Wild mallard ducklings rescued from a storm drain!!!!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Chickenaddict, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    Well todays big adventure began with what I thought was gonna be a quick trip to walmart. I got in and got out and headed home only to see a man on a motorcycle going really slow. Turns out he was trying to caral the ducklings off the road but little did he know they were headed right for the storm drain. One by one they fell in all except 3. Mama nowhere to be found so my guess is she was killed. I stopped to help the man grab the 3 that hadn't fallen in but one got away and I never found it again [​IMG] The man on the bike let me use his cell to call the local police to see if they could help. They took my info and informed me a squad was on the way. 20 minutes later the rookie shows up in a big police truck. He was such a nice guy but obvioulsly knew nothing about ducklings. He tried prying the grate off the drain but it wouldn't budge. He then went to grab a net and a cage (in which the babies scooted right thru) Luckily my hoody made a nice warm spot to hold the 2 until we caught the rest. We sat out there for a good 45 minutes and got them all out thanks to that officer! I walked around for another 20 minutes or so after the cop left to see if I could find the other lil one and a possible mother, no such luck. I took the remaining 9 babies home and put them in a brooder with a heat lamp (125 watts) with a shallow pan of water and some chick starter non medicated. These little ones seem to be only a day or 2 old, some still have their egg tooth. Do they need a heat lamp? I have only raised ducklings once and that was with a duck hen but from what I gathered the hens don't sit on the ducklings like chickens do. So will they be ok without heat or should I leave the light on for them. They are scared to death and shivering. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. TIA
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    You will need some heat, but a 75 watt light bulb from 2 feet above should be enough. Ducks do not need red lights, they prefer white or blue. Watch their behavior. Do they huddle under the light, that means they are cold. Do they move away from it that means they are to hot. Reduce the warms according to behavior until you are down to a 40 bulb. After that they don't need it anymore. My ducks are off their heat by the time they are 2 weeks old. They may need heat at night after they are 2 weeks old, if the temps are going below 65. It's summer, so you should not have to worry about the night time warmth after they are 2 weeks old.

    BTW it sometimes takes mom 3 hours to show up. You basically have to disappear to give mom a chance to show up. I had a duckling which I put into a cage where I found it and had it scream for 3 hours. No mom in sight so we took it in. We later found mom and a sibling dead on the road.
     
  3. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    Thank you! I didn't know it could take mom 3 hours to show back up and there was no way I was leaving them out there alone. They were running around trying to cross a really busy 4 lane (2 in each direction) highway where the speed limits are 55 but people drive 70. I sat there with them cheeping in my sweatshirt for a good 20 minutes and saw or heard no sign of the mom. She wasn't present when the ducklings were trying to cross the road and the nice man on the motorcycle prevented that by running them up by the boulevard. The cop wanted me to put them in the swamp and leave them there but I am pretty sure they aren't ready for water yet. I just couldn't bare the thought of something happening to them out there after all the effort we put in to getting most of them out of that drain pit. I scoured the area for any sign of mama, nest and the other baby. I just had to take them to safety. Now I feel horrible knowing mama could still be out there somewhere [​IMG] But like you stated in your case the mama and baby didn't make it. I saw no signs of her remains on the road or in the ditch either...
     
  4. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Ducks are on the move once they babies have hatched. They do not stay with the nest. The babies can actually take care of themselves, but need mom for protection and warmth. Technically you are not allowed to keep wild ducks when it comes to American law. Out of experience I know that most of the time they let you raise mallards, but not wood ducks or other not so common ducks. In my case they required me not to socialize the duck, not clip wings, and let it fly when it wants to. My duck decided to leave later, and I'm glad it did go back into the wild. They usually do before they are 4 months old or when migration time comes. If they stay after that you will have to file for a permit. See the story of ducky.
     
  5. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I don't plan on domesticating these ducklings at all. I don't plan to keep them either. I was gonna give them shelter/grass/feed and let them decide when they are ready to venture off on their own. We have a lake across the street and several little ponds and such around the area with tons of mallards around so I hope they fit right in. Thanks for that link. Ducky is adorable! and ty for all the info you have provided for me, it was a huge help. I will be making some phone calls to the dnr to find out for sure what the laws are here in reguards to mallards. I definately don't want to get into any trouble over this. If I am allowed to just keep them safe with limited contact (ie:feed/water) and release them back into the wild I think that would be the best way for both me and them.
     

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