquainted over time but like you said, the babies wouldn't let her keep them warm at night.

The ducklings are outside in a pen/run now living quite happily during the day & they come in at night to be put under the heat lamp. The geese have moved on but are still quite protective of them & understandably confused. Overall everyone seems happy.

The ducklings will be moved to join my adult ducks when they are full grown. I have to keep the ducks & geese separate because the geese can be quite mean & unpredictable towards the ducks. Particularly the gander. I don't know if he is in protective mode (because the geese have been sitting on eggs) & mating mode & this is just a weather/hormonal warm weather thing that will cease up a little when the weather cools down, or if he is just a jerk. He is only 1 year old. He is an excellent guard though, which is why we got a gander in the first place!

Thank you for all of your help. I really appreciate it!!!
 

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