I have a wild baby duck. What should I do?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by grullablue, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. grullablue

    grullablue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    He was going for the highway. My son saw it this morning....just a little thing, peeping for mom.... without thinking, we cornered him and I grabbed him. Now....after I have the cute little bundle of fluff in my hands, I'm thinking, mom won't accept him now that I've touched him....she'll smell me on him. We have a pond behind our house, but I've not seen any mom and babies out there....but have been pretty busy, and maybe just haven't noticed!

    So anyway, I've got this cute little duckling. I thought he was a mallard, and looked at pictures, I found this, and based on these pics, I believe he is a mallard as I thought, however he is not as old as these pictured. http://spiralbound.net/2006/05/30/raising-mallard-ducklings

    Is
    it possible to raise him and turn him back loose? I'm going to look around online on how to care for this little guy until he's big enough to be on his (or her) own...I don't know if I'll be successful, but I'd like to try. We've raised day old chicks....but....I know nothing about ducks! I didn't even know what to offer him.... so all I had was layer feed...I put some of the finer stuff in there for him, shavings, some grass/clover, and a dish with water, but only 1/3 full. I have to leave for work, so had to do something quickly until I return home in about 5 hours.

    But I also wanted to post here....and see what kind of input I could get. I don't know how old he/she is, but he is not as old as the chicks in the photo in the link above. But I'm sure, like chickens, they grow quite fast.

    My intention would be just to help him out, give him a safe place to grow until he's old enough to be out on his own. Is this not realistic thinking?

    Thanks
    Angie
     
  2. CoffeeCow

    CoffeeCow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 29, 2010
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    Yes, you can raise it just as you do for chicks, even feed it the same food (not medicated) and I fed mine cracked corn too.

    I had 3 ducklings a few years ago, same situation as you. I raised them and when they were big enough to fly.. they left. I was a bit sad, but they are better off in the wild.
    When they started flying, they hung around for 2 or 3 weeks. then they flew off.
     
  3. dumb_cluck

    dumb_cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have Mallards. Feed them game bird starter, not chick starter. There is Niacin in the game bird starter which the duck needs.

    Also, please adopt him/her as a pet. Don't believe he/she will be safe if you take 'em to a pond and "let 'em loose". They WILL die from either starvation or a predator.

    Also, don't believe that if you place him/her with other ducks, that he/she will be mentored. Will not happen. Ducks are very social and have their own cliques. I know, I have an adopted Mallard that I have to keep separate from the others.

    See my website for other info.

    PS Thank you for the rescue! [​IMG]
     
  4. grullablue

    grullablue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    Thank you. I actually didn't think it was legal for us to keep it as a pet....which is why I planned on letting him/her go when old enough. I only have chickens, no ducks or geese. Can a duck coexist in a coop with chickens? My coop is big enough for more bodies in it.... it's 8x12, and I have 8 laying hens in there. He's very cute (just calling him he for ease of typing!). But the water dish is completely empty upon arriving home from work....I'm sure he's run through it enough. I need to find a bigger area to keep him in. I have my chicken brooder....but that is big enough to keep a dozen chicks in!

    We have a lot of predators around here, and I couldn't just leave this poor scared peeping little thing out there. He was far from the pond, and heading towards the road....my son saw him while we were waiting for the bus to take him to school.

    Does he need a heating lamp? I still have all of my brooder supplies from when we raised our chicks....

    I didn't have time to look anything up before I left for work, but intend to now. I will check for your website, dumb cluck, thank you! I need all the info I can get.

    Angie
     
  5. jersy87

    jersy87 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 11, 2010
    He will be fine. Give him non medicated starter only. He doesnt need a heat light unless its realy cold.
    Our ducks live with our chickens with no problem. You can always go get another duckling for him to be buddies. We have 2 disabled canadian geese...
     
  6. grullablue

    grullablue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    ohhh I LOOOOOOVE canadian geese! We have some come to the pond now and then...just love them! Thanks for the tips, I'm doing my reading now!
     
  7. dumb_cluck

    dumb_cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chickens may pick on him if he is much smaller. You can get a portable dog pen and put a small kiddie pool in it for him to swim. Don't put a lot of water in at first because he has not developed his preening skills to make the oils necessary to keep him dry.

    He is alone, so he will imprint on you. He will become more of a pet than a wild duck. Another reason to stay the course and adopt him. You won't be able to tell whether its male or female for a couple of months. The males (drakes) will get a greenish look to the top of their head. If no green head, it's a hen and will stay brownish.

    Don't need a heater unless he is cold. If you can keep him in the house for a few days, that would help him to feather out.

    Any questions, email me.

    Pat J
     
  8. MissJenny

    MissJenny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I suspect it is mis-information that a mother bird won't accept a baby bird once handled by humans. This is something grown-ups tell children so's they'll keep they're paws off nests and eggs and backyard baby birds. What wildlife experts say to do, when finding a bird, or in this case a duck, is to return it to where you found it -- back away many many feet and Mama will often come tend to the fledgling with glee and delight.

    I have had this experience where I heard a baby bird that had fallen into a sewer drain. It was a real Timmy and Lassie moment. The baby bird was peeping frantically. The mother bird was circling and squealing frantically. I was searching the street, frantically, for someone to help me lift the drain grate. Hooray for UPS men. Long story short, the baby bird was set on a branch of a small tree and before I got ten feet away the frantic mother was sitting beside the baby, much the calmer and happy at heart.

    It is still possible to return the baby duck to the mother if you know where she is. If you take the duckling to the pond where the mother and siblings are chances are the baby you have will race to join his family and the mother will look at him, shake her head as if to say, "There's on in every crowd!"

    Jenny
     
  9. grullablue

    grullablue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 27, 2008
    Madison, Wisconsin
    I didn't want to have to report this, because I feel like it's something I did.... but he died early last evening. I never noticed anything wrong with him.... I had him in a cage with only shavings, some picked grass (we use no chemicals on our large lawn), some unmedicated chicken feed (I was going for feed for him last evening), and a water dish. I put the cage in the chicken coop, which was not hot, nor cold, not drafty but ventilated...and he wasn't gone very long when my son found him, as I had checked on him shortly before. I was just going out to set up our big brooder we'd used for the chickens.

    Thank you for the suggestions on helping him, I suppose it could have been a variety of things. I chose the chicken coop for the time being because I didn't want him being stressed out in teh house (cats), and I didn't want him in the garage because it gets cold in there. The chicken coop was a nice temperature, and I thought it might help him to hear the hens making their noises all day.

    Well, I tried, and am feeling badly....he looked like he just laid down and went to sleep and didn't wake up.
     
  10. dumb_cluck

    dumb_cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2010
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    He may have been weak to start with and couldn't keep up with mom and the others. It's called natural selection.
    So sorry.....
     

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