Wild Mallards


Jul 11, 2016
I have three wild, orphaned mallards that are approximately 9 weeks old. My best guesstimate is that they were only 2-3 days old when we brought them in. When they were about 3-4 weeks (give or take), we put them in the run with the chickens. We have predators at night so for the first couple of weeks, I would shoo them into the coop at night with the chickens. Now, I go down at dusk and everyone, duckies included, are all tucked in for the night on their own. :)

They have begun to take some short flights inside the run, and one of them literally flew the coop today LOL - up and over the 6 foot fence of the run, and then panicked trying to get back inside. Made me a little sad :( I'm quite certain they have nearly all their flight feathers now.

I have not socialized these ducks by cuddling or loving on them, but they know that I give them fresh food and water and fill up their pool. Our intention is to release them in the marina of a condo I manage in Annapolis (also where mama was killed and ducklings were found).

We have not let our chickens free range because by leaving the door to the run open, that means the duckies will come out. They are not social enough that I can just simply go pick them up, they will run from me - though they will follow me when they know I'm gonna turn over a log or something that might yield some wormies LOLOL. Do you think, if I let the chickens free range and the ducks come out, that they will return to the run? Or, am I best to just leave well enough alone and stick with my plan of letting the chickens range once the ducks have been released? And...even though they are used to being in the run with the chickens, they WILL be okay once I release, them, yes?

What to do?
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I think it's a crap shoot as to whether or not they will come back, but if they do leave, they may go back to where they cam from anyway. The marina. Maybe you could band them, then keep an eye out for them when you are there. Might be a fun experiment.
I raised some feed store mallards from day olds, once, and when it came time to go (fall) they left.
Good luck. Have fun, and let us know how it turns out.
I think I'm mostly nervous about them coming out with the chickens and then not returning to the coop at night, because we do have raccoons in the area from time to time. I should probably just wait lol
UPDATE: So, we decided to try it for a short time this evening. The chickens came out first....the ducks followed not long after. The whole time out, none of the bunch ventured far and the ducks hung closely with the chickens. About an hour or so after being out, the chickens went back in and the ducks were on the other side of the fence from their pool that's inside the run. They couldn't figure out HOW to get to their pool, and also couldn't figure out that they just had to go around the corner and down to the door to get in. This mama hen went out, called them and they came running and in they went. Whew. My anxiety was through the roof but we did it LOL!

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