Pet Ducks Dumped in Neighborhood Pond, Help?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by SansDuck, Feb 13, 2019.

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  1. SansDuck

    SansDuck Chirping

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    Feb 13, 2019
    Alright, I feel as I should explain the sad story of these ducks and then get into my questions.

    I'm going to say straight away I'm sorry if I say anything wrong, this is my first time owning ducks.

    And warning there is a lot of reading ahead.

    A little backstory in the area I live;

    My home and a few other surrounding neighbors live by what you would call a small to medium runoff pond, it's been there ever snice we moved in.

    This is far from clean and its connected to a tube that floods rainwater into it, at one point someone must of added fish because as kids I remember we would catch these uglish brown fish.
    Later on I think someone added or abounded koi or goldfish into it as I would see long multicolored fish just coming to the surface occasionally.

    And of course any kid toys would come victim to the pond as well.

    Besides the fish, the pond would attract the occasional wildlife, like cranes, wild ducks and some larger birds I couldn't identify would pay a visit but never stay or nest up for the season.
    I always assume it was because this pond is literally surrounded by humans, pet dogs, stray cats and lawn mowers not the best place to raise children.

    Onto the duck tales;
    Sometime in late November, early December, three white ducks suddenly appeared in the pond.
    Snice I had no experience with ducks until now, me being native I assumed they where very pretty wild ducks.
    And so like many humans when they see a wild duck, the instinct to feed them was too great.

    We have them on a proper diet now, but in the first few days they got nothing but junk food but this was back when I assumed they where wild.
    After a day we notice two things about these 'wild' ducks, fist they didnt leave or attempt to fly at all.
    Second, they where not scared of humans one bit. They would chase down any neighbor including us that would step outside the home and quack non stop for food, one of the ducks were so comfortable with humans that they would eat out of your hand.

    Also note my SO originally kinda suspected something was up with these ducks but they where not to familiar with ducks either, as they raised chicken primarily growing up.

    One day we were in the front yard giving the ducks whatever food we had that day, when a truck pulls up.
    A man steps out and introduce himself, apparently he lives down the street behind the row of houses that face the pond, he gives a bit of explanation on the ducks origin story.

    According to him there was originally four ducks own by another man in town, I think he said they where a gift to his daughter?
    And I am very sorry if these pieces and details seem confusing but the guy wasnt exactly an open book either.

    The original owner told the guy that they love dog food (and gave him a big bag of it) and I'm not sure if they got any other food besides that?
    And the og owner also gave him a modify bookshelf for their shelter/duck coop, but the thing was so tiny a chicken wouldn't use it.

    And yes I did say four ducks, apparently the og owners dog attacked the fourth one and even after vet care the duck died.

    And besides the guy saying he thinks the last three are two girls, one boy that's all info we have on them.
    No age, no breed (99% sure they're pekins) no health status or history of vet check ups (excluding the fourth one that was attacked by the owners dog) not even a name to call them.

    Before the man left, he made a comment along the lines of "looks like you ducks found yourself a new home" ....um what?

    So weeks go on as normal, we bought quacker snacks and other offcial duck treats while our neighnour who lives directly across the pond provided poultry pellets.
    All the neighbors were happy to have them at the pond and after they got actual pellets they stopped chasing every person they saw.

    End of story right? Well unfortunately this story got a bit sadder.

    I had just woken up and realized it was late noon, my SO comes in and first thing out of they're mouth is "I have some bad news" and Im thinking a millions things that could of been wrong.
    When they finally told me "it's about the ducks" I knew it was not good.

    In the late night (after 3am) early morning before the sunrise, one of the ducks where attacked and killed in a pretty gruesome manner.
    If you dont want the details please scroll down past the break;
    ------------
    The ducks body was found in the early morning on a neibours yard, its head had been completely decapitated and besides feathers being plucked or ripped out, no other damage was done.
    If you have any knowledge on what could of done this, please leave your suggestion as we believe it might of been a great horned owl or raccoon possibly, we live in Missoursi if that helps.
    -------------

    Heartbroken and sobbing for most of the day, I knew I had to do something.

    Gaining two new pets and being overprotective;
    After that day we realized a few things, these ducks weren't just pets but very fragile pets.

