Incubating wild duck eggs

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by tink0602, May 7, 2011.

  1. tink0602

    tink0602 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Hi all! I am totally new here, and am taking over as mama for our wild "pet" duck sugar who was killed this morning by a raccoon near her nest. All of the eggs are fine. She has been laying them over the past week, but the first time we saw her sitting on them was last night. I just got an incubator and it is on at a stable temperature of 100. I am watching it now to make sure it stays stable before I add the eggs. We live in a rural area in South Florida and I know their is a raccoon family that lives across the street, but they have never bothered the ducks before. This is the second dead duck we have seen in the past few months, but the other one we saw in a canal, so I don't know if raccoons are to blame for that one. Should I be worried about raccoons getting our other wild duck "pets"? They tend to hang out between our house and the neighbors, and laid eggs in the same place last year without any problems. Also, do I need to build a coop for these babies once they can go out on their own, or will they be okay back in the wild once they are at that stage. I just don't want to let them out to be raccoon food... and I don't want to bury anymore of our feathered friends. [​IMG]
    Any advice would be appreciated. I have been reading a ton of the posts on here, and the forums are a wealth of information!
    Thank you,
    Amy
     
  2. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's nice that you are helping with taking care of Sugar's eggs. I have wild duck friends, too, that I care about and get sad when they go missing or die. Is there a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility nearby? If so, I would talk to them about it. If you do incubate the eggs, you might think about handing over the ducklings to them to avoid any trouble or fines.

    Unfortunately, predators are a fact of life with wild ducks and there's very little you can do to protect them without capturing them and fencing them in. And, to do that and not get into trouble, you have to talk to your local wildlife people about that.

    Some suggestions would be to make sure you don't leave feed laying around and secure it. This also goes with human food and making sure trash is secure. Overall, if you leave as few attractions for wildlife coming into your yard the better. This also includes keeping an eye on your pets and picking up pet waste, too.

    ETA: [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  3. tink0602

    tink0602 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the info. My intention and hope was to return them back into the wild, once they were big enough. Their is a lot of wildlife around here. Other than our wild bird feeders and feeding the ducks, we "let nature be nature" and don't mess with the rabbit holes or the duck and bird nests. My kids were so excited when they saw her on the nest last night, and we were all pretty devastated to find her dead in front of the nest this morning. I just feel terrible to not do anything...and if we can save her babies, I guess we can save a little part of her. I left a message this morning for the local wildlife sanctuary, but they never called me back. They were the first place I called. From what I have been able to find online so far, Florida Fish and Wildlife have Muscovies listed as an "established nonnative domestic species" since 1967.

    This is what I just found on their website:
    Muscovies are protected by Florida Statute 828.12 regarding animal cruelty. However, because these birds originated in Florida from domestic stock, they are not considered "wildlife." As of March 31st, 2010 a federal control order is in effect that allows control by landowners, wildlife management agencies, and tenants, agents, or employees without federal or state permits, and prohibits the release of muscovies.
    Muscovy ducks, like other domestic animals, are considered private property. If someone claims ownership, the birds are the owner's to do with as he or she pleases, so long as Florida Statute 828.12 regarding animal cruelty is not violated. Similarly, if the muscovies have no owner, no state or federal law prohibits their capture and humane euthanization. This can be a last resort to resolve a nuisance problem.

    I guess that means I am in the clear...I hadn't even considered that I might be breaking any kind of law by helping them! Thank you for prompting me to look!! [​IMG] I hope like my local neighbors with chickens, I will be able to let them into the backyard so they will still be our pets and hang close to our house, yet have the freedom to roam around and fly like the other muscovies we have grown to love. I guess I have about 35 days to figure that part out, though...[​IMG]
     
  4. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I didn't know it was a muscovy! I thought you were talking about something like a mallard.

    By all means, incubate the eggs and raise the babies. I wouldn't really release them totally into the wild as it would add to the overpopulation. I can't help you with specifics on incubation, but someone else might. Be sure to post pics when they hatch. I'm sure you will have a lot of fun with them. I wish I could have some, too. They're also good for egg production and I hear they taste good, too (if you decide to go that route).

    What color was the mama?

    ETA: There are new laws regarding keeping muscovies for pets only, so be aware. Right now, it's not being enforced and is still being worked on.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  5. tink0602

    tink0602 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry...I guess I forgot to mention that. I will definitely post picks. One of the eggs is really small...do you know what that means? We are putting them in the incubator now. My kids are so excited. The mama was mostly black with a white head - that's why we named her Sugar. (All of our ducks have sweet/candy names [​IMG]) I have been looking for the others today, and we finally saw Cocoa with a male we haven't seen much before. The kids think it is one of Sugar's babies from last year's bunch. We also have a male Oreo - who I haven't seen today. He was the one mating with Sugar. I hope he is alright...although, he is kind of grumpy.
    I wasn't sure about eating their eggs...if I had a coop, would they lay eggs like chickens? I guess I'll have to do some research on that one, too.

    Thanks again for your help...I hope I do this right! [​IMG]
    Amy
     

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