New babies - I'm such a softie (sad update & terramycin question)


10 Years
Apr 17, 2009
Kildare, Wisconsin
Well, my Sandhill order didn't come in time for my little sister to pick a Runner to raise for the county fair, so I found a local farm that was willing to sell me just 2 standard mallard day-olds.

Of course, when I got there, I wanted them all. First, I chose the biggest, most active, healthy looking one. Then, I picked a smaller one who was looking sweetly at me and was easy to catch. I thought I was done. My Sandhill order (of 15) might still show up on one of the backup dates, and I really don't even have the room for these two.

But then, the guy brought out a teeny little white mallard runt that was being trampled by all the others and probably wouldn't make it if he stayed there. So, of course, I had to bring it home.

So, three new babies are all set up in a special little brooder that I rushed to set up last night. They're exhausted from peeping their lungs out for the entire hour-long ride home, and one of them kept nodding off as I was taking pictures!


Here's a closer look at my runt:


Once again, I've ended up with more duckies than I intended because I'm such a softie!
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He's not really as pathetic as he looks. He's very active, was the first to start chowing down on the food, and peeps louder than any duckling I've ever heard!

I think, after a few days, he'll fill out a little and be just fine. His down is really thin, but he snuggles right in between the other two and seems content.

EDIT: I spent a few hours with them this afternoon, and they all have names now: the runt is Sunshine, and the other two are Rain and Lullaby.
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I guess I set myself up for heartbreak with this one.

Late last night, the little runt, Sunshine, started breathing very fast. He wasn't eating or drinking as much as everyone else, and got listless. I stayed up until midnight giving him little swallows of water with an eye-dropper, and when I checked on him at 1:30, he was curled up asleep with the others, still breathing very fast.

When I checked on them this morning, he had moved over by the food and quietly passed away, and looked like he was merely sleeping.

I think his internal organs weren't fully developed yet, and he was struggling to process air, water, and food. At least by coming home with me, he didn't end up trampled.

On a happier note, the other two babies are doing great - except Lullaby has a "gunky", "squinty" eye that I've been cleaning out and putting an eyedrop in two or three times a day - but she's very active, eating and drinking (and pooping) lots, and, although she sleeps a little more than I like, when I check on them and wake her up, she runs around in a circle, peeps at me, then sits down and starts preening!

Any ideas of anything else I should be doing to ensure her "gunky" eye doesn't lead to a serious infection? Is Terramycin eye ointment safe to use on a duckling?
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Uno had gunky eyes for about a week. I know in my case it was humidity issues during hatching. She is very healthy with no eye problems now.
Thanks - that makes me feel much better. I've been flushing the eye (it's only the right eye) with plain saline eyedrops and wiping the "gunk" out. This morning, there was a tan crust in the corner of her eye that had some brown gooey gunk underneath, but the eye itself looks clear and normal.

I think they were hatching some chicks in the same incubators over the weekend - I hadn't even thought that it could have been a humidity issue!

EDIT: Whispering Winds - have you tried Craigslist? I found my very first trio of gals and these Mallards this year by posting a wanted ad on, because I didn't want to have to fulfill any minimum order requirements from a hatchery.
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I really should stop coming on here so much. I got into horses all on my own, had 2 cats, and a dog. Then I got informed about chickens, ordered 8. Now I want goats and ducks and sheep and all sorts of critturs!

So very sorry about your little duckling. At least he died happy.

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