Very concerned

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by OhMyDucks, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. OhMyDucks

    OhMyDucks Hatching

    Feb 7, 2016
    HI everyone.

    I have 2 rescue mallards. I had a mallard once before, so when these little guys were found with their dead momma, I was asked to take them in. I have a male and female. Their names are Crimson and Clover (haha, corny, I know).

    I have had them since they were 6 days old, back in May, which sadly means, they did not imprint on me as much as I would have liked. That said, they go crazy when I get home, they just don't cuddle like my first girl did.

    I have a few questions that I need answered. I'm hoping someone can help and put my mind at ease. There are no avian vets anywhere near me, and I've basically learned everything by combing google for hours and hours.

    Their diet consists of unmedicated pellets. I also give them thawed peas and corn 4-5 times a week. I won't lie, occasionally they get into the

    My concern is, both, but mostly my drake, has beautiful feathers when he's dry (except tail feathers), but it seems like once he's in the water, it soaks right through, and he looks haggard. My female looks slightly rough after a swim, but not as bad. I read that this could be from dirty bedding. They are currently in the house due to our horrid winters here in Alberta. I unfortunately didn't have the funds to build a house and full set up, but they will have that this spring. While I'm at work, they are in an ex-large dog crate. I have straw or old sheets in the bottom, and they get changed every day. They are in the pen over night, and while I'm gone, for a total of about 14 hours. They have full roam of the house when I get home, until I go to bed. Most of that time, they spend on the top of their pen. The pen is by no means disgusting when I get home, but they have usually made a small mess of their water and food, and there is of course, poop everywhere.

    They don't seem overly interested in bathing either. They have access to water deep enough that they can dive and fully submerge, every evening. I have to put them in the water atleast 4 nights a week. They jump in and immediately get out. 2-3 times a week they will actually clean themselves good.

    Another concern is I haven't found any eggs. I figured with my first girl, it was lack of a drake. I'm just afraid I'm not meeting their dietary needs. I have given them brewers yeast since they were babes (not as much now), but aside from their food, that's it. They eat their pellets, but don't seem interested alot of the time.

    What do you feed your babies? and how much?

    Do you give additional vitamins? If so, what and how much?

    Any additional information you can give is greatly appreciated. I love these **** ducks a lot. I want to make sure I'm doing for them what they need and deserve.

    Thanks so much in advance!
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    @OhMyDucks Welcome to BYC.
    Since I have Muscovy I don't feel i can answer your question on what is the best way to feed wild Mallards but there are members on here who have them so I will give you this link so you can talk to them..

    Bless you for taking these ducklings in and giving them a good loving home.

    you might also go hear since this is where members have ornamentals.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
  3. Cred

    Cred In the Brooder

    Oct 31, 2015
    I am fairly new to ducks and mine are domesticated but I can speak to a couple your concerns, since mine are the same age. Don't worry much that your female isnt laying since she is still young. Out of 4 females only two of mine started laying, in October, the others never started. And since then the other two have stopped. Due to shorter days in winter, laying will slow or stop and given that they were just reaching maturity when the days were shortening, it makes sense that she may not lay until spring.
    And yes, a duck will lay without a drake. I do have drakes but the ducks we had when I was a kid, laid without a drake. But I have heard this from some duck keepers and wonder why they say they need a drake (I'm curious to know).
    As for their appearance when wet, it sounds like they're not waterproof. I rescued a wild gosling and kept him for 3 days until I could drive him to a wildlife rescue. They explained that handling him with bare hands affects their waterproofing. To correct it, they keep him out of water and only handled him with gloved hands for a week. And then they test his waterproofing in water before introducing him to a wild goose family. Although, we're talking gosling fluff over feathers but possibly handling is the cause. As they are indoors for the time being, I'm sure this won't be much problem since being warm isn't an issue. It just may make them look ratty.
    Also, if they can get into the water and back out by themselves, I would let them choose to. If they don't jump in, I'm sure they're fine. My ducks love water but they've had spells where I'd fill their pool and they'd have nothing to do with it and it would sit clean and unused for days.
    As for diet, I don't know how the needs of wild mallards differ from domesticated ducks. It sounds like a diet similar to domesticated ducks and one would expect it to be fine- but perhaps a call to a wildlife rescue may give you some good advice.
    My ducks love when I give them dandelions in their water. They pluck some weeds on their own (barely) but in water they go crazy for it. Makes sense since they would naturally eat pond vegetation in the wild- you might want give them some chopped lettuce or kale (or mesclun mix would be good) in a bowl of water. But I think nutrition advice for wild mallards would be better from a wildlife rescuer.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Also as with Muscovy Mallards are seasonal layers so their laying season doesn't begin till spring and ends in the fall.
  5. Amykins

    Amykins Crowing

    May 11, 2013
    For starters, nix the dog crate. they need WAY more room to run around during the day and if they're confined to such a small space all day long they're going to get extremely stressed. That probably is a factor in why the drake has what we call "wet feather". Often when a duck doesn't have access to water as much as they need to their oil glands stop producing, and so when they DO finally get wet, they just get soaked to the bone. How often to you bathe them?

    What brand of feed do you give them? For the record cat kibble is actually a nice treat for ducks and it won't hurt them, so long as they aren't living on the stuff. :)

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by