    They had only been with us for less than two months and we had already lost one duck, in my history of owning animals I never lost one to such a tragic death and it shocked me.
    And the fact that the other two ducks just saw their heard get caught in half in the span of a year, made me feel terrible.

    And I know technically they weren't ours yet, but maybe it was how the guy made the comment and after that I felt a responsibility to these animals and already failing one was just heartbreaking in a way.

    After the incident, a few of the neighbors moved their duck bowl around the pond, thinking one side would be safer but it seem nothing was working out.

    I was determined not to let anything else happen to the ducks, my step father, SO, and myself went to work and built a pretty impressive (for a first time duck ark) in about a day.
    We made sure to make it big enough in case of a future duck family.
    But after the third ducks death we weren't even sure if we had two girls, two boys, or what.

    After all was done, my mom loved the ark so much she wanted it right in the front yard.
    We had originally plan to put it near the pond but we all love the idea of keeping them close to our home and, it does look pretty darling in front of the house.


    Now that we had the duck ark, we were pretty committed at that point and research anything we could about duck herding, care, free range ect and thought we were fully prepared for it. We were not.

    Duck herding (first night);

    They were resting by the side of pond near their food dish.
    We get on either side of them and start to herd them, we even grabbed long sticks on the way to make an extension to our arms and it was honestly working for a bit.
    We had got to a turn in the pond and that when they decided hell no.
    The stick might as well been not their because they wiggle out and where making there way to the pond. I manage to block their path, while my SO grabbed one and I grabbed the other one.

    It was my first time holding such a large bird and I have too admit I was scared of hurting them but the walk back to other side of pond took less then a minute and we were able to put them in their duck ark and check them over better.

    Once we saw them flap their wings and stretch their legs and waddle around we knew we hadn't hurt them.

    They're first night went great, and in the morning we let them out to enjoy the pond again, honestly snice the first night of catching them wasnt bad at all we thought we could do this every day right before sundown and let them out every morning, a nice free range plan we thought. Boy were we mistaken...

    Later that day, a hour before sunset we set out to grab the ducks and put them in their duck ark.
    The ducks where near the same location as the other day so we thought, no problem.
    We where fixing something on the ark and that's when I notice them staring at us from across the pond, and then suddenly they where in the pond..oh no

    We made our way over and oh boy did they give us the chase of our life, it took two hours, a pair of stick and one wrong move on the ducks part.

    One of them got confused and ran out of the pond and onto land where we were able to catch her safely.
    As we were bringing the one duck over to the ark, the one still swimming in the pond was just crying out and swimming frantically toward us.
    We had read online if we could catch one duck the other duck should follow but we weren't counting on it to work that easily.

    We finally got the one into the ark and was about to go for the other one, when he comes waddling across the yard at a good speed and right up to the duck ark. We help him in and was glad that the internet was right.

    That night we researched a lot and found out with new places, the ducks should be kept inside the new home for at least a week so they learn where it is and that's where food comes from.
    Makes perfect snece, just wish we had know before the great duck chase.

    In that week of duck jail we actually built them a decent size pen, with a swimming moat halfway around their house.

    The neigbour buying actually poultry pellets loved the duck ark, they gave us their bag of pellets and the nice rubber bowl they got at the feed store.
    The guy who brought them here, took away the orginal bookcase 'shelter' that honestly looked like a eyesore near the pond (and now that the food bowl isn't left out, less predators hopefully).

    He also came to our house and told us he would bring us food every month. (Hopefully by that he ment actual poultry food and not dog food)

    And that's basically the whole story of how we now own two ducks.


    Now that you pretty much have all info we have, I will go onto my questions. I will be posing pictures at the end;

    1) By picture alone, can you see anything wrong with the ducks heathly wise, like feathers, bill, feet? We think they are pretty healthy but I'm not an expert.

    2) can you tell the age? We're thinking they might be young, when they first arrived they all looked and sound the same. Now that they been here for a few months, one is loud and the other one has curly drake feathers.

    3) what are the genders? We are 99% positive that we have one male, one female. Besides the one having a loud quack with no curly feathers, the other one has curly feathers and a soft raspy quack.
    The fact that every time we bring them water, the duck with the soft quack will hop onto the others back, grabs their neck, tells me they are not celebrating over having clean water.
    And durning one these celebrations, its was very obvious the one on top had a penis.

