Help with duck care.

noellernMarch 17, 2010

I just moved to a new subdivision this week and discovered the first day that there is a pond in the neighborhood. I walked down there and discovered that there are two ducks down there. One is a Pekin and the other a Mallard (male).

I have no experience and little knowledge about ducks but I have been relentlessly researching ducks and their care. I am very concerned for these two little guys...

Just a little back story over the past couple of days...the first day I went down there, I discovered about 7 or 8 eggs just laying around. All of them were cracked open with the insides seeping out. They appeared larger than the normal chicken egg so I assumed they were duck eggs from the Pekin. But I thought it odd that they were just laying around everywhere. I am not sure if some other animal is getting them or since there are children in the neighborhood that they are messing with them. Also, I grew up going to the local lakes and parks and taking a loaf of bread to feed the ducks but in my research the past couple of days, I have discovered that bread and things along that line are very bad for the ducks. I am concerned for these two because people in the neighborhood are down there at all times of the day feeding the ducks bread and such.

The subdivision that I am in is a new development. None of us in the neighborhood have been here more than a couple of months. I am however not sure where the ducks came from. Were they here before the development started or were they domestic and someone just dropped them off?

I am basically looking for any advice anyone can give me here. I am currently working on an informative flyer to pass out to the neighbors about not feeding the ducks bread and such. I am also planning to get with the owner of the land to maybe see about getting a sign put up at the pond also stating to not feed the ducks bread and such and explaining why.

Is there anything that is ok to feed the ducks if someone should feel so compelled? I know I read about cracked corn and greens.

I am also worried that they are domestic and someone dropped them and that they are not going to survive out there. They appear to be doing well for themselves in the pond. I have witnessed them eating fish and plants and such from the pond but I read somewhere that domestic ducks that have been dropped usually don't survive a year.

I just want to make sure that they are getting the proper care and that they both live long happy duck lives.

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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Pekin duck can lay from 150 - 225 eggs a year and she will probably just drop them anywhere. Poor mothers. They maybe fertile if you truely have a Mallard drake. The Campbell and Rouen drake look similar to a mallard.

Feed: corn, grains, worms, grubs, larvae, greens, slugs, snails, grass, some soft vegetables and fruits. Non medicated chicken feeds.

Ducks are pretty tough and will probably live with just a little shelter. Predators are more of a concern. Cats, dogs, raccoons, eagals, foxes, weasels, minks, etc... will take them out probably before the cold.

Pekin being a non fly duck was probably someone cute Easter duckling dropped off. The drake also, unwanted mouth to feed.

My ducks eating Kale

Hope this helps


    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 11:32PM
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Naomi Miller

Bless you for caring about these ducks.... and you are so correct, bread is the infamous duck food in parks etc and is absolutely the wrong thing to feed them. You are on the right track with greens , cracked corn, scratch grains etc... I am not sure where you are located but here in VA, I have 24 ducks and they do quite well in the elements and they free range, but of course have the availability to be supplemented mash and grain in winter; that is when I would be concerned for these ducks..winter..... lack of some sort of real shelter and a resource for supplemental feed. The mallard will most likely head for greener pastures as the weather diminishes but the Pekin can not fly so some special attention may be needed as weather deteriorates. I would keep a watch to see if the mallard is seen flying at all...if these were 'drop offs', it is possible he has been pinioned and can not fly either.... just a thought.... and again, bless you for caring !! Good luck and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 11:34PM
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zootjs(zone 5 MA)

Dogs would be my major concern. Ducks don't mind harsh weather (i.e., cold, wet), and a little bread won't do them in, as long as it's an occasional treat and not 100% of what they eat, and they have a good water supply. I concur with all that's said above. Yes, they lay eggs anywhere. Bozos. Mine usually lay at night, so if they were in a duck house, it would be easier to gather/protect them.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 11:58PM
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Thanks for replying. I am in East Tennessee. The winter is almost over here but we did have a very snowy winter this year. We had about 6 good snows and not knowing how long the ducks have been out there doesn't help me determine whether they have been out there long enough to have truly made it through the winter. Like I said in the previous post...they appear to be doing well in the pond. The thing that mainly concerned me was the fact that lots of people are feeding them bread and that they may starve to death!

I knew I read about the Pekin duck not being able to fly but I also have not seen the mallard even attempt to fly. The pekin is very friendly...she will meet me halfway when she sees me coming up the road. The mallard however is a little more skiddish. He will get about 3 feet from me but that is as close as he will come. The pekin will practically jump in my lap.

I know that the neighbors are going to feel inclined to feed them at some point so that is why I want to put together an informative flyer of what they can feed them that is better than the bread and give them an explanation of why.

Also, maybe this is just my lack of knowledge shining through but you said that Pekin's can lay 150-225 eggs per year and they will just drop them anywhere. Does she not feel inclined to hatch them?? Isn't that supposed to be a motherly instinct?

I looked into possibly incubating them but I don't have the equipment to do that. So I am not sure about that.

I posted a link to the pictures of the ducks. Sorry about the quality, it was taken on my phone.

Here is a link that might be useful: pictures of the ducks.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 12:04AM
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eric_wa(San Juan, z8 WA)

Very few domestic ducks have motherly instincts. Muscovies are more apt to go broody.

If the mallard is missing a back toe, it's a domestic and it came from a hatchery. I could be just to fat to fly or the wing(s) have been clipped.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 12:31AM
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