Serial ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by StBob, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. My Pekin Wendi's first brood of 5 she brooded herself but I took them inside and raised them. When they were about 4 weeks old she started laying again but they were separated and she didn't recognise them as hers anyway. At 2 months I found them a new home and a week later her only surviving duckling, Singlet, hatched. I've let her raise Singlet herself and they seem fine, especially as it's Summer here in Australia.

    Wendi started laying eggs again when Singlet was only 2 1/2 weeks old. So if she goes like last time she will start brooding when Singlet is 4 weeks old. SInglet is pretty big and independent but still follows her mama everywhere and her papa Bob, who also follows Wendi, occasionally attacks her though she has learned to keep away. Bob actually killed one of the previous ducklings though it was pretty sick as well.

    So my question is what will happen when mama duck starts to seriously brood? Will she reject Singlet ad try and drive her away? Is this normal for Pekin ducks? Will be three broods in her first season.

    Photo: Bob, Wendi & Singlet (2 days old)

  2. Twistedfeather

    Twistedfeather Songster

    Feb 23, 2014
    Bob probably killed the duckling because it was weak, most birds adult and young will try to get rid of the sick and weak because chances are they aren't going to last anyways. Are you worried that Bob or Wendi is going to go after your duckling? Then maybe it's best that you can separate them for a little bit until Singlet get's big enough you don't have to worry anymore.
  3. thanks for replying. Actually Bob attacked all the previous ducklings when given the chance. The one he killed, Pingu, had stopped growing when he was 1 week old and he died at about 6 weeks by which time his 4 brothers and sisters were fully fledged and he was still tiny and covered in down. He had started to be a little sluggish and had trouble keeping up with the others. I suspect he wouldn't have lasted long anyway. Bob attacked him and knocked him out but he got up after a while and was walking around but I found him dead the next morning. Survival of the fittest and all that.

    When Bob attacks Singlet he usually grabs her by the back of the neck like he does when trying to mount Wendi. Yikes - she was only like 2 weeks old! I even saw him try and mount Singlet in the pond once and held her neck and pushed her under as drakes do with adult ducks. Obviously only has one thing on his mind! I thought of isolating him for a while but at the moment they are a family unit and he doesn't attack her as much as the previous ducklings who he didn't know were his. Singlet is pretty good at avoiding his bill and staying on the far side of mama. Which is why I was asking about what her relationship with mama will be like once Wendi starts brooding again in about a week. I could isolate Singlet till she is older but as an only duckling seems a bit cruel. There were 4/5 ducklings previously and they were thick as thieves and would cry out if temporarily parted. Fortunately I found a nice family on a farm who took all 4.

    Photo: Pingu and his clutch sister Star at 3 weeks. Pingu never got any bigger.

  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Sounds like your drake is too amorous for his own good, once your mama duck goes broody again your lil young one will be at the mercy of your drake who may mate her before she is ready, I'd separate him to his own space till the young one is old enough to mate 5 months old , you can keep them where all can see each other but if he is that bad now he will be relentless when mama starts to brood. It is important we keep our girls safe from over hormone driven drakes. I would also advise you keep dad separated from new ducklings till they are at least 4-5 weeks old so they don't have to be put through attacks on a daily basis. many times drakes have to be separated from their girls to give the girls some time out from mating, Your drake needs more ducks to keep him from over abusing one or 2.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015
  5. thanks Miss Lydia for your advice. I notice mama duck has laid 5 eggs now in the Quack House and this morning was in there trying to collect the straw I had thrown out after the last hatch, so I am guessing she plans to brood them. I had better put in some new straw so it doesn't look like she can't afford a new bed! I was looking for her duckling Singlet and then saw she was in the Quack House sitting on the eggs! Amazing. I wonder how much of their brooding is instinct and how much they learn? I had read that Pekins are not good brooders but Wendi, the mama duck, is an excellent brooder and this will be her third clutch since October, in her first season.

    Poor Bob, he certainly does his job and looks magnificent (Black Cayuga). He follows Wendi around like an adoring beau. There is also a lot of mutual head bobbing going on before mating, which she often instigates. I've only seen him try to aggressively mate with her a couple of times. Usually when he finishes he gets out of the pond with his weeny still hanging down and flapping his wings, does a victory lap around the yard! Typical boy. I know one has to resist anthropomorphizing but he probably isn't the worst drake around.

    I think I will keep Singlet (I think she's a girl) and will find Bob a new home as my backyard, divided into three sections, isn't really big enough and there is only 1 small pond.

  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Oh gosh I hate you have to give him up he sounds gorgeous, I love Cayugas. You know the plastic poultry fencing well that works good to do some temp separating. I know you have to do whats best for you and your flock, I just hope you can find Bob a good home, sometimes drakes don't place well. What happens to any new ducklings mama hatches? I don't think Bob is the worst drake around he is just acting like a drake does but when there is only 1 adult female and she goes broody Bob will most likely focus on who left and that will be Singlet, We always encourage any one having problems with a drake over mating one duck to try and bring more girls into the flock it sure does relieve the pressure on the one. I'm sure mama instigates the mating behavior mine does but when there is a young duck who can be injured or killed by being mated before she is old enough then you have to step in. Hope you can come up with a plan with out Bob having to go but of course that's up to you. I always keep my mamas and ducklings separated by temp fencing for at least 3 weeks to protect those babies till they are able to hold their own among the flock.
  7. I have another question. With the second brood there were only 2 eggs left one of which was Singlet. I left the other for a couple of days but when no sign of pipping I candled it and it was liquid so ditched it. To get it I had to get mama duck Wendi off the nest so got her to go outside. Her duckling Singlet followed her out and went straight onto the pond. I thought they would go back onto the nest at night at least for a few weeks but after that they never went back in there again (until she started laying again). She just slept on the ground like she had before and Singlet slept under her. It is fairly warm (65F at night) at that time of year, even in winter it never gets below freezing.

    Is this normal? Do mama ducks usually abandon the nest once all the ducklings are hatched and can move about? I can see advantages of this in the wild they move around so predators can't find where they are sleeping, but also the nest would be in a warm and sheltered place so good to raise ducklings, at least when very small.
  8. Lyss

    Lyss In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2015
    Australia, NSW
    I'm so jealous your Pekin raises her own ducklings. I waited so long for my girl (Stir-Fry) to get clucky. I didn't touch her eggs until I had no choice but to toss them and she shows absolutely no interest in sitting on her eggs. I ended up incubating to get ducklings which I have really enjoyed. Here's a pic of Stir-Fry.

  9. she looks lovely! I think I just got lucky getting a good Pekin brooder and duckling raiser as they seem uncommon by what people say here.

    The usual routine (now onto third clutch in one season) is she lays about 7-8 eggs and leaves them on the nest. Then she starts building up the nest and sitting on them occasionally for a few hours at a time. Then she starts sitting on them full time. Apparently the temperature rise when she sits on them full time signals the embryos to start developing so they all hatch at about the same time. Amazing.

    I have to say watching her brood and raise her second duckling by herself was really enjoyable especially as the duckling was on the pond straight away, as they pick up water proofing oils from their mother's coat. Also no daily clean out of the ducklings inside bathtub for a month like with the first lot of little poopers!
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    I haven't had that happen here even before I fenced off my ducks and their ducklings they always went back to the nest site, house with their babies. Which is the only way they would survive we have a thriving predator population here and mama duck would be no match for them.

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