Hi everyone! I rescued 2 baby Mallards recently and have been raising them. They are growing so fast! I got them when they were only a few days old and had them in a brooder inside the house. They transitioned to a plastic tote inside, and now I have them in a small, fully enclosed pen outside. I live in Texas so the temperatures are always quite warm. They always have fresh bedding, food, and an open waterer. They are starting to get the deep purple/blue on their wings now and they're getting to be a pretty good size. They're probably about 6-8 weeks old. The pen is quickly becoming too small and I almost can't keep up with the amount of water they need. Plus I know they must want to swim! My question is- when should I put them on my pond? I have 4 grown Mallards that travel between my 3 ponds, no relation to these babies. The pond is maybe 30-40 ft from my house and only about 10 feet from where they are in a pen now. Do I just let them out to fend for themselves? I'm so worried something will hurt them, like a wandering cat or larger bird. I thought perhaps I could keep their pen close to the water, and just leave it open, so they can go to and from it as they please. I don't want to be so over protective but I don't want them to get hurt. My other Mallards were bigger and closer to a year old when I got them, so I wasn't really sure about these babies. Thank you for any advice you have!