Giving ducklings to a foster mother


7 Years
May 21, 2012
Hi, I'm new to this forum and have been enjoying reading.

I'm getting a new batch of mail-order ducklings (and possibly a pair of goslings). I think that I want to give them to my Muscovy to raise. She has been sitting on a batch of eggs for over 35 days and they aren't hatching (last time I try buying fertile eggs on ebay!)

I've been trying to figure out logistics. I am nervous about putting them in right away in case she doesn't take to them (though I'm pretty sure she will) plus I have kids and they will want to spend time with them. I was thinking about waiting until 4 days to a week to put them in her nest. Then I was going to do it in the morning when she takes her break from the nest so I could keep an eye on them. If they are too old might she not accept them?

She is in the chicken house (which is large) with other ducks and chickens. I put a play yard gate around it although I don't know that she'll be able to go in and out after I close it (she flies but I don't know at those close quarters.) I guess she would be okay being let in and out a couple times a day.

I'm really stuck about when they are old enough to roam in the yard. I could let them roam with the other birds as I think the Muscovy would protect them (and she is top bird in the flock); however, they eat laying pellets and I just read that the young ducks shouldn't have that until much later as it would be too much calcium. I don't know how I would keep them from eating it. I wonder if the other ducks and chickens could go to eating grower mash or pellets until the new ducks are older. My other idea is to make a day run for them that I would have to take them to in the morning and from at night. I don't know how hard that would be to manage and I would have to make it big enough for the Muscovy too.

My other issue that I have played around with is keeping the pair of geese that we might get and the one duckling that will be my son's bird to show if he wants inside longer. However, I would eventually need to put them outside and at that point they might not be accepted by the other birds and the Muscovy wouldn't protect them. I am guessing it is probably best to keep them together.

I know this is long-winded and not a direct question, but I would love to hear any thoughts on my plans!

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