When should my baby ducks be released to the pond?


Aug 10, 2016
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! :)
I am glad you are concerned, because you are right - domestically raised ducks are very susceptible to predators.

I keep my ducks really close - we go for walks in the woods together, but if I am not around they are locked into their day pen, and then at night they are in a secure night pen.

Just don't rush it. Adult ducks will attack younger ones sometimes - and then there are predators that will go for the younger smaller ducks....
My older Mallards are nesting on another pond the last few weeks. Close but not as close as the babies. So they haven't been introduced yet. They've done very well at protecting themselves and they are free to roam. One even has a bent wing that doesn't allow him to fly. :( I rescued him 4 years ago and I think the people who had him tried to clip his wings and cut him. He's amazing though and learned to get all around on foot. :) They've never been penned. They stay on the island when they're on my pond and that keeps them from walking predators. I just don't know if the babies are old enough to understand that. I'm going to work on a larger enclosed area for them. I would like them to be able to be free range but right now my mom instinct says they're too small. :)

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