Runaway Mallard

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DerpyHooves, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. DerpyHooves

    DerpyHooves New Egg

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    Mar 6, 2013
    Hi,

    Yesterday my female mallard duck, Karla, flew off. We went out looking for her but we haven't been able to find her anywhere. She's pretty aggressive (All animals she's come up against have fled [​IMG]) so I have no doubts that she's still alive, but I was wondering if it's normal for a duck to leave around this time in order to breed?

    We found her (Or rather our cat did) wandering around our drive-way when she was max. 3 days old, and we've brought her up. Obviously she had no other ducks around her, so could that be the reason she took off?

    There's also two ponds near us, so I keep running down to both to check if she's there...with no luck...[​IMG].

    We've rung her so we'll report her missing later today if she doesn't come back, but what are the chances of her coming back?

    Should I just leave food out for her until she does come back. Having her has attracted many other critters (Squirrels and many types of birds) so would it be wise to leave the food out?

    She has flown off before, but just over the fence and she can get quite freaked out resulting in her sitting where she landed and not moving. I'm pretty worried that that may have happened...so success stories would sure be a comfort right now [​IMG]!

    I'm just hoping that she comes back [​IMG]

    XXX
     
  2. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hello,
    mallards tend to fly away when they get the chance. They are visitants which means that they do not always stay at the same place but tend to visit different waterbodies in the area they live in. People have created breeds that are able to fly but tend to stay where they have been hatched, a habit that is not usual for wild mallards.
    Your duck just might have felt the urge to look for a new habitat and maybe to find a partner, ducks don't like to be alone and should always be kept with a mate. Your duck might come back for a visit though because she knows that you offer food. She might decide to breed in your backyard or near it, but she might also settle for somewhere else.
    I really don't want to scare you, but being aggressive is not a guaranty for a duck to survive out there. Fox, coon, hawk and co. are stronger and the less inclined to flee the prey is, the better for them. But usually mallards have the instincts not to try their luck in a fight with a predator and seek distance.

    Good luck for you and your duck, there is a chance that you will see her again [​IMG]
     
  3. DerpyHooves

    DerpyHooves New Egg

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    Mar 6, 2013
    Thanks! I feel calmer now. Luckily I live in London so I only have to worry about foxes!

    To be honest we did want her to fly away so that she could be with other ducks, but now that she has I've just been having a lot of 'What if..' moments.

    I'll keep checking though just to see if she's returned and will keep her pen open with food in it.

    I'll also keep checking the ponds to see if she's there and if she's coping being around other ducks. It's weird to not know where she is or what she's doing [​IMG]...I think I'm an overprotective parent..[​IMG]...If she comes back with a hubby though I won't be complaining :3

    XXX
     
  4. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good to read that I could help you [​IMG]

    I personally think it is thoughtful of you to let her go. She came from the wild and it's only reasonable to let her return. Additional, in some countries it is illegal to keep birds longer than necessary. I don't know in which London you live and how the situation is in your country, though.

    She might indeed come back with a mate, but for now she needs to settle somewhere and get into contact with other mallards. She is equipped with everything she needs so survive on her own, ducks do not need an adivsor who shows them what animals are dangerous or where to rest to be safe from them.
     
  5. fowl farm

    fowl farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 9, 2012
    If she's tame and relies on you for food, letting her go might be risky. I'd keep looking for her and, if you find her, keep a close eye to make sure she's adjusting. She'll probably be able to forage and such with no problem, but if she has no fear of humans or other animals, that could end badly.
    Thinking out loud here; ducks are social, which might explain her flying off, but if she's the only duck you have she would have seen you as her 'flock', especially if she was only 3 days old when you found her. Did she follow you around a lot?
    I've heard lots stories where they leave because of a predator in the yard and come back in a day or two so hopefully she's alright.
    I never had any trouble with my Mallards leaving though I know people worry about it a lot.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  6. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    My ducks never trust nor approach every human being, just those they are used to.
    The mallard may not be so full of distrust as a wild one, but nowadys many "wild" ducks show a tame behaviour towards people. And even imprinted ducks appear to be able to integrate into a flock, at least you can read that frequently.
    Mallards have a full set of functioning instincts - it is proven that they just know what a fox looks like and that it means a threat and foraging comes automatically - my ducks do it frequently even with enough food around.
     
