My muscovy duck isn't showing any interest in her ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Birdcrazy, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. Birdcrazy

    Birdcrazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    682
    1
    134
    Dec 21, 2009
    Australia
    Hello, I have a duck, drake and eight ducklings hatched about a week ago and my duck doesn't seem to be taking any interest in them at all. We got back from a trip away to find the ducklings doing their own thing in the pen and, although usually very good and protective, my drake occasionally seems to bully them. She barely realises they are there and the most she'll do is sit on them at night. She does get little bursts of motherliness and nudges them but then wanders off. I have kept an eye on them and given them extra care but it's a little inconvenient as I'm a little busy with the rest of the animals (horses and chooks) [​IMG]
    I was wondering if I should just give her more time and if i can still allow her to have more ducklings in case she just needs to mature a bit still?
    Thanks. Britt [​IMG]
     
  2. pixie74943

    pixie74943 Chillin' With My Peeps

    606
    1
    129
    May 25, 2009
    Adelaide, Australia
    I dont have any experience.. but are you worried about them getting cold? You could hang a heat lamp somewhere for them. In theory they should be able to survive if they know where the food and water is and how to stay warm. Considering you can raise ducklings in a brooder without a mother duck, just imagine it as a big outdoor brooder with a semi-mother duck.
     
  3. Birdcrazy

    Birdcrazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    682
    1
    134
    Dec 21, 2009
    Australia
    Thats probably a good idea, but a little worried about predators too (snakes, crows, maybe magpies) if there isn't a mother protecting them [​IMG] hoping she'll become a good mother so we don't need to stress about little ducks. Thanks for the idea [​IMG]
     
  4. Chickies-duckies-etc

    Chickies-duckies-etc Chillin' With My Peeps

    594
    4
    141
    Jun 5, 2008
    Kansas
    I have heard that the drakes can and sometimes well kill ducklings. Perhaps if he is taken out the duck will do better with the ducklings.

    And can the duck actually protect the ducklings from predators anyway. They should be in a predator safe pen, especially at night. Then the duck can keep the ducklings warm and under control.
     
  5. Birdcrazy

    Birdcrazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    682
    1
    134
    Dec 21, 2009
    Australia
    I might have to do something about the drake being with the duckies til they are a lil older. I haven't got a roof wire on top of the pen, so I don't know if I should. Cant make anything snake proof [​IMG] but I don't know if snakes will actually bother the ducklings. Other then that just wondering if its still a good idea if I can let Charlotte (mother duck) have more babies if she isn't a good mum, or maybe she needs time to learn how to be a mum? Chester (my drake) is a bit pushy so he might of interfered with Charlotte and her duckies. Anyway its her first clutch so see how its goes [​IMG]
     
  6. MDC

    MDC Chillin' With My Peeps

    261
    3
    131
    Jan 17, 2008
    KS
    Birds, like people, can just be bad mothers. Then again, she could be a good mother but your expectations of her attentiveness is a bit high. Is she new at this? That plays into how well she mothers because she is just like every other first time mother - doesn't know what she's doing! If you can pen them together where the ducklings can't get too far away from her that'll help, they'll be able to run hide under her easier if they feel threatened or want to be warmed and she'll have less things to occupy her time other than the ducklings. I personally wouldn't cull a first time mother for bad mothering; especially if she hatched a good sized clutch. If all else fails you can always either artificially brood her ducklings or put her in a pen with another duck / ducklings set and allow that mother to take up some of the slack. If she was killing them then I'd ship her off to the meat buyer or sale irregardless of age / experience.
     
  7. satay

    satay oz-e-chick

    7,258
    731
    361
    Sep 2, 2008
    Esk Qld Australia
    I would definately take the drake out they can and do kill the babies. I live rural here and i have never lost a duckling to a snake. I guess it could happen but i have never seen it. As long as mum is keeping them warm at night i would not be to bothered . If all else fails you will need to take the babies and put them in a brooder with a heat lamp.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  8. satay

    satay oz-e-chick

    7,258
    731
    361
    Sep 2, 2008
    Esk Qld Australia
    Crows will take babie ducks if they are young but have never seen a maggie bother. We have a few on our place here and if anything they seem scared of the ducks and chickens lol.
     
  9. Birdcrazy

    Birdcrazy Chillin' With My Peeps

    682
    1
    134
    Dec 21, 2009
    Australia
    Thanks all [​IMG] yes charlotte is a first mother, and i definitely would never get rid of her, I love her too much. When a duckling runs under her she backs away and looks a bit startled but I do think it is a first mother thing. If its a permanent thing of her being a bad mother the most I'll do is prevent her from having ducklings.

    I turned up in the morning at our block to find a duckling missing, one a tiny bit injured, and all of them stirred up so I took them straight home. Dad thinks a bird of prey has taken the missing one [​IMG] so thinking about putting up a top wire. Really upset about it [​IMG] the poor things, but I don't mind having them at home which will be fun.

    Oh yeah, I forgot to say possibly could be an owl, chickenhawk, or crow but I would of thought maggies would of scared off at least the crow (which is all I've seen around close) because they are nesting above. The magpies wouldn't of hurt the duckies, they are lovely. They even don't mind my cat jumping around in the same tree (he never touches them or their nest [​IMG]).
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  10. the Old Rebel

    the Old Rebel Rest in Peace -2011

    361
    3
    151
    May 12, 2007
    Hendersonville NC
    Might I ask how old the babies are? Did the mother sit on the eggs?

    From my experience, a big enough snake will eat newborn baby muscovies. They are in danger until they get too big for the snake to swallow.

    Rats will also carry off and eat newborn baby muscovies. They will take them right out from under the mother. We put doors made of hardware cloth on our duck condos and close the mothers and babies in at night to protect them.

    Of course they are very vulnerable to any birds of prey - hawks, owls, etc. Even bass eat baby ducks. And yes, a drake will sometimes kill a baby duck. A top on your pen will help a lot.

    As for the mother, if she is keeping her babies warm when they need it, then she is being a good mom. A muscovy duck doesn't hover right over her babies. They are pretty independent of her from the time they come off the nest (usually when they are one or two days old). They only go up under her when they need to rest or are frightened. She may be being a better mother than you think. Or not. They do teach them, by example, how to eat and to watch for predators. If you have time, really observe your mother duck without her knowing you are there. Then you'll know for sure how she is doing.

    ******* This is important!! Someone wrote about putting her in with another mother and babies and letting that mother take up the slack. While I have had mothers that stole other mother's babies, I've also had mother's that KILLED other mother's babies. Someone explained to me that she does that to protect the food supply for her own offspring. Now we don't let our mothers be closed in together when they have babies. They are ok if they are free ranging, but we don't close them in together. Of course, when they are free ranging, they are vulnerable to every kind of predator there is.... including cats and dogs. So we rotate ours around a lot. It takes a bit of work, but it is worth it.

    Hope this helps a little. Please keep us posted on how Charlotte is doing. And yes, if she doesn't do well with her first batch, she MAY improve with the next one. I have one that just won't take care of the babies no matter what. Many times she abandons the nest after setting almost the whole time. It can be very frustrating. Gotta watch her, so I can grab the eggs and put them under somebody else or in the incubator. Hope Charlotte gets the hang of it.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by