Rescued nine Mallard ducklings, now what?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by azhenhouse, May 24, 2012.

  1. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Songster

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    I got a phone call from a friend today needing help with a Mallard duck and her nine ducklings. They were wondering down her street heading straight for a four lane highway. The creek where she nested at has dried up, and she was moving her ducklings to a pond on the other side of a very busy road. My friend was able to get them turned around, and had the duck and ducklings cornered in a field. At nightfall the duck flew off leaving her ducklings behind. There were several cats around, and my son actually had to shew one away. I knew I couldn't leave the duckings behind for cat food, so I scooped them up and brought them home. Do you think the duck will be back tomorrow looking for them? How long will she look for them before giving up if she does come back? If she does come back what would be the best way to get her and the ducklings to the pond. If she doesn't return what should I do with the ducklings? I don't want to keep them. Would I be able to be a surrogate mom until they are old enough to be released? The ducklings are one to two days old, how old do they need to be to be released?
     
  2. Nsampsel

    Nsampsel Songster

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    They will be able to fly at about 8 weeks, but if you keep them they may or may not leave. Many times they will hang around where the free food is until mating season or beyond. If you don't have room for 9 ducks, I suggest you either call your local wildlife department or find someone else to care for them. 9 ducks eat a LOT!!! Also, it may be illegal to keep wild mallards in your area. Many states it is either illegal or requires a permit to raise non-domestically hatched Mallards.
     
  3. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Crowing

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    You can probably crate the ducklings up and look for the mom either in the area where she flew away or near where she nested. She may still be there, but after more than a day, she probably won't accept them. But, you will have to catch the mom in order to move them all together. Is there anyone with a wildlife rescue group who can help?

    We had a mama duck who did the same thing, trying to cross near a busy freeway and her ducklings fell down a grate. They got all the ducklings, but the mom flew off. At that time, it was getting dark, so they couldn't look for her. They managed to catch her near the same spot early the next day. We have a couple of private Wildlife Asssit and rescue groups in my area.

    Yes, it is illegal to keep wildlife of any kind without a rehabber's license, but I wouldn't sweat it too much when it comes to mallards, I would contact the DNR or Fish and Game if you can't find the mother. You may have to travel a little to take them to a license facility (hopefully not all the way to Phoenix) if that's what they suggest. Hopefully, they will be helpful.
     
  4. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Songster

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    That's what happened last night. It got too dark and she flew off. I am going back in just a few minutes with the ducklings to see if we can locate mom. My plan is to have her hear the babies, and try to lure her across the road. I will then release the babies and let her take them to the pond she was heading to.

    If I can't locate her I will bring the babies home, and figure out the next step from there. We don't have a rehab center hear, and Game and Fish wants nothing to do with them. I don't mind fostering them, as long as I know they can be released into the wild without problems. I don't want them to become dependent on humans and walking up to uncaring strangers at the parks and lakes. Know what I mean?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  5. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Songster

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    Well, went back this morning to see if we could find the Mallard but had no luck. Found the dried up pond she nested in, but no mom.

    Will have to figure out the next move. Thanks everyone.
     
  6. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Crowing

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    Oh, that's too bad. I think if you want them to stay wild, just limit how much time you spend with them and don't handle or talk to them too much. Others might have more input on this.
     
  7. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Songster

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    I talked with a lady at a rehab center in Phoenix, and according to her In 2 1/2 months I should able to release them at the lake. They won't be handle except to get them in and out of the pool. They need to have oil on them so they won't drown at the lake, and the only way they are going to swim now is in a rub. I am releived to know they can be released. I just felt bad for momma.
     
  8. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Crowing

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    That's good, I figured they could be released, but I was hoping they won't get imprinted. I would figure that Payson, which would be closer to you, would have some wildlife rehabbers, but I guess I'm wrong.
     
  9. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Songster

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    I found a rescue in Payson that I tried to contact but my email was undeliverable, and they didn't have a phone number listed.

    The rescue in Phoenix doesn't think that the ducklings will imprint on me, especially since they were with their mom for a few days. They behave like wild ducklings. They are very quiet, especially when you walk in the room where they are being kept. Once they see you they freeze. We avoid them except to feed, water, and clean out their bedding. Hopefully, this will help to keep them from bonding.
     
  10. cdnley

    cdnley Songster

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    We had a neighbor find a lone mallard duckling. She had it in her room, cuddled it etc. She fed it regular duck feed and let it free range at times. Then she brought it to me where I put it in with my flock. At this point he had almost full flight feathers. He followed the rest and hung about. When I would pen the others at night he would sometimes go in and sometimes not. Eventually in the fall he flew away. I think he came back for a visit this year.

    So the moral of the story is even though this duck was handled heavily he learned from the others how to behave like a duck and flew away. Wild animals have in bred instincts which stay with them no matter how much they are handled.

    Raise them with the freedom and intent to release them and they should be fine.
     

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