blended family--lone duckling with new chicks?

claraserena(4)June 6, 2007

Two days ago we were given 2 very young (guessing 3-5 days) Mallard ducklings by a neighbor who found them crossing her yard. One has died. The other looks pretty goodÂheÂs eating a little, drinking and under a heat lamp. I held him for about an hour last night and he seemed quite happy. But heÂs alone and I know thatÂs not good. Friday we are getting six 2-3 day old Buff Orphingon pullets. I am thinking about putting the duck with them just so he isnÂt alone. I know that might mean problems down the line as ducks and chickens have different needs. I have thought of trying to find a CD with baby duck sounds to play for him. He just looks so lonely. I have never had a duck.

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patrick_nh(z4/5 NH)

Yes, it's not ideal, but better than being alone. A CD might help, but it also might make him more anxious, constantly trying to find those other birds that he can hear but not see. You'll have to be concerned about possible disease and parasite transmission, as well as the future management issues that you've got covered, but I've done it in a pinch, with careful observation and plenty of room.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 12:38PM
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claraserena(4)

Update and the blended family: The duck (Duxter) and chicks get along famously. He/she went from being a lonely duckling huddled in a corner to "Mr./Ms. Sociability". They sleep together at night and just do their thing--seem not to notice a difference. I put in a shallow plant saucer with water and the chickens walk across it, drink from it and so does the duck. I have been feeding non-medicated chick/duck starter. But I was worried the chicks might need it so have been giving them medicated for the last couple of days.
Is it at all feasible to think of keeping the duck with the chickens as they grow older and are blended into the regular flock? I would like to find another duck about the same age. I have read about releasing mallards but we have lots of predators--snakes, turtles, raccoons, you name it. I just don't think I could put this one out. What should I do?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 9:16AM
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patriciaiowa

I keep some of my chickens with my ducks/geese. I have no problems at all. Except the ducks and geese do like to play in the water and get the inside of bard all wet. It takes more cleaning on my part to keep it dry for chickens. Its worth it though for now untill eventually we add another shed in next to the coop up above and I let ducks and geese have barn :-) These are doing this a year now.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 9:52AM
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claraserena(4)

Patriciaiowa--
That is encouraging! What sleeping arrangements do your ducks/chickens have? Do the ducks just sleep on the floor? Do they come in at night like the chickens? DO you you see problems with having just one duck? HOw do you pen your mixed flock? We let our chickesn free-range during the day. Would the duck know to come back?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 8:07AM
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patriciaiowa

Hi it was pretty easy in the beginning. I kept the duck in a outside enclsure connected to the barn along with the chickens. After awhile we began leaving the door open to give them a chance to be in and out. Eventually the duck was so used to be with the chickens that she went with,. It helped that we put scratch grains outside the pen. I found that the duck if found water hated to go back early. Eventually though before dark it would head back. We eventually added more ducks and 3 geese to the group. Theya ll now go back before dark. The others taught the new guys. First thing in morning they go out and know there limits and than come back in at night or if its too hot. We have straw on barn floor and we had a old feeding trough that we left and made sure chickens could not get hurt added straw and than have 2 4 hole nest boxes. I did learn that we let them stay out as late as possible as we have pools they swim and drink out plus our waterer is out there. If left inside the ducks make a wet nasty mess. Winter though makes it tougher for me as they need water.I just make sure I sit it on one of those heated pans made for metal waters near the door so that the whole barn is not wet. saves me from having to change all the straw thru out. It also helps that I keep a heat lamp in the winter in that area high above so it does not get splashed and it helps dry out area a