Reintroducing a wild mallard back into the wild?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by friendofthebirds, May 8, 2011.

  1. friendofthebirds

    friendofthebirds New Egg

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    May 8, 2011
    I recently found a baby mallard trapped in a pond that went into a large sewer drain with no mother around. It had to have been born that day because it was tiny and weak. For two days it took no food (being bugs, greens, and anything else I read they could eat) or water, so I finally went to the store and got some duck feed and also bought two baby chicks in a final attempt to keep it alive. And it worked. So now I have a 1 week old mallard and two 1 week old chicks. Currently he is eating duck/chicken unmedicated starter feed and occasional superworms and earthworms. They are in a large plastic tub with a heat light and the duckling has almost doubled in size. I let him swim or spash in shallow water and let them roam outside for a few hours every day. I try not to handle him too much and he's still very skiddish of me.

    So here are my questions.....I would preferably like to release it back into the wild, but wanted to know if this is even possible or if anyone has had success releasing a single duckling? And if anyone knows how being raised with chickens might affect his ability to thrive in the wild? Also, Is there anything else I can do to strengthen his survival skills? Any other advice would be appreciated! Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. dumb_cluck

    dumb_cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you "release" him to the wild, he will die. He has not got the instinct to forage nor a parent to protect him.
     
  3. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure if anyone's who has raised a wild duckling has been successful in releasing them back into the wild because they will see people as a source of food. Also, they will have no idea about predator avoidance, something a wild mother duck would teach them.

    Is there any type of wildlife rescue agency nearby that can help? Or, is it possible that you can keep him? If you do, you might want to get another duck companion for him. Chickens are fine, but they really do like other ducks better.
     
  4. DuckLover9138

    DuckLover9138 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Let it forge. Eventually, it will stop eating your feed. Then, you can release it. It must be a strong duckling to survive without the mother's warmth for two days. It will be fine outside. Its May! Just bring it back in at night.
     
  5. Struttn1

    Struttn1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You will need to keep the duckling dry until it has become fully feathered since it has no mother to waterproof it's down until it's oil gland develops. It is pretty much impossible to tame any wild bird in my experience. Do not clip it's wings and do keep it in a predator proof pen until it can fly then turn it out and let the duck decide if it wants to stay or go. I raised a just hatching brood of wild mallards 2 years ago when a buddy of mine ran over the nest bushogging one of his fields and those birds never did tolerate people. We kept them safely penned until they had put out their flight feathers and had begun testing their wings. Then I had my son take them and release them onto a watershed pond at the edge of my property. They stayed on it until one by one they began flying and then they left.
     
  6. ducksinarow

    ducksinarow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2011
    Take the mallard to a wildlife rehab person that way it will be with others of its own kind. They can teach it to find food with other injured ducks. This baby is way too little to be on its own. They don't get fully feathered for about 2 months. It needs to be with other ducks to know it is a duck and not a chicken. You could also give it to someone who keeps ducks and has ducklings. It need protection from predators during its time out.
     
  7. DuckLover9138

    DuckLover9138 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If its a super wild duck, it will have very strong instinct to forge. Eventually, it will learn to fly and it will fly away. As long as its not illegal in your state, you don't have to turn it in. Some rescue groups are great, but just don't dump it on any rescue group. Make sure they are a good one, because animals probably die in those places as well. If you are raising it by yourself and you have a lamp that you can afford to keep it on 24/7 for the first 2 weeks, I think you will do a better job in keeping it alive. Even the best ones still have some fatality just because they are overwhelmed.
     
  8. mymacandstormy

    mymacandstormy New Egg

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    The duckling cannot survive in the wild, most mallard babies do not live anyway, Many mallard mothers are so tormented by males that they abandon hatched or unhatched babies, . It takes a super dedicated mom with strong instinct to stay with it. Your duckling at 8 weeks will fly and be totally helpless out there.. Even if you find a great pond with other mallards your duckling will not be able to deal with it and will (as one I reared for 8 weeks and repeatedly tried to place it in a great place) run for his life in fear. When he flies he might land on some interstate parkway or in someones backyard and promptly get crushed by cat or dog. A nature center might be best, with company and clipped wings, he will survive.
     
  9. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You're right about the males, especially the first couple of days after the mother leaves the nest with her new babies. I had one mom abandon her babies for over an hour or two trying to get away from the males. Fortunately, another broody female was nearby and watched over the babies until things settled down, which they did after a few days. That other female ended up taking half the brood to a safer place and her own male kept the other males at bay. But, it's really hard. The real mother of the babies ended up losing all the ones she was able to keep. Today, I saw another female being harassed, but she found a safe place to hide where those males couldn't go.
     
  10. DuckLover9138

    DuckLover9138 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No one is informing her to leave the duckling in the wild. I think the other side of the story is that when its old enough (a few month) it has a chance to live its own life. Even Rouens and Pekins can survive in the wild and they can't even fly, so lets not make it too scary. Give the person some choice. If they want to send it to the animal rescue, its fine as well. If they want to see it grow up, its fine as well. There are hundreds if not thousands of people who have saved wild ducklings per year. If everyone sent their ducklings to the animal rescue, I doubt many of them will survive. If they are really Mallards, they can easily fly away from cats. They are usually attacked when they are resting or sleeping or nesting. (They fly fast!) I think its important to give them the entire story. If you don't have the environment to raise it (too many animals around), you should probably turn it in. If you live in a city, I would also turn it in.
     

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