    4) if they are dating, when should we expect eggs? They have done this celebration a number of times (almost everytime we bring fresh water) but we cant tell if they were successful? They both get really happy after the one on top falls off and after they will usually shake their tails or take a swim in their water dish lol.

    5) Also we recently put a fake egg in the ark, they moved it to the back and buried it some in the straw. Does that mean anything? We didnt think putting a egg in there would do anything but it almost seems like they adopted it?

    6a) this is a three part question. Now that they have a nice house(with straw and cedar bedding), plenty of food, treats including bugs and a good size pen and a moat. Should we eventually allow them to go to the pond durning the day or is it encouraging them to stay in the pond the whole night? Would they learn to come home at night on their own? Or is this just asking for trouble?

    (Also again I want to clarify, this pond does not get clean and people have fish in it including us in the past.)
    Also the ducks would have to cross the street to get to the pond each day, it's not that big of a concern considering we are the last house on a dead end street but accident can still happen.

    6b) Would I need to worry about snaped fishing lines or hooks that have fallen off into the water hurting them?

    6c) opinions on keeping ducks in a backyard with pool/pen vs free range at day and coop at night.

    And reading about ducks and bacteria from a pond doesnt make me feel safe letting them take a dip either.

    7) after a major event or even maturing, do ducks personalities change?
    When they first arrived, they were all friendly. Right before the death of the third duck all of them kinda become spooked and weary of humans.
    And after the death, they would run away from people if approached to closely.

    8)Could a human or something that resembles it killed the third duck and now they're scared of humans? I know we have young kids and teens that hang around the pond occasionally.

    9) like mentioned we are pretty sure they are pekins, but we could be wrong too. They dont fly but the one that appears female knows how to jump quite high off the ground. Can anyone tell from the provided pictures that they are 100% pekin?

    10) what are the most important things i should know as a new duck owner? Suggestions, tips, tricks, and other helpful information you cant easily find online would be greatly appreciated.


    If you have taken the time to read this, I want to personally thank you for taking time out of your day to see if you could help a fellow duck owner in need of help. I very much appreciate it, as I'm trying to do the best for the care of these ducks.

    And finally pictures;
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Texag87

    Texag87 Crowing

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    Not an expert but my guess is the lighter bill one is only part Pekin . It will take effort, but you can let them out in the morning and give them feed and treats in the evening when they get back to their house. I would suggest keeping them penned but spoiled with treats for a few days before trying to herd them back and forth. In time they will associate the house with treats and get into a routine of coming back home in the evening . Patience is everything. When you are driving them back home, walk slow, be calm, and do not be in a hurry.
     
  3. WunnySharbit

    WunnySharbit Chirping

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    @Miss Lydia can you help?

    It sounds like the 3rd was killed by a raccoon: They take the head, pluck the breast/thigh. and, usually, eat the breast, thigh, crop, and/or innards.
     
    townchicks, fldiver97, Raenh and 5 others like this.
  4. cppeace

    cppeace Crowing

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    Ducks are hard to sex by sight for most breeds. The easiest way to sex them is by their quack. Females are loud and males are raspy whisper quackers. The predator could be pretty much anything from dog to fox. Domestic ducks are heavy and can't fly well so fall prey to things fairly easy.
    I would pin them up, at least at night.
    Good luck.
     
  5. ButtonquailGirl14

    ButtonquailGirl14 Crossing the Road

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    So nice of you to do this!
     
  6. WunnySharbit

    WunnySharbit Chirping

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    Oh-and hens will "bury" their nests!
     
  7. Cayuga momma

    Cayuga momma ♡I'm not crazy, I'm just special♡

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    1) By picture alone, can you see anything wrong with the ducks heathly wise, like feathers, bill, feet? We think they are pretty healthy but I'm not an expert.
    They look perfectly healthy to me.

    2) can you tell the age? We're thinking they might be young, when they first arrived they all looked and sound the same. Now that they been here for a few months, one is loud and the other one has curly drake feathers.

    Not sure on the age, but I agree they look young.

    3) what are the genders? We are 99% positive that we have one male, one female. Besides the one having a loud quack with no curly feathers, the other one has curly feathers and a soft raspy quack.
    The fact that every time we bring them water, the duck with the soft quack will hop onto the others back, grabs their neck, tells me they are not celebrating over having clean water.
    And durning one these celebrations, its was very obvious the one on top had a penis.

