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My rescued mallard egg journey (long)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Calea, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. Calea

    Calea In the Brooder

    May 25, 2011
    I would just like to share this for anyone who finds an egg or even a baby mallard and wants to rescue it. I have learned ALOT this summer. I made it as short as I could, while still trying to give the full story.

    There were three eggs but only one hatched. I live right on a lake with MANY ducks, so I figured it wouldn't be necessary to get him a duck friend. He would make plenty of friends with these ducks, right? There were two mommy ducks who had babies close to my duck's age. One group was about two weeks older, the other was about two weeks younger. They would bring their babies to my patio everyday to eat droppings from my bird feeder. There was also a mommy duck who had lost all but one of her babies..she stayed hidden almost constantly. Her baby was several weeks younger than mine.

    I decided that I would attempt to do EVERYTHING in my power to help this baby to get back to being "wild" as he should be. He hatched on May 17th. At about one week old, I started taking him outside every day. I sat with this baby LITERALLY all day long EVERY SINGLE DAY...rain or shine...seriously...there were days I sat there and cried because I didn't feel like being out there. All of my neighbors saw me everyday and probably thought I had lost my mind. We skipped two vacations in June because I couldn't leave my duck. Someone suggested taking him with me. I could have taken him, but is that really the way to raise a "wild" duck? Sitting around a campfire roasting marshmallows? No, I decided it wasn't. lol

    My duck didn't eat the bird seed droppings because he was well fed with his own food, but I thought, "Hey...I'll feed him HIS food on the patio so that he can eat with other ducks!" What a great idea, right? NOT...Um....mommy ducks are MEAN to other babies and even the babies were aggressive!! Luckily, I was there and was able to stop any ducks from hurting my baby (another reason I was always outside.) The worst part of this is that suddenly my poor little baby (Marshall) decided ducks were SCARY, and he became quite frightened of them. I don't blame him. Almost every encounter he had with them was somewhat negative [​IMG]

    I took him out every day, me in my kayak, Marshall swimming alongside of me so that he could forage. I watched where the mommies took their babies and we pretty much hit all of the same spots. At night he slept on my second floor balcony that was enclosed with chicken wire.

    At about five weeks he left in the evening when I tried to get him to take him up to the balcony and wouldn't return...[​IMG] I was so worried...he was alone with no duck friends. He stayed out all night and returned at 6am ready for his feeding!! The second night he did the same, only I was awakened to SCREAMING from something being killed at about midnight. I was sure it was him...something had gotten him. The next morning Marshall showed up again at 6..thank God!!!!! It wasn't my baby who gotten eaten.

    At six weeks I would leave him out during the day with my windows open so I could hear him if he needed me. I never left. My husband wanted to kill me!! But I had seen it this far and wasn't about to screw it up now. Still he had no duck friends..he swam alone..ate alone..slept alone. It was so sad it made me sick. [​IMG]

    He learned to fly when he was seven weeks old! I was relieved because I didn't know HOW I would teach him THAT!! [​IMG] When he was lonely, he would go around the lake and look for PEOPLE! [​IMG] Even when other ducks who just seemed like they wanted to lie next to him approached, he would get up and leave.

    My dad needed surgery and we HAD to leave town 3 days before Marshall turned 8 weeks. I was so upset; but I had to go. I knew he could forage, fly, and he had been outside for a long time, but still...he had no friends that I knew of. We were gone for two days.

    The morning I got back, here came Marshall up to get some free food from me, and who was with him but that one lone duck from the mom who only had one. Her mother was nowhere to be found...I don't know if she was killed or left or what, but here was Marshall with this probably 4-5 week old duckling that had attached herself to him whether he liked it or not!! I fed her and him together in the hopes that they would bond.

    THEY DID BOND!! They go everywhere together!! [​IMG] I am so thrilled and thankful and happy that this little duck entered the picture!! I suppose he MIGHT have made duck friends, given enough time, but she was perfect because she followed him everywhere; no other duck was going to do that. And, he had that bad habit of seeking out people...not ducks.

    In conclusion, I love this duck more than I ever thought I would...but I would never hatch a lone egg again. I was incredibly blessed that this other little duck came along. It has helped him break some of the bonds with humans that he had. He is still very friendly, but I'm hoping that duck bond keeps getting stronger. He is able to stay when other ducks come around now and that is a big step from where he was. The story really isn't finished, either, because fall and migrating time hasn't arrived yet. That will be the final test at how successful my duck journey has been. I have already decided though, that if he doesn't leave, we will build him shelter and care for him all winter. How could we not, right?

    I'm sure I could have done things differently, but I did the best I could. I would never recommend hatching a found egg...it's just too hard in so many ways. I've always been a duck lover, but this has taken me to a whole new level!! [​IMG]

  2. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Songster

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    I'm glad Marshall got himself a friend. I do notice that at about 8 weeks old, many ducks will begin to go out and find other ducks around the same age. Some ducklings venture out on their own sooner if it is warm and there's enough food. It's possible that he may integrate himself into the flock as he gets older. But, for now, it might help him if you leave food out for him.

    I just hope his human-imprinted ways don't get him in trouble during hunting season.
  3. Theeggboxtoo

    Theeggboxtoo Songster

    Oct 5, 2010

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