Mama Duck Not Eating

DuckMama42

Hatching
Jun 8, 2020
9
11
3
Hi all!

We have three Welsh Harlequin ducks that started laying in March. One of our ducks, Marigold, is very friendly and likes to be touched and carried around. Lately, we noticed her building nests and sitting on her sister's eggs. She also had a hunched posture and fluffed feathers, and wouldn't let me come near her. She quacks at me with a weird double quack instead of soft chattering as usual. I assumed she was broody. She started sitting in the duck house all the time and she isn't eating much at all. She doesn't look skinny but she won't eat her favorite treats or forage.

Yesterday we decided to get two ducklings, Khaki Campbells, and gave them to her. All of the sudden she became very friendly to us again and wants us to pet her. She isn't sitting on the ducklings, but she wants to be in the duck house with them and they are following her around. I let her and the ducklings out for a few minutes and she wouldn't forage. She walked around a little bit, then acted like she wanted back in the pen and her duck house. She wouldn't forage or eat any food or treats I tried to give her.

Is this normal for a broody duck? I'm concerned about her not eating. She's also not laying eggs and I did check her for a blockage but doesn't seem like that's a problem.

I do have one other girl that seems slightly broody. She has plucked chest feathers out, and she isn't laying reliably, but she isn't nest sitting and the ducklings scare the crap out of her. :) She's also eating like a horse.

Any advice on duckling adoption and how to get mama to eat?
 

Sasha-chickens

Chirping
Aug 1, 2019
180
136
83
Hi all!

We have three Welsh Harlequin ducks that started laying in March. One of our ducks, Marigold, is very friendly and likes to be touched and carried around. Lately, we noticed her building nests and sitting on her sister's eggs. She also had a hunched posture and fluffed feathers, and wouldn't let me come near her. She quacks at me with a weird double quack instead of soft chattering as usual. I assumed she was broody. She started sitting in the duck house all the time and she isn't eating much at all. She doesn't look skinny but she won't eat her favorite treats or forage.

Yesterday we decided to get two ducklings, Khaki Campbells, and gave them to her. All of the sudden she became very friendly to us again and wants us to pet her. She isn't sitting on the ducklings, but she wants to be in the duck house with them and they are following her around. I let her and the ducklings out for a few minutes and she wouldn't forage. She walked around a little bit, then acted like she wanted back in the pen and her duck house. She wouldn't forage or eat any food or treats I tried to give her.

Is this normal for a broody duck? I'm concerned about her not eating. She's also not laying eggs and I did check her for a blockage but doesn't seem like that's a problem.

I do have one other girl that seems slightly broody. She has plucked chest feathers out, and she isn't laying reliably, but she isn't nest sitting and the ducklings scare the crap out of her. :) She's also eating like a horse.

Any advice on duckling adoption and how to get mama to eat?
she wants to protect the babies and make sure they are ok before she eats. you can get baby ducks from tractor supply or hatch some and she may be happier
 

TheOddOneOut

Doing my best. 🙄🤚
Premium Feather Member
Feb 15, 2020
10,573
37,650
836
Oregon
Hi all!

We have three Welsh Harlequin ducks that started laying in March. One of our ducks, Marigold, is very friendly and likes to be touched and carried around. Lately, we noticed her building nests and sitting on her sister's eggs. She also had a hunched posture and fluffed feathers, and wouldn't let me come near her. She quacks at me with a weird double quack instead of soft chattering as usual. I assumed she was broody. She started sitting in the duck house all the time and she isn't eating much at all. She doesn't look skinny but she won't eat her favorite treats or forage.

Yesterday we decided to get two ducklings, Khaki Campbells, and gave them to her. All of the sudden she became very friendly to us again and wants us to pet her. She isn't sitting on the ducklings, but she wants to be in the duck house with them and they are following her around. I let her and the ducklings out for a few minutes and she wouldn't forage. She walked around a little bit, then acted like she wanted back in the pen and her duck house. She wouldn't forage or eat any food or treats I tried to give her.