    It sounds like you have a drake and a hen.

    4) if they are dating, when should we expect eggs? They have done this celebration a number of times (almost everytime we bring fresh water) but we cant tell if they were successful? They both get really happy after the one on top falls off and after they will usually shake their tails or take a swim in their water dish lol.

    If they buried the fake egg you put in there you could already have eggs hidden. I would check. If not they will usually start to lay once you have 12 hours or more of daylight. The trauma of the other duck being attacked could keep your female from laying for awhile though.

    5) Also we recently put a fake egg in the ark, they moved it to the back and buried it some in the straw. Does that mean anything? We didnt think putting a egg in there would do anything but it almost seems like they adopted it?

    They like to hide their eggs.

    6a) this is a three part question. Now that they have a nice house(with straw and cedar bedding), plenty of food, treats including bugs and a good size pen and a moat. Should we eventually allow them to go to the pond durning the day or is it encouraging them to stay in the pond the whole night? Would they learn to come home at night on their own? Or is this just asking for trouble?

    First off get rid of the cedar bedding. Use pine or aspen. Cedar can cause respiratory issues.
    Personally I would keep them in their ark for a few months atleast. They sound happy and healthy. You could give them a day or two a week of pond time.
    I would keep them off the pond during winter months, since predators will be looking for an easy meal.


    (Also again I want to clarify, this pond does not get clean and people have fish in it including us in the past.)
    Also the ducks would have to cross the street to get to the pond each day, it's not that big of a concern considering we are the last house on a dead end street but accident can still happen.

    6b) Would I need to worry about snaped fishing lines or hooks that have fallen off into the water hurting them?

    The ducks will be at the mercy of anything neighbors have dumped in there.

    6c) opinions on keeping ducks in a backyard with pool/pen vs free range at day and coop at night.

    Personally I would keep them in their pool/pen area.

    And reading about ducks and bacteria from a pond doesnt make me feel safe letting them take a dip either.

    7) after a major event or even maturing, do ducks personalities change?
    When they first arrived, they were all friendly. Right before the death of the third duck all of them kinda become spooked and weary of humans.
    And after the death, they would run away from people if approached to closely.

    A trauma like that will definitely have them scared for awhile. With mating season coming up your drake might become more aggressive. Keep an eye on them to make sure he is not overmating your female.

    8)Could a human or something that resembles it killed the third duck and now they're scared of humans? I know we have young kids and teens that hang around the pond occasionally.

    Unless you have a budding serial killer around I suspect it was a raccoon.

    9) like mentioned we are pretty sure they are pekins, but we could be wrong too. They dont fly but the one that appears female knows how to jump quite high off the ground. Can anyone tell from the provided pictures that they are 100% pekin?

    They could be Pekins or white egg layers. I can't really tell the difference between the two breeds.

    10) what are the most important things i should know as a new duck owner? Suggestions, tips, tricks, and other helpful information you cant easily find online would be greatly appreciated.[/QUOTE]

    If you want them to become friendlier with you, you can sit with them for some time each day and quietly talk to them. You can also feed them treats from your hand. (Alot of ducks like mealworms, but mine like tomatoes better.)
    Dog food is bad for anything, but dogs. I have given mine cat food during molting, but not alot.
    They need water that is deep enough for them to get their nares (nostrils) in.
     
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    You say you have built a pen around the ark? That would be awesome then they can stay in it along with the ark for protection from predators even domestic dogs are a big threat. Not even bringing in the wild predators. Just always put them up at night because predators can climb fencing, dig under fencing.

    What you have done is such a wonderful thing, You have truly blessed us with your story and rescue of the 2 ducks that are left. They are precious too. What are their names?
     
  9. 1goose2ducks

    1goose2ducks Songster

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    Yes names are the fun part also all my ducks and geese know their name(makes training easier);)
     
  10. m1chelle1

    m1chelle1 Songster

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    Good for you. I hope you get plenty of responses from our plentyful duck expert population here on BYC. Unfortunately i only have chickens, so i dont know much about ducks. But i do live directly next to one of the only overflow ponds in my area and i can relate to this, as i am nervous that ill wake up and find someone dumping ducks in our pond too! I hope it never happens!:old

    Good Luck!!:thumbsup
     

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