  7. fowl farm

    fowl farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ducks loved to forage. But they still got very, very pushy if they didn't get their morning and noon meals. And whereas DerpyHooves' duck may not trust every human she meets (highly unlikely), she'll be more inclined to hang around homes or come to people for food. May not happen, and even it does there might not be any consequences. But releasing a duck into the wild is never a good idea if you've raised it closely around humans. I know that people do it a lot, and often with success, but it isn't a good idea for obvious reasons, like those tame ducks becoming parents and teaching their ducklings not to fear humans.
    DerpyHooves, I don't want you to feel like I'm chewing you out. I don't know how you raised your duck or anything. I know tame ducks can live in the wild. I took on Mallards completely aware that they could migrate and never come back, so I was taking the risk of them becoming "wild". But I don't think people should raise ducklings to release unless they plan to teach the duck how to survive (making it catch most of it's food, minimal human contact, etc.)
    And Frank, I know ducks have a fear of foxes and such, but if the duck has learned that cats and dogs flee before it, what's to stop it from trying again with other dogs and cats? I'm not saying she will (I like to thing ducks are smarter than that, especially Mallards :), but it's always a possibility.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2013
  8. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    fowl farm, I agree with you that it is risky for the duck, I stated this in my first post that it may be risky for a duck to be aggressive towards other animals. I merely wanted to say that the mallard can be fine on its own but there is always a risk left. On the other hand, many young ducks don't live past their first year. Sounds cruel, but that's how it is.
    And the other option, keeping it without a mate is unnatural and also not desireable. In my opinion it would have been best to look for a fitting mate and raise it without too much human contact, but since this has not happened you got to work with what you got.
    I mean no offense, DerpyHooves, I just try be realistic.
     
  9. DerpyHooves

    DerpyHooves New Egg

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    Mar 6, 2013
    No offence taken from either of you. When we found her we were calling up loads of places asking what we should do and if we should drop her off at a nature reserve. This one man said that she was probably just gonna die anyway, so we shouldn't bother...which was quite cruel if you ask me, most people said that we should just keep looking after her and let her out into the garden before she starts flying (with supervision) and then when she can fly...she'll leave...which she didn't do until recently. Normally we'd let her out every day and she'd wander around the garden finding food and she was very independant. The only person in the house who could pick her up was me and even then she'd run a bit so I wouldn't say she was overly tame, but I think she did think of us as her family.

    The day she flew off she had seen a flock of geese over head..and after that she started to get very quacky then after about an hour she took off herself. So I'm guessing she decided it was time for her to go. I don't think that she would have been fleeing from foxes as they tend to stay away from our house as our cats are very territorial and will fight them on sight.

    When we found her I did read into raising mallards and I did see that you should never have one by itself, but we didn't even know if she would stay alive so getting a second one was out of the question. In fact we were so doubtful that we would go into the bathroom (where we kept her) every morning and brace ourselves for disappointment. But we seemed to have done things right.

    Anyway the good news is is that I think I spotted her in the local park with a whole other bunch of ducks! I'm soooo happy for her [​IMG]! It looked and sounded just like her, and I think she acknowledged me as she stopped quacking when she saw me and carried on looking at me. She definately was content 'cause she didn't want to follow me. I do miss her snuggles though...[​IMG]

    XXX
     
  10. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    That sounds great [​IMG] Glad to read that your duck is well.

    I understand that you would not want to buy more ducklings when there was still the risk to lose the first one. And yes, cruel indeed to tell a concerned rescuer to let the little one die because it might anyway.
    Sounds like your duck just heard the call of the wild when she took off. So if the duck settles with her conspecifics and does not approach humands too readily she has a good chance in the wild.
     

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