this july 7 I got ducks for the first time.....mostly for eggs. i've never even had chickens before. We got 3 cayugas that were 4 months old, (now 7-8)and a cayuga/runner cross that was about 7 months old (now 11).....all females. We have a large garden / vineyard area that has an 8 foot deer fence around it which i thought would be perfect for a few ducks. I built a 5'x8'x4' shelter....and am currently using pine wood chips on the ground where the ducks go at night....they are really easy to get in their shelter now. i put a light on a timer in there, which is on a few hours before sunrise, and a few hour after sunset...giving them 17 hours of light total. I also filled an old kiddie pool for them. i feed them pellets and cracked corn, and occasionally some veggie /fruit scraps. I offer oyster shell/baked and crumbled egg shell as well. they free range for bugs and plants during the day. I should also say that we live in southern B.C. Canada, and it has started to drop below freezing at night. The cross layed her first egg sept 24, and has layed almost every day since. the cayugas have yet to lay. On sept 30, we got four more ducks. we got a runner duck and a runner drake.....both about 7 months old at the time (now 8) and 2 baby cayugas about 1 month old (now 2). The new runner duck started to lay within a couple of days, and now lays every second day or so. At least i suspect its the cross and the runner that are laying, as the eggs are an off white or a slightly greenish color...not blackish like i suspect a cayuga egg is supposed to be. All i know for sure is I get 1-2 eggs a day for the last month. I would like my cayugas to start laying....but suspect they won't until the spring. this is not my biggest problem though. My cross seems to be the boss of the flock. they tend to follow her, and she is the oldest and biggest of them. the cayugas that i got the same time as her seem to be her posse. the runners, although following the flock, keep back a bit. they don't seem to be either accepted or rejected by my original birds. I have never seen the drake mate, although my gf said she saw them have a good time in the pool a couple of days after we got him. My problem is all the ducks, starting with my cross, are picking on the baby cayugas. At first i wasn't concerned, pecking order and all of that...but then i could see the babies were starting to go bald on their back. Not knowing much, I convinced myself that this is how molting worked......but i think that the feather pulling/pecking has gone well beyond molting now. the babies were getting balder on their back everyday....but it seemed to be worse at night while in the coop.....so I put a portable, wire, dog crate in the coop to seperate the babies, but still allow them to get used to each other. 2 weeks ago, we found the smallest baby dead in the coop. For whatever reason, she had tried to get out of the dog crate. she got her head and wings through the wire bars, and got stuck there. it appears the other ducks pecked her to death as most of her feathers were missing. I really feel sorry for the remaining baby as the babies used to be inseperable, and now all the ducks are picking on her exclusively. I have a friend who raises chickens, and she said its just part of nature, and she will start to stand up for herself as she gets bigger....and i have witnessed this on occaision., I don't want to completely seperate the baby from the flock...as i've read ducks are very social. for some reason the baby also perfers the company of her tormentors than she does me. also I don't much want to build a seperate shelter for the one duck. the ducks would have to all stay in the area they are in now, as i have a large dog that would likely eat them if he could. He owns the yard, but can't get in or even see in where the ducks are now and they leave each other alone. My girlfriend will not allow me to bring the duck in the house, and my garage is not a suitable place. my current solution is to leave the dog crate inside the coop, with the door of the crate open. this allows the baby some protection, but it is not perfect. I have witnessed the adults peck her while she just tries to find a safe place to lay down and not get picked on. they can reach their heads through the bars of the dog crate. ok, so sorry about the very long post....i just wanted to say everything so i wouldn't be asked questions later.....but what would you suggest? The baby is getting bigger, and i would think this behavior will stop when she gets big enough....but its getting quite chilly here at night and now i'm concerned about her being cold. I don't want her by herself, and i'm concerned if i bring her in the house against my girlfriends wishes.....or show the baby some other special treatment, she will never incorporate herself into the flock. i'm going to move the dog crate directly under the light, so at least she has some warmth while the light is on.....and i'm going to look into getting a heat lamp for the other 7 hours. thankyou for reading this....Dale.