Imprinting - release into the wild

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by enriquec, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. enriquec

    enriquec Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    22
    88
    Aug 20, 2014
    North Florida
    Its been a long time since I had chickens or ducks. Today is day 15, and 24 eggs are coming along great! Almost everyone showed movement. When I had ducks before, I remember them hatching, following me around, etc. As they got older they became more independent, and one day they just started living outside with the other ducks. Weeks or months later I know they were still there and doing fine.

    I read just not that imprinting and releasing into the wild is unethical. They wont learn what they need to survive on their own. And they will believe they are human, not duck. I live on a lake right that has no ducks, or maybe very few small flying ones that always hide. I always assumed they were birds. My plan from the beginning was to do the same as before. Raise until they live outside.

    Is my memory off or is the internet exaggerating? And if its not, what should I do?

    I hate the idea of avoiding them for a week so they no longer imprint on me. But if it'll save their lives I will. I'm not sure that would even make a difference. They will realize they're all siblings and must be the same but I doubt they'd be teaching each other what a parent would. Any insight?
     
  2. enriquec

    enriquec Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    22
    88
    Aug 20, 2014
    North Florida
    In case breed or weather are important, Rouen ducks in Tallahassee, FL.
     
  3. enriquec

    enriquec Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    22
    88
    Aug 20, 2014
    North Florida
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,155
    5,965
    701
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    Welcome to BYC. I have a question for you, if you did not intend to keep the ducks for ever why hatch them? they will imprint on the first thing they see when they begin to hatch which most likely will be you. Domestic ducks have never learned how to take care of themselves in the wild hence the name domestics. Of course they will be come more independent as they mature but will always look to you for food and shelter. Rouens will not be able to fly as most domestics can't anyway so they will be subject to snapping turtles under water and aerial from above and lots of predators will swim for a free meal of duck so if they can't fly and they are left outside 24/7 I doubt they will last long. Some folks keep ducks on a lake or pond 24/7 but we hear of some of them coming in to say something has gotten them so not sure what percent make it to a very long life. My ducks are Muscovy and every evening they line up waiting to go inside their house. I think they like the idea they are protected. I took on the responsibility of their care when I originally got them and those I let hatch here. To me no different than a cat or dog horse or goat as far as responsibility. just my 2 cents.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. enriquec

    enriquec Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    22
    88
    Aug 20, 2014
    North Florida
    When I was younger, the ducks I released never left. They lived out on the lake and after a while there were long periods of time I wouldn't see them, but then they would show up again. They would always run up to me when I was around but they did not rely on me for food or shelter. I lived in south Florida close to the everglades.

    Because I'm in north Florida now, and the winters can get bellow freezing at times, I was planning to provide shelter and a home for them. One of the benefits of this idea is I could also get eggs. Because of my experiences, I'm not sure I believe the 'domestic' and 'wild' animal lines are as black and white as people say.

    I do intend to 'keep them' in a similar way to how many have outdoor animals or pets. They can live free outdoors during the day, and have a place to sleep at night. If something should ever happen to me, I like to think they would be able to live without there shelter.

    Based on the conflict between my memory and what I've read, I assume one is inaccurate, at least some what. Or a uncommon experience. When I was younger, I did basically live outside. From their first week, they would be outside swimming, eating from the land, exposed to large groups of other ducks.

    Someone with more experience might be able to set me straight. Is it unlikely that I will have imprinted ducks that live and survive in the wild? Are there things I can or should do to make this a reality? Or do I need to pick 'domestic' or 'wild' and then take steps to make sure it goes right?

    I'll do what make sense, but I don't have 24 ducklings coming because I wanted 24 pets. It's because I've never lived on a lake without ducks and I thought Rouens would be a pretty breed to introduce and populate the area.
     
  6. SerenityRachel

    SerenityRachel Out Of The Brooder

    32
    6
    26
    Apr 16, 2014
    Ohio
    What you read is absolutely right - your babies will hatch and imprint on to you. Plus, you are hatching Rouens, which is a domestic breed of duck. From Metzer's website:
    "Some people call Rouens Mallards but that is incorrect as Mallards fly quite easily and Rouens do not. A Rouen is at least three times the weight of a Mallard."

    Which means that your ducks will not be able to fly away from predators. You can't just choose "wild" or "domestic" when you're hatching a domestic breed. You'll be responsible for their protection and well being just as you would any other domestic animal.

    Maybe the ducks you remember from when you were younger were Mallards?
     
    2 people like this.
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,155
    5,965
    701
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I'm really surprised you don't have wild ducks, Muscovy seem to be all over Fla. and they can live wild since there are so many feral. and they can fly and perch in trees which makes them less vulnerable to preds. at least grounds dwelling preds.Most of us that have been on BYC for a while see this every year someone gets ducks then sees how messy they are or they aren't the cute little ducklings any more and takes them down to the local pond and "dumps" them out to fend for themselves most probably don't make it. Being they have relied on someone to feed and care for them. Wild ducks breed with them and then the wild pool gene isn't pure anymore. Just this morning someone has spotted a Chinese goose at their lake and wants to rescue it if it's still alive since the other one dumped along with it has already died. if you plan to care for the ducks and your home owners association is okay with you doing this then by all means go for it. Ducks are hardy and don't need alot of protection from the elements once they feather in but they do need a secure place to sleep at night when most predators are on the prowl. and some place to get out of the weather is they want too.
     
  8. jentralala

    jentralala Chillin' With My Peeps

    92
    16
    51
    May 1, 2014
    Releasing them would be quite damaging to the environment, imo. There may not be enough food to sustain them, and they may easily overpopulate and deplete the natural resources for the other native animals living there. Not to mention ducks are incredibly messy, and could pollute the lake living on it 24/7. I'm also in FL, and I've seen first hand the damage that released domestics can cause...think of the Iguanas in the Keys, the pythons in the Everglades.
     
    3 people like this.
  9. enriquec

    enriquec Chillin' With My Peeps

    256
    22
    88
    Aug 20, 2014
    North Florida
    Muscovy are everywhere.. none up here. I really don't know what breeds I had. I know a Muscovy ones, and two kind of looked like female Mallards. I've known the breed of very few pets I had, of all sorts of animals besides ducks. It didn't even occur to me that breed would make a difference. All ducks I've had could fly.. some might not go very far or for very long but they've always been able to get away..
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    70,155
    5,965
    701
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    If you live where you have a home owners association, I'd surely check there before releasing any ducks on the lake.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by