Is this normal for a broody duck? I'm concerned about her not eating. She's also not laying eggs and I did check her for a blockage but doesn't seem like that's a problem.

I do have one other girl that seems slightly broody. She has plucked chest feathers out, and she isn't laying reliably, but she isn't nest sitting and the ducklings scare the crap out of her. :) She's also eating like a horse.

Any advice on duckling adoption and how to get mama to eat?
She won't eat much when she is broody. No idea on the ducklings. @Isaac 0 ?
@MGG ?
 
Last edited:

MGG

🙄🤚
Premium Feather Member
Feb 7, 2020
11,398
36,214
956
Hi all!

We have three Welsh Harlequin ducks that started laying in March. One of our ducks, Marigold, is very friendly and likes to be touched and carried around. Lately, we noticed her building nests and sitting on her sister's eggs. She also had a hunched posture and fluffed feathers, and wouldn't let me come near her. She quacks at me with a weird double quack instead of soft chattering as usual. I assumed she was broody. She started sitting in the duck house all the time and she isn't eating much at all. She doesn't look skinny but she won't eat her favorite treats or forage.

Yesterday we decided to get two ducklings, Khaki Campbells, and gave them to her. All of the sudden she became very friendly to us again and wants us to pet her. She isn't sitting on the ducklings, but she wants to be in the duck house with them and they are following her around. I let her and the ducklings out for a few minutes and she wouldn't forage. She walked around a little bit, then acted like she wanted back in the pen and her duck house. She wouldn't forage or eat any food or treats I tried to give her.

Is this normal for a broody duck? I'm concerned about her not eating. She's also not laying eggs and I did check her for a blockage but doesn't seem like that's a problem.

I do have one other girl that seems slightly broody. She has plucked chest feathers out, and she isn't laying reliably, but she isn't nest sitting and the ducklings scare the crap out of her. :) She's also eating like a horse.

Any advice on duckling adoption and how to get mama to eat?
How long has she been sitting? She might still want to be broody, and isn't wanting to be a mom yet. She won't start laying eggs again for quite a while. You might have to artificially brood the ducklings if she doesn't want them. Does she let them under her?
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
114,794
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Mountains of Western N.C.
If the eggs haven’t been brooded but a short time take them away after you take her and her new ducklings out so she doesn’t see you. Once eggs are removed she how she is. Very seldom will a duck accept ducklings not hers unless she has just hatched some of her own.
 

DuckMama42

Hatching
Jun 8, 2020
9
11
3
How long has she been sitting? She might still want to be broody, and isn't wanting to be a mom yet. She won't start laying eggs again for quite a while. You might have to artificially brood the ducklings if she doesn't want them. Does she let them under her?

She's been broody for a few weeks but the nest building and sitting has been going on for about 2 weeks. That's when our egg production went way down. We do take the eggs every morning and destroy the nest but it hasn't deterred her. She just moved to the duck house.

She's letting the ducklings crawl all over her and snuggle next to her. I haven't seen them attempt to get under her. It's pretty hot out. I assume she kept them warm last night as it went down to 60 degrees and the ducklings are just fine today. I'm keeping them in the duck house with their food and water and I block the door when mama wants out, but she only gets a drink and wants back in the house with them. I do have some food in the house for her as well (she may be eating the duckling feed because it disappeared pretty fast yesterday).

I thought about putting our eco glow brooder in there in case they get cold and she won't sit on them. I don't really want to let them out of the house unattended yet because it's a chain link fence and they can slip right through the hole and run around the yard.
 

DuckMama42

Hatching
Jun 8, 2020
9
11
3
If the eggs haven’t been brooded but a short time take them away after you take her and her new ducklings out so she doesn’t see you. Once eggs are removed she how she is. Very seldom will a duck accept ducklings not hers unless she has just hatched some of her own.

She's not laying. Hasn't been for about a week now. I checked her yesterday for blockage and she pooped on me so I assume there isn't one.
 

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