Raising one orphaned Indian Runner

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by MisaF, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. MisaF

    MisaF Chirping

    48
    67
    69
    Jul 25, 2018
    Montgomery, NY
    Hi all, I'm new to chickens (just moved in January and started our flock in April with 8 buff orpingtons, two of which ended up being roosters (which was NOT what we ordered but we love the anyway).
    A friend/neighbor stopped by on their way off on vacation on Tuesday with an only hours old Indian Runner duckling. Just one. Mama wanted nothing to do with it and the rest of the ducks were not too thrilled with it. So, it's here with me in the house inside the brooder we set up for our chicks months ago.
    I have zero duckling experience but this little one is already way different than our chicks. Because he/she is all alone he is super dependent on us being with him. We either carry him around or have to literally sit next to the brooder or he peeps his little head off and throws himself at the sides of the brooder trying to get out to find us. It's heartbreaking. Is this normal for a single duckling? I'm guessing because he has no siblings to find comfort with we are the only form of comfort he/she knows.
    We have a stuffed animal in with him and now when he is out I keep the stuffed animal with him so he can start to associated it with comfort and thus has something to turn to when we can't be with him/her. We also gave him a shirt that smells like us with the hopes that would help. Still, the poor thing is really panicky when alone. The only time we really leave him//her alone for any length of time is at night when we go to bed.
    Does any one have any experience with raising a single duckling? Is leaving him/her alone OK or does it really cause anguish? Are we making the situation worse by trying to have it with us as much as possible? Any ideas for how to help the poor thing feel safe on it's own? I've looked for someone with a duckling that might need company and can't find anyone as it's a weird time for babies here in NY state. Desperate to do the right thing but also going nuts having a duckling with me from 6:00 am until 11:00 pm. :) I work from home but a duckling is a little hard to explain on my video calls! :) THANK YOU for any advice you can give.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. shawluvsbirds

    shawluvsbirds "FAKE EILLEEN"

    12,760
    56,283
    1,202
    Apr 17, 2017
    Missouri
    Try giving it a little mirror. I recently raised a single one and it enjoyed looking at himself in a mirror. When it was old enough to be off the heat lamp I would put it outside in a pen where it could see other ducks. At night it came back inside to the brood r with its mirror and a stuffed sock. It's fully integrated with the big ducks now.
    If your going to keep it definitely keep looking for some friends for it, it will eventually need some flock mates to be happy. :)
     
    sylviethecochin likes this.
  3. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    4,493
    9,025
    621
    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    Welcome to BYC. My tractor supply still has ducklings, as does my rural king. Have you checked either of those places?
     
    shawluvsbirds likes this.
  4. MisaF

    MisaF Chirping

    48
    67
    69
    Jul 25, 2018
    Montgomery, NY
    Thank you!! Do you know if a duck can live with chickens and see them as his/her flock mates? We would love to keep him/her if that is possible but we may also be able to find a home with other ducks if that would be better. Not sure I want to add too many ducks to the mix. :) We just got our chickens and I worry about taking on too much too quickly. :)
     
  5. MisaF

    MisaF Chirping

    48
    67
    69
    Jul 25, 2018
    Montgomery, NY
    I'm in NY state so our baby season is much earlier. All the stores around here were out of chicks and ducklings in May. Also, there is a rule in NY state that you cannot buy one chick or duckling. You need to purchase at least six at a time. I really not ready for seven ducks!
     
  6. shawluvsbirds

    shawluvsbirds "FAKE EILLEEN"

    12,760
    56,283
    1,202
    Apr 17, 2017
    Missouri
    Well a lot of people keep them together with some level of success.
    There are a few things to consider. If your duckling turns out to be a drake it could seriously harm your hens trying to mate them.
    Ducks make a mess with water. They can't survive with only shallow chicken waterers or nipple waterer.. They need to be able to dunk their entire heads to clean their eyes and snares. So you'll have to plan for that. Also you would want to look into buying an all flock type feed. Sometimes regular layer feed doesn't have enough in it for a ducks dietary needs.
    It is possible. . but I think it would be a challenge. Your duck would be a lot happier with duck friends in my opinion. :)
     
  7. MisaF

    MisaF Chirping

    48
    67
    69
    Jul 25, 2018
    Montgomery, NY
    Thank you! I have read about the males being a problem with the hens. I have two roosters who are going to be exiled into their own coop in the coming weeks so we may have an all boy flock that would work better. How old are they before you can get any idea of the sex? I know I wasn't 100% sure with my roos until they started to crow. Now everyone knows they are roosters! :)

    I really appreciate your feedback and I have to say I am already leaning towards raising this little one and then looking for a flock of ducks for him/her. Do domestic ducks accept new adult ducks into their flock or is something that might not work? I don't want to put him/her in a situation where they will get picked on for being the new kid. Never thought about all this stuff in so much detail. Just want to do the right thing for this little one.
     
    shawluvsbirds likes this.
  8. MisaF

    MisaF Chirping

    48
    67
    69
    Jul 25, 2018
    Montgomery, NY
    Just put in a small mirror and the peeping when I left the room has finally calmed down! Just in time for me to get on a video call for work! You are my hero!
     
  9. shawluvsbirds

    shawluvsbirds "FAKE EILLEEN"

    12,760
    56,283
    1,202
    Apr 17, 2017
    Missouri
    They do, but it doesn't always go smoothly right off the bat. Sometimes you have to keep them separated for a while where they can see and not touch each other until they get used to one another.

    Sweet! Glad it worked for ya. 20180626_210325.jpg here was my sock baby :gig
     
    Jpat and Miss Lydia like this.
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Runners are so dependent on their flock I am not sure one would bond well to chickens..

    My Runners are much more into each other being together than my Muscovy's. I'd try to find someone who has ducklings so this little one can bond with it's own kind.
     
    Abraeri, CrystaBub and shawluvsbirds like this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: