Looking for input - raising a lone duckling

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by 1duckychick, May 22, 2010.

  1. 1duckychick

    1duckychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    Last week DH came home with 2 rescued day-old mallards. The mama and siblings (8 of them) had died (don't have the details on how). One of the little ones was much smaller and a little weaker than the other. By the second day it started getting sick. I took it to the vet on day 3 but it died despite all efforts. Vet said there was no way to tell what caused it but the other one appeared fine. As a precaution, she advised that I keep the little one away from my other ducks for a few days to be sure it wasn't a contagious viral infection.

    It's been over a week now and this little one (now named Fidget) is thriving and showing no signs of illness. I've tried introducing Fidget to my flock of 5 but they want no part of her (or him - I'm hoping it's a her though). My 2 males chase Fidget away and my 3 females run quacking in fear from her. At first Fidget would run after them peeping, trying to join the group. Now when I take her out she sticks with me and my kids and barely tries to mix in with them.

    Fidget is now completely attached to her human family. She follows us everywhere and has to be sitting on one of us at all times unless we're walking or she's eating or swimming. We have a brooder for her to sleep in at night (and for when no one is home) but she FREAKS when we put her in there and has now managed to begin jumping out of it. I've given her a couple of stuffed animals to snuggle but she's not accepting substitutes! There's been someone home with her (for the most part) everyday and we've been taking her with us when we can in a mesh cat carrier bag. This is fine for now, while she's cute and little, but I don't know how it's going to go over when she's a full size duck!

    So, my questions -

    1- Will the other ducks ever accept her - maybe when she's older and looks/sounds more like them or are my older ducks snobby elitists? They were all raised together from day one and they've never really had any interactions with other "critters" (besides us).

    2 - Any suggestions on how to help Fidget sleep through the night without us? She peeps and dashes around the room for nearly an hour when we put her to bed for the night - it breaks my heart.

    3 - Is Fidget now doomed to be an indoor lone duck because she's bonded with us or will she become more independent and want to be outdoors as she gets older?
  2. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    Um, I don't know what to tell you.
    At night you might try putting something over the brooder so he doesn't jump out. If you don't want him to be a house duck, then you might trying looking at your local feed stores or TSC and see if they have any baby ducks. If you can find one then hopfully he will bond with the other duckling. Other wise I think you have a House Duck. [​IMG]
  3. PlumTuckered

    PlumTuckered Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2007
    I had a lone duckling who wasn't accepted by the flock until she was 5 months old. Best advice I can give you is stick a mirror in with that baby (in the brooder), it will really help keep the baby from being too lonely. I gave my lone duckling a mirror because there were times I couldn't have her with me around the farm and she loved it. She'd sing to the mirror, cuddle up to it at bedtime, it was precious to see. When she was 10 weeks old I moved her to a partitioned part of the big duck pen along with her mirror..that way when the big ducks were in the pen they could see eachother and eventually the big ducks started talking to her and hanging out near the chicken wire wall with her. Once she hit 5 months I let her be with the big ducks and she became the drake's favorite girl.

  4. 1duckychick

    1duckychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    A mirror - Plum - you're a genius! I NEVER thought of that! Will try it today.
  5. PlumTuckered

    PlumTuckered Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2007
    Another thing I did was set her brooder bin up on an old kitchen table between the livingroom and kitchen, that way she was up on "our" level and could see whatever was happening in the main parts of the house. That really helped her a lot and she no longer peeped for someone to come pick her up, almost like she felt that she was right there with us all the time. You could also play a radio near the brooder through the night if she's doing a lot of crying during the night.

  6. kitkatbahr

    kitkatbahr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2009
    Merritt Island, FL
    I tried a mirror with Sunny, my 3 week old lone duckling and she was petrified of it. So, it may work, it may not. I have Sunny transitioning into a big wire dog crate for daytime. That is her new play pen. She doesn't need the heat in the brooder anymore, as our house is about 79 degrees with the a/c on. My husband put hardware cloth over the wire dog crate so she couldn't try to squeeze through the bars or get stuck. It works great.

    Notice I said she is transitioning. It is taking awhile, as she is much more comfortable in the tote we use for a brooder, but it isn't real big and she is growing like a weed. So, I started with putting her in it for a few minutes severl times a day, with food, water, her beanie baby toy, and some romaine lettuce and/or peas. Then I would put her back in the brooder. I had to do that alot and lengthen each time she was in the wire crate. Now she stays in there for several hours at a time before she gets too upset that it is a big empty space. Today will be the first day trying her all day with it. The TV is on and she can see and hear it from where she is (right near it). I also have toys for her in there that I got from the pet store. She actually plays with the one in her brooder. They are parrott toys. Just look at them carefully for hazards for ducklings, like places to get beaks, feet or heads stuck. The ones I have are little hanging ones with a bell on the end. One also has a spinner thing on it and a small mirror, which she is ok with. I saw her playing with the spinner yesterday.

    Anyway, we take her outside several times a day to play in the grass, catch bugs, etc. At night she is still going into her brooder, although the goal is to get her to accept the huge dog crate for all the time. Once she outgrows the dog crate, she will be ready to go outside to a transitional pen out by the other ducks. I think I will do like the other person did, and have a chicken wire separation so they cannot get to her but can see her. I am hoping they accept her and she handles it ok. She is SOOOOO imprinted on me though I don't know how she will do.

    It was hard leaving her in the big crate and having her peep and cry for me when I was out of her sight. But, she has to get used to it. So, I would tallk to her, or sing to her, etc. go in the room, let her know I am still around, then go back to doing chores, etc. She has to get used to being away from mom sometimes or it will be impossible to have her. I can't keep her with me 100 % of the time. She is doing good though.

    Good luck with your baby. Oh, just thought of something. I put screen over the top of her brooder and secured it with bunjie cords so she cannot jump out. It works well. It is nylong type screen like you use for screen porches. That way she stays safe in the brooder and doesn't run around all crazy looking for me. I also have a baby monitor set up so I can hear her during the night, while I am in bed. If she cries for whatever reason, out of water, etc. then I get up and check on her. Just like a human baby! LOL

    Keep us posted on how your ducky does.

  7. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Quote:They accept her once older.

    Ducks are active at night, just like cats. So put her into her brooder and she has to learn. You know she is not getting hurt so it will be fine. It's just like a cranky little toddler.

    She will become an outdoor duck once she finds out how much fun it it.

    Please read my story about Ducky a wild duck we took in .

  8. nettie

    nettie Enslaved by Indoor Ducks

    Nov 20, 2008
    Chicago, IL
    you can also give her a feather duster (made with real feathers). She'll probably snuggle up to it, esp if you put it by the mirror.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by