Trust mamma or Bring 'em inside?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by bettynoodlees, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. bettynoodlees

    bettynoodlees In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2011
    We have a Mallard duck who has been sitting on eggs (mallard, Pekin, and chicken) I thought it was too late in the year, but we let her keep them and sit on them...

    She is mated (of their own choice) with a big male Pekin duck- so I assumed that those babies wouldnt be viable. ( we do have 1 male mallard, but she hates him and he has a 5 girl harem so he leaves her alone)

    I was wrong- the eggs are hatching!! one hatched about 4 days ago, but it died before it even dried off...

    But this morning we went out to feed her, and there were 3 ducklings!!! 1 looks like a mallard, but the other two look like pekins with brown sploches. and another is activly hatching!

    I NEED HELP!! Any suggestions would be helpful.

    #1 We have 25 Free range chickens, 6 other mallards, and 3 pekins- Are any of these birds a Danger to the babies?

    #2 Mamma and babies are under a rubbermaid tote (because she laid eggs in the middle of a flower bed) with an access hole cut out. Mamma can go in and out (and defend the box) easily, but I am afraid that the babies can't get out, will that hurt them? Conversly, I do not want to take the tote away because it keeps the Dew off of them, and predators at night (owls) away.

    #3 Will Mamma feed them, or do I need to provide Food and water?

    #4 We dont want to move the remaining eggs, but I wonder if I should take the babies as they hatch, and take them into the house and put them into the brooder? If they were chickens I would just do this, but my husband is worried about taking them away, and thinks that they are better off with Mamma.

    any advice would be helpful! Thanks!

  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Quote:I have to agree with dh on this, unless you see she isn't taking care of them then they are better off with mama for sure, put duckling staerter grower out if you can get it if not chick starter grower. Can you cut a hole in the side of the tote so mama can take them out when she is ready. then sit back and relax and enjoy mama teaching her babies how to fend for them selves. also make sure they have acsess to fresh water.
  3. bettynoodlees

    bettynoodlees In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2011
    We did cut a hole in the side, about the size of a medium paper plate... but that leaves about 3-4 inches that the ducklings would have to jump over...

    Will mamma pick them up or should I cut the hole lower?
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    no she won't pick them up, cut the hole closer to the ground so they can get out. after about a week they can climb pretty good but before that their getting their legs under them and not to steady. I saw a picture of a nest made out of a plastic tote that had the lid for the floor and the bottom had the hole cut into it close to the ground it was a cool nest box.

  5. kimberly35042

    kimberly35042 Songster

    Oct 23, 2009
    Central Alabama
    I've had very bad luck leaving ducklings with mom on a farm pond. The bass, turtles, catfish eat them. They disappear one by one. Its very sad. You may have a different pond situation though. Don't forget to use non -medicated starter. They eat so much, they will poison themselves on medicated chick starter.
  6. Bleenie

    Bleenie Wyan-DO's

    I watch my mommas the first day to make sure she is doing good or if i need to take the babies. I would take the chicks if they hatch, just for safety.

    Also, check the nest when she leaves it with the hatched babies, there may still be eggs left, unhatched, that you can slide under someone else or put them in the incubator to save them.

    I bet they're cute! I just love Pekin mixes [​IMG]
  7. bettynoodlees

    bettynoodlees In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2011
    our pond is too far for her to take them to, she actually had thim about 30 -40 feet up the hillside from a slow gentle creek, and in that part the big pekins take care of any fish/snakes/baby turtles.

    I do intend to take the chicks, I dont want them too confused lol

    Would it be possible to move the whole nest (and mamma) without causing too much damage? My concern with that is that tshe would freak out, and I have no incubator to put the eggs in if she abandons them during the move.

    also should I be ewatching to make sure the chickens wont try to peck the poor ducklings to death?

  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Most mamas can protect their ducklings pretty good, and the flock should respect her. and wait till they hatch close up the hole you made and pick the whole thing up and take it where you want it.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011

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