Mallard duck question (long)
I had a pair of mallard ducks start coming into my yard in mid April. I was on vacation from work that week and in the pool a lot as well as working out in the yard. It did not seem to bother them. I live in a suburban area with a fenced in yard. Next thing you know, I noticed the two walking around the yard sizing it up- looking around all the bushes and trees etc. Then the female built a nest right next to my bedroom and the deck to the pool under an elephant ear plant. It was very smart on her part as most of the day it is in the shade.She began laying eggs on May 1st. There were 9 eggs and she put one of them in the pool so now there are 8. She started laying on the eggs full time on May 11th so I calculated her due date to be somewhere around June 4-8th from what I have read. Here is my dilemma. I have not seen her eat in my yard and I had read not to feed her.She does eat a few bugs that she finds in the pool. Before she started laying on the nest fulltime she and the male would leave for extended periods of time, I assume to go eat.They would come back to my house a couple of times a day mostly to swim and take a nap. There is a holding pond about 2 to 2.5 miles away if you go by street. If she flew in a straight line I would say it is a mile or so away. I have seen them (looks like their size) together with another larger male in this pond when I was out riding my bike before she started laying on the nest fulltime as I was trying to find out her primary source of water. Across the street from this pond is a big yard probably 2-3 acres and the house is sit way back from the road. I have seen two large male mallards and 1 large female in this yard.
Now she is on the nest fulltime getting off about 2x a day to get in the pool. She does fly away for 5 or 10 minutes but she does not go very far-just to my next door neighbor's pool mostly. I am not worried about her eating as she is able to fly. I am concerned about feeding the babies once they arrive. There is no body of water where they could eat vegetation close enough in walking distance and they will not be able to fly.
I am not sure what to do once the babies hatch. Feed them and wait until they are older and can be relocated? Cage them and relocate them?I looked online for a wildlife rescue person in my area but she only works with relocating mammals. The bird sanctuary place called BEAKS is closed until June 30th(?).I do not want to keep the ducks as pets as my yard isn't that big and really don't know the best way or time to relocate them. I do not want to upset their mother or spook her. I have read that it will take the babies 50 days to be able to fly. If I fed them until then, would they fly off or am I ruining their ability to look for food themselves. I do have some friends that might be able to take them at their pond, I just don't know what and when would be best for them with the least amount of stress to them.
Any advice is appreciated.