what to do with my duck?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by SueBaby, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. SueBaby

    SueBaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2011
    Oceanside, CA
    Long story short: While incubating chicken eggs, some wild ducks (mallards) laid an egg on the doormat outside our back, sliding glass door. This was no place for a nest. We put the egg in with the chicken eggs and now we have 7 chickens and 1 duck ranging in age from 7 to 9 weeks old.

    Currently, all of them are sleeping in the garage and spending the days out on the grass in pens. We are new to all of this, so we are still building our coop. It is almost done, it's just a matter of 2-3 more days. Our coop has a 12' X 5' run, with the hen house above and some vertical space for the birds too. We are not sure how the duck will do in there, especially when the chickens head into the henhouse to sleep (she loves her adopted chicken family and does not like to be alone).

    In the past week Pepper the Duck has flown away twice and twice my husband has walked the neighborhood and found her (possibly him). I think we are at a point where we need to make a decision about her future. The way I see it, there are 3 options:

    1. We keep her and clip her wings. Our hens will have moderate "free-range" access to our yard, so we can't imagine how we could keep the duck always locked up.

    2. We come to terms with the idea that even though she is somewhat tame, Pepper is a wild duck and if she escapes she will be OK and has the instincts is takes to survive. Because we feed her and keep her safe at night my husband is worried that she cannot survive on her own. (She still lets us hold her, although it's not as easy to pick her up as it once was.)

    3. We find someone to take her that has an enclosed area for ducks, where she can fly a bit, but is still taken care of and kept safe from predators.

    We don't know very much about ducks and so are having a hard time deciding what's best for Pepper. I would appreciate some input form experienced people at this point.

    Thank you!
  2. The Duck ABC's

    The Duck ABC's Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2011
    Legally you are not allowed to have this duck, but lets put that aside. I raised a wild duckling. It ran in my parking lot and its mother and sibling were dead on the road in front of our property. Rural highway. I called the local fish and wild life office and the man on the phone gave me oral permission to raise it, but told me that it will leave in the fall as they all do. They are overrun here with ducklings so they do not take them into rehab, unless they have to. Mine started to fly and we loved it. She later left to the reservoir nearby and joined the wild ducks. All of the ducks left 2 months later because winter was nearing. I'm sure the 2 months gave her enough time to learn to live in the wild and to strengthen her wings for the long migration. That was 3 year ago, and she has since come back to the property next door where she raised her own with a nice drake. So celebrate her freedom, because that is where she belongs. In the meanwhile she can sleep in the coop. She wont roost, but rather lay on the floor of it.
  3. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    I think your husbands fears should be set aside. There aren't any guarantees, wild or domestic. These forums have stories all the time about carefully caged domestic birds that are killed by predators that figured out ways to get into really secure pens or coops.

    I have done the same thing with wild ducks more than once. Their wild nature will take over. Sure, there is a risk that something may get her, but that is nature. Unless you have some kind of netting system over your back yard, what is to say a hawk won't swoop down and take her, or one of the chickens for that matter. It happens.

    I think the other poster has it right -- let the bird come and go as it pleases, and it will decide for itself. Semi-wild, it may very well stick around part time, partake of feed, and eventually bring a mate to the area.
  4. SueBaby

    SueBaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2011
    Oceanside, CA
    We are going to let her go, it's just a matter of how. I appreciate your insight.[​IMG]

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