Neglectful muscovy mother

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Neverdone, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. Neverdone

    Neverdone Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2015
    Cahokia IL
    Two eggs hatched under Skippy, this was her first time going broody. She was all about sitting on those eggs. She hardly ever left the nest! It was Serious Business. Well, two eggs hatched 5 days apart. The first duckling left at a few days to get into a nest with another duck(who is sitting on chicken eggs). The second duckling wants to be with his/her sibling. So the broody duck will let both ducklings into the nest, bit during outside playtime, she nips at the younger duckling, kind of chasing it away. It just seems like no one is interested in parenting these ducklings. This is my first hatch ever, and it just seems....well, Skippy's mothering skills seem to be lacking...I'm not sure what I expect her to do is really what mother ducks actually do. She's just ignoring them, staying in her house, while they are getting into soeone else's nest. And like I said, she's setting on eggs so not much of a surrogate mom. They wander the coop alone and usupervised. The older one seems happy enough, but the younger one seems a little weaker and kind of sad. I brought the in the house and put them in a crate with a paint tray pool, food, waterer, and a Winnie the Pooh softy contributed by my son, with they snuggled a bit, but they BOTH seemed sad and lonely. Any advice? I imagined a whole different hatching experience here. Of course I want to just bring them in and mother them myself, but don't really know if that's best.
  2. Homesteader2

    Homesteader2 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 3, 2015
    Hardy, Arkansas
    I'm sorry that Skippy didn't do a good job mothering. I don't know what happened. I'm a new Muscovy Mom myself and have a whopping 21 ducklings right now with 14 more eggs due to hatch under Sally mid July.

    I have three females and two males and one special needs female duck. Eleanor was first to go broody. She hatched 14 eggs under the front porch and marched them to the pond while I was busy milking the goat. She would NOT bring them into the duck house with everyone else at night and therefore lost 7 over the course of three nights. She then thought it wise to bring them in. Meanwhile, Bibs was sitting a huge nest of 24 eggs in the duck house. She sat them a long time and then when Eleanor brought her 7 little ducklings into the duck house she promptly pushed Bibs off her nest and took over. She hatched 16 more ducklings out of that nest two didn't make it and several couldn't get out of the shell due to massive pile of eggs. It was my first time and I feel totally responsible. It was a learning experience and I'll do things differently next time.

    Bibs went a little crazy and began robbing eggs from the chicken house. When Eleanor pushed her off the huge clutch she went a little bonkers and it drove her to cannibalism. I might have to rehome this duck to somewhere she can live inside a cage without access to eggs. She even robbed eggs from under Sally! I put a an end to that!

    Anyway, I don't have answers for why a Momma duck would abandon her babies. I think they'll do ok if you give them some UNMEDICATED chick starter (it's what I use for the first week or two) along side their duck crumbles. They eat it readily, moreso than the duck crumble. I leave the babies in the duck enclosure with the other ducks but inside a protected area called the playpen (Momma duck is in the playpen too). They can see the others but they can't get out and the big ducks can't get in. It keeps them safe and doesn't allow interference from other marauding mothers.

    I created the playpen after Bibs stole the egg from Sally. It gives the Momma duck some peace of mind. Eleanor is inside her playpen with the 21 little ducklings with plenty of food, water, and swimming area. They seem plenty happy.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
  3. Neverdone

    Neverdone Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 7, 2015
    Cahokia IL
    I have Scout ( broody duck setting on chicken eggs) and Skippy (bad mom) in a small coop/run with the ducklings. They all eat non medicated chick starter.
    Why did Skippy just take off? She's just more interested in preening and hanging out by the pool with the drakes. The ducklings are healthy and seem fine, I am just disappointed they are motherless. I only let her hatch because I heard muscovies make such good mamas.

    I have a naked neck chicken that has not laid an egg in a couple of years, as far as I can tell. She waits in an empty nest box next to an occupied one, and as soon as an egg is laid, she wants to sit on it. She will stay on someone else's egg for a couple of hours, then she moves on. I had to relocate a duck nest because she kept on letting the chickens in to lay eggs, and add materials to the nest. I didn't realize what was happening until I went to candle the eggs, and found a bunch of chicken eggs under her. I watched her one day, and she would just step out of her nest as if to say "Eggs? Yes, I WILL hatch them all!"
    Birds are crazy.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    So hard to predict which individual ducks will be broody, or good moms. There are exceptions to all the general guidelines. [​IMG]

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