One Duckling WAAAY Smaller Than the Rest...?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Lynn, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. Lynn

    Lynn Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 9, 2008
    I have another Muscovy question about ducklings. About a month ago, one of our females hatched out 15 ducklings. At first, they all looked fairly similar in size, but as they have been growing, about four seemed substantially smaller, then two of them caught up, so now only two look smaller. One is somewhat distinct, and the other one is WAAAAY smaller. About half or even a third the size of the rest!

    Over the last week, all the others have been getting their yellow fluff replaced with real feathers, yellow turning white, etc., by leaps and bounds. But this one is still all yellow fluff. It seems healthy, and even feisty--is always the one in the lead or off wandering around on its own.

    Is this common, to have such a runt? Could it just be that it was the last one to hatch, and so is the youngest? I've tried to find out how long it takes for all the eggs to hatch, because if they hatch over a period of say, a week, it could be the answer. One week of development is pretty significant. But from what little I can find, it looks more like they hatch over a couple of days at the most. Not enough to explain it, I don't think. The mama made her nest out on the side of our cliff, so we didn't get to see them hatch, and don't know how long it took. Just know that she sat for several weeks, then one day paraded a bunch of ducklings up our driveway!

    I have never seen a wild duck in the area, and our ducks stay pretty close to the house and coop, occasionally flying over to the neighbor's roof or down to the stream. We have another neighbor with a large pond, and they've never been over there nor have there ever been stray ducks in his pond, either... (I'm just wondering if a wild duck might have left a memento, but it just doesn't seem likely).

    I have taken pictures to show the difference (I'm really not exaggerating!), but don't know how to post them...

    Anyone else have this experience? Any thoughts? Is it common? I'm just really curious, more than concerned!

    Thanks!

    Lynn
     
  2. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Michigan
  3. EllyMae

    EllyMae Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a 'runt' in the three of australian bantams that hatched. It is the spitfire of the whole group, lol. I have a bantam cochin hen that is brooding the three so I'm wondering...when will they discover they are ducks and when will SHE discover "them ain't chicks", lol.
     
  4. Lynn

    Lynn Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 9, 2008
    Thanks, Guitartist for the link! I'm posting a few photos at the bottom. The difference in size is really amazing.

    Wonder why the runt is always the spitfire, EllyMae? Maybe it's sort of like the Napolean complex in people lol. Whatever it is, this one has the heart of a lion! ...If she's just a late baby, I wonder if she will ever catch up and look the same as the rest... as I said, she hasn't even started getting feathers, yet, and many of the others have tail feathers and nearly no yellow left. Each day shows a huge difference at this stage... (I'm saying "she" but it could be a "he" for all I know... that would be even funnier)!

    The second photo is slightly exaggerated, since the larger duckling is a little more in the foreground, and the little one is farther away, so looks even smaller... but still!)

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    Lynn
     
  5. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

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    Dec 16, 2008
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    i think it is a mystery duck very cute! and much smaller maybe its just a dwarf duck does that happen?
     
  6. Shanay235

    Shanay235 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 14, 2008
    WV
    I've been raising ducks for 7-8 years now and have seen this a few times. The "runt" duckling is usually just a late bloomer. They tend to stay on the smaller side throughout their lives but otherwise normal.
     
  7. Mikhail

    Mikhail Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 13, 2008
    I had a runt hatch out once. She was so much smaller than her sibling, at least 3x smaller. But she must've had a growth spurt or something at some point because she's not that much smaller than the average adult female Pekin now.
     

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