Removing ducklings from hen question....

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Cape Cod Egghead, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. Cape Cod Egghead

    Cape Cod Egghead Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 17, 2010
    I've been searching the forum for previous posts on this, but didn't find any, so please excuse me if this is a repeat!! What happens to a mother duck when you take away her newly hatched ducklings? Does she just resume normal activity?
    I'm new to ducks, have 3 hens sitting on three nests mashed together, and there is a drake that I can sort of separate from them, but haven't had to yet as he is very mild. The broody buff ducks just hatched out 10 ducklings today, and they are still sitting on many more. (I hatched a dozen ducklings in a hovabator last month, and they are happily growing in their brooder.)
    It seems like it will be easier to just remove the ducklings, and safer for the ducklings, too. Just curious about the response of the hens, if anyone has done this before.
  2. Czech's_chicks

    Czech's_chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 24, 2011
    Vista, CA
    My question would be why? It's much easier to care for them if you let mom do all the work.

    If there are still eggs under the hen, she will continue to sit for about 48-72 hours after the last duckling hatches.

    I try to let my mom's do all the work, it's better then trying to figure out where to put them, get a heat source, and all the other troubles associated with keeping youngsters.

    Some hens will get really worked up when you take the ducklings from them, some adjust faster and their hormones balance out in a couple days and they get on with life.
  3. Cape Cod Egghead

    Cape Cod Egghead Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 17, 2010
    Thanks for the advice! I am used to raising flocks of chickens and have brooders already set up, thus the relative ease of brooding them. I'm thinking everyone will be into their grain and water, and it will be unsafe for them to free range or go outside their pen, plus having to separate the lone drake. Plus they can go through the wire of the duck pen, and we have a very active red tailed hawk population.
    Then again, they look really cute toddling around with their mom(s). If I knew how to put a pic up here, I would. [​IMG]
    Thanks again, I hope to figure this out in a way that makes the most sense, but also is best for the ducklings and hens.
  4. bwmichaud

    bwmichaud Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2010
    When I leave the ducklings with the mom, some of ducklings die. When I take them away from mom, they all live. It's more work and expense to keep them in a brooder but I haven't lost a duckling yet doing it this way. The mom will be sad for a couple of days but she'll get over it. It really sucks to go out in the morning and have to hunt for a duckling that got separated from mom just to find them dead in the grass.
  5. learycow

    learycow Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 1, 2011
    Southern Maine
    I had a muscovy hen that I took the ducklings away from. She was MAD for at least a week! She would chase the drake and other hens around the pen all day long. Then she would sit on her nest, and hiss when anyone went near her. Now she has calmed down. The babies are 2 weeks old now, and she's already started another nest. When I checked the other day, she had 2 eggs, so she probably has more by now.
    I think she got over the fact that I took them, and she's moved on. But now I think she wants to hatch more!
  6. showjumper_girl2002

    showjumper_girl2002 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2011
    Quote:same here. my dad's scovy hen hatched some ducklings and a lot of them died. i took the remaining 4 and they're doing great. mom didn't really seem to mind and started laying eggs again just a week later!
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    [​IMG] Mother ducks after ducklings are kidnapped. [​IMG]
  8. 1234duck

    1234duck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Let me tell ya... [​IMG] It was a complete nightmare trying to hi-jack the ducklings from the mom at 2 weeks old. She was VERY protective, hissing, quacking Super loud, charging at us while flapping her wings. There was three of us trying to get the babies & to top it all off, the babies were hella fast. So it was dodging the mom & diving for the babies. This was her 1st hatch ever & my 1st time trying to hi-jack ducklings. I swore I'd never do that again, except a few weeks later my Rouen hatched 12 (I was too late to hi-jack the eggs). Now she was worse/even more aggressive, trying to attack our legs. After we caught 6 of her babies(all 6 were for a friend) I waited till the rest were about 3 1/2 weeks old till I attempted that again. Both of the hen's were in search for their babies for the next couple of days after but they did get over it. ~Actually the hen's have a better hatch success than I do. lol The only down fall to having the hen's sit & hatch is trying to hi-jack the babies. }}And stupid ME...I just did it AGAIN, I was 1 Day late to get the eggs (Saturday)& now one of the hen's hatched 8. [​IMG] When the hen's do the hatching, they don't always go back & finish if there's more eggs (they figure they sat long enough) I finished for them with the incubator which lasted for 5 days. Good luck, ~Julie~
  9. Cape Cod Egghead

    Cape Cod Egghead Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 17, 2010
    Thanks for all the advice! I removed six ducklings by tricking the moms (there were 3 co-parenting, making it tough) into going out in the morning and trapping some of the ducklings in the hut, then taking them out the back doors [​IMG] Hens still had six, didn't seem to notice. The next morning all the ducklings got out with the moms, so I waited until evening and closed the moms IN the hut with the ducklings left outside (removed their ramp so they couldn't easily get in.) Taking the remaining 6 angered all the hen-ducks and they yelled for a while, but by then it was night and they went to sleep. In the morning they were looking around, but I think it worked out well - 1. NOT letting them see us take the ducklings, 2. Taking them incrementally (sort of) and 3. Taking the last of them at night. Then the power went out in the brooder barn, tons of extension cords from the goat barn and on and on it goes!!!
    Btw - this kind of shell game reminds me why it is so important to have LOTS and LOTS of DOORS on all the animal houses and pens!
  10. cat1994

    cat1994 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Southeast MO
    I’m glad everything worked out. I can’t imagine taking so many lil ducklings away from so many “mom” ducks! When I took away my lil white call duck hens 5 almost full grown ducklings it was crazy or should I say she was crazy!! She earned the nickname the “Snow Ball from Hell”! But after I got them away from her (sold them far away all right then and there) and moved her back to the normal duck house she was very quiet and seemed calm almost like she was sulking, but by the next day she was all back to normal noisy self.

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