Lonely baby duck

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Joan6153, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

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    I rescued some Muscovy duck eggs after the Mom abandoned the nest after being attacked by a predator. Most were infertile or did not develop, but one actually hatched after 35 days in a towel-lined box under a desk lamp! Baby was neurologically impaired with a star-gazing and back-flipping problem but I gave her some vitamins and now at age 14 days she seems over that. I usually call her "she" but it could be a boy so I better use her name which is Pumpkin since she was born the day before Thanksgiving.

    Pumpkin is an only duckie as none of the other eggs hatched. I was kind of shocked that even one of the eggs made it. Lately she seems kind of lonely to me. She is in a brooder box with a stuffed mallard duck and a feather duster, but no brothers or sisters. I visit often but it isn't the same.

    Any suggestions of what I could do to help Pumpkin out? I have absolutely no experience raising ducklings. I thought of pasting photos of the Muscovies in my backyard (including Pumpkin's mom) on the box. Or putting a mirror there so she has "company". But I really don't know what to do. Help!

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    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Looks like she loves her mallard stuffy, and what a cutie. I'd give her a non breakable mirror they sell them at pet stores for parrots or you may have one your self just so the sharp edges are covered. they love looking at them selves and helps with being lonely. . what are your plans for the duckling? and Welcome to BYC. .
     
  3. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

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    I really never intended to have a duckling for a pet but I couldn't let the rest of the eggs fall to a predator after mom was scared off. I just figured I could slowly introduce the duckling to the wild Muscovies in my backyard. The baby's mom is often there, too, though I doubt she would recognize her little one. I wasn't going to touch it a lot but as it turned out, Pumpkin was sick with a vitamin deficiency that prevented her from walking without flipping over backwards. And she got aspiration pneumonia from drinking with her head thrown back too far. So I have to hold her three times a day and give her antibiotics prescribed by the vet along with some vitamins he formulated specially for her. That's getting hard now that she is getting big so fast and is really squirmy. But it also means that I handle her a lot. She doesn't seem to want to cuddle, though, and would prefer if I put her back down.

    She used to peep pitifully when left alone but seems to have calmed down and doesn't complain all the time after I leave her any more. But she does seem lonely. I will get her that mirror so she has a pseudo-companion. Thanks for the tip.

    When she's older I plan to give her a spot inside my screened patio where she can see her real family and they can see her and she can still be safe. When she is old enough to fly, I thought I would let her outside with the other ducks. Hopefully they will accept her. They usually give newcomers a hard time for a few days but then accept them if they are persistent enough to keep trying. And they will have seen her through the screening so that might help. I assume she will stay near the backyard but if she moves away then so be it. I live on a canal so she would have water nearby. I have heard that if she is actually a he, then there could be trouble but I will just have to cross that bridge later. I don't know what I could do about it anyway.

    Am I in for trouble? Any advice on how to get her to integrate with the backyard family?
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Sounds like a well thought out plan, one thing I'd change is going from screened porch to out side, if you can borrow a dog x pen or if you have one I'd go from porch to that for at least a few days, that way she'll really be in the thick of it but no possibility of being injured and give everyone a little more time to accept the new kid on the block so to speak. I'd give her a chance to be at least 4-5 weeks old before letting her go. I keep my moms and babies separated by temp fencing for 3 weeks before letting them lose with the rest of the flock, This way everyone sees everyone but babies can't be picked on by my bullies. By then they are old enough and big enough to get away. I have to say thank you for taking in this egg/duckling and caring for it. Muscovy's are awesome ducks I love mine to pieces. please keep us updated on how it all goes. and the wonderful job you have done so far. [​IMG]
     
  5. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

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    Well at age 3 weeks Pumpkin went outside into the screened patio inside a rabbit "playpen" that is a round 4 foot diameter cage. She can see the outside Muscovies but is not interested in them at all. She sits only wherever I am and peeps pitifully whenever I leave her sight. She is totally bonded with me and does not see herself as a duck. Now what? I have been only leaving her out a few hours when I can be near and then taking her back inside where she does not peep when I leave her. But she is too big for the box inside and really needs to stay outside. I had put pictures of her duck family in the inside box to keep her company along with a mirror. Do I need to put my picture in the outside playpen to maybe calm her? I am way out of my depth here.

    By the way she did better when I put a storage box on its side that she could rest in inside the pen and covered the top with plywood. She seemed to feel more secure.[​IMG]
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    That's a nice setup you have for Pumpkin, it will take time for her to understand she is a duck, of course she has imprinted on you but just as all ducklings grow up and leave home she will too if you give her the chance, unless you want to keep things the way they are? As they get older and sexually mature they start looking to the opposite sex for company. Maybe on nice days you can sit out there with her and leave the door open so she can come out and meet the resident Muscovy's that way you'll be there in case anyone want to give her a hard time. When my lone Muscovy duckling[turned out to be a drake] began to sexually mature he very much wanted me to be his"girl" umm didn't work out, But we went and got him a couple girls and he eventually bonded with them, he is still my boy and loves to cuddle but he knows his place in with the rest of the flock, give Pumpkin time it will come too.
     
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  7. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aww, I hope Pumpkin gets back in the flock. I think you might have a boy because he/she is is pretty big for his/her age.

    I know people who handled ducks a lot as babies, but once they matured, they found out that they would rather be with other ducks who speak their language better. So, maybe your baby will be like that in a few more weeks or a couple of months.
     
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  8. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

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    I too have been thinking Pumpkin is a drake. She/he is growing ridiculously fast and has thick legs and big feet. They remind me of the big legs on the babies I've seen in the backyard that ended up being males. I was hoping Pumpkin was a girl because I thought it would be easier later. Time will tell.
     
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    You maybe right and having an imprinted duckling and turn out to be a drake they seem alot more clingy than the girls, I'd still sit out with Pumpkin as often as you can leave the door open and let him decide if he wants to come out I think eventually he'll get interested in the other ducks. I can tell you from experience he'll most likely want to make you his mate, which can be a problem, so get him use to being with the other Muscovy's as much as possible. .
     
  10. Joan6153

    Joan6153 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the suggestion Miss Lydia. I plan to keep Pumpkin in the cage on the patio for another month then put the cage outside on the grass so she can learn about grass and be closer to her duck family. The blue mat is removable leaving the bottom open. The plywood cover should keep predators away and block some of the rain and sun; and I put a plastic mesh around the cage to keep curious cat paws out.

    I need a better floor to the cage now because while the grass will drain itself later, the plastic mat lets water pool in puddles when she splashes her water ( which is always) or when it rains. She's wet all the time which doesn't seem good. Is there a good choice to put on the floor to keep her out of the water puddles? Today was such a rainy day I brought her back in the house this afternoon but need to be able to leave her out all the time. Thank for any ideas you can offer.
     

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