Need help with three wild ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Caincando1, May 17, 2010.

  1. Caincando1

    Caincando1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2009
    Dodge Center MN
    I just started keeping chickens (adults no chicks) last summer and I’m still in the learning process. I’ve been thinking about getting some ducks but planned to wait. Well I ended up with 3 wild ducklings last weekend. We live out in the county and one of my dogs found a nest out back. We found 3 ducklings and saved them from the dogs. I saw the momma duck for just a couple seconds from a distance so I have no idea what kind they are. I can’t let them go or mine or the neighbor dogs will just eat them now that they know they are around.

    I’m not sure how to raise them. I attached a picture of the set up I have them in. I gave them some wild game bird starter but I don’t think they are eating it. I have a bowl of water in their too, but it gets wood chips in it pretty fast. I also have a light to keep them warm. I’m looking for any advice. I’m hoping they will survive and I’ll add them to my flock of chickens.

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  2. beckt

    beckt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Indiana
    Are those Wood Ducks? If so they nest in trees in the wild. They are not mallards for sure. I have raised them and know that is not what they are. Google and see if you can find a site dedicated to wood ducks and see what it says. I know not much help, but a place to start.
     
  3. Caincando1

    Caincando1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2009
    Dodge Center MN
    I looked up pictures of Wood Duckling and these aren't Wood Duck.

    I guess I should add that I'm assuming they are wild ducks. I guess the mom could have flow in from a neighboring farm. I don't know of any close by that have ducks though.

    The duckling have black beaks with orangish/redish tips.
     
  4. xke4

    xke4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 3, 2007
    You have wood ducks. They are notoriously difficult to settle down and get to eating. They love mealworms cut up very tiny. Do you have a chicken waterer? (The white plastic kind with the red screw on bottom)? If so, put some big stones in the trough so they can't get in and soak themselves (I use giant marbles) . They will make a mess tho and you will be changing it more often than chickens. If they are making a mess with their wood chips, put a couple of layers of paper towel over top (not newspaper....is hard on their legs) to reduce some of the surface area of wood chips. It also helps to sprinkle the starter on the paper towel cuz if they are at all curious, they will peck at the crumbs and discover that it is good to eat. They must be kept very warm for the first while. If they are newly hatched, 90 F is recommended for the first week, decreasing by 5 degrees each week. Do not get them wet. They are especially sensitive to hypothermia. They are also sensitive to noise so if you can keep them out of the way, they will be less stressed. When I get a group of wood ducks in to rehab, I hope and pray that a mallard baby will soon follow to show these nervous nelly's what to do. They like to jump also. I clothes peg a receiving blanket over part of the top of the bin they are in and put a wire rack over the other end,. (allows for ventiliation).
    My most important advice to you is to get your hands on mealworms. Good luck.
    [​IMG]
    this is a picture of a set up that I use for the first week. The heat lamp is hung over top. I would not put a stuffed animal in with wood ducks as they will climb it , jump out of the bin and you will be chasing them around your house. I will try and post a better wood duck set-up picture. It is illegal here for people to keep migratory waterfowl without a license. You need to check into what your state allows before deciding whether or not you will release them.
     
  5. 1lpoock

    1lpoock Spruce Creek Waterfowl

    Apr 20, 2009
    Sandusky, Ohio
    I'm brooding some wood ducklings right now that I hatched out from my pair. They need a brooder that is about 95 degrees and decrease by 5 degrees each week. Many die by 4 days because it is difficult to get them eating. I, however, don't find this to be true. Mine are eating right away. If you do have trouble follow these suggestions:
    Leave them alone, they don't like commotion when they are that young.

    Add mealworms like the poster above noted, they see something moving so they are curious and want to eat it.

    Mix some food with a bit of water to make a paste and smear it on the walls of their brooder.

    Sprinkle some food on the paper towel floor, when they walk the food will move, and the ducklings will be more curious in it.

    If worse comes to worse, try to find a domestic duckling their same age, he will teach them to eat.


    However, you shouldn't have a problem, mine eat fine.

    Also, wood ducklings have very sharp toenails. I use a toenail clipper and clip the ends off of every toenail. If you don't, they will easily climb up the walls of the brooder. They are amazing jumpers too, make sure the brooder walls are high enough.

    They are federally protected and since you got these out of the wild, it is technically illegal to keep them.

    But if you have other questions...shoot!

    P.S. Check out my website for more info on wood ducks!
     
  6. Caincando1

    Caincando1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2009
    Dodge Center MN
    You are right, they are wood ducks. After I did some more digging I found picture that look just like them.

    Now that I know they are wood ducks, my plan it to raise them enough to release them somewhere safe. Hopefully they will be okay after releasing them. I was planning to keep them around because I though they were a laying ducks like Mallard or something.

    You are right they are jumpers. They are super spastic and very crazy to try and catch. Should I try to socialize with them to calm them down or not bother? The heat lamp is plenty warm and I’ve noticed that they don’t sit right under it so it must be warmer than they want. I’ll have to get a small waterer and get the bowl out of there because they are in the water quite a bit.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  7. stumble_n_mumble

    stumble_n_mumble Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    good luck with the wood ducks! there very hard to keep when their that little!
     
  8. 1lpoock

    1lpoock Spruce Creek Waterfowl

    Apr 20, 2009
    Sandusky, Ohio
    Sounds good...they will like a poultry waterer better. Mine still tries to swim around in it and there is barely any room for it! They do lay, but only in the spring/summer. Most will lay one clutch, but if you take the eggs or babies away, they will lay a second clutch.

    And yes, those are definetly wood ducks...here is a pic of one of my wood ducklings....

    [​IMG]

    P.S. You can try calming them down, but I don't think you will be succesful. They are wild at heart and they already imprinted on their mother.
     
  9. Caincando1

    Caincando1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2009
    Dodge Center MN
    I'll round up some meal worms. In the mean time can I give them earth worms? I'm doing some land scaping and will find plenty of worms as I'm digging.
     
  10. xke4

    xke4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 3, 2007
    A good shot showing the difference between Wood ducks and Mallards.
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    Wood Duck on right. Mallard on left. Notice how the eye stripe passes thru the eye of the Mallard but stops at the eye on the Wood Duck.
    I am guessing that the reason one of the posters does not have difficulty with his Wood Ducks is that they are domestic, not wild. The ones that I raise have been hatched in the wild by their mother then separated one way or another rather abruptly. They are extremely skittish and NEVER warm up to me right up until the time I release them.
    Another shot of my set up when raising in the house. This year I ousted the chickens into another coop and am raising all ducklings in the chicken coop. Much easier and less smelly in the house.
    [​IMG]
    If you give them earthworms, you will have to chop them very fine. I never do but I guess it is worth a try until you can get some mealworms. They also love duckweed if you have a pond growing it nearby but they should have a bit of chick grit when they start to eat greens and such.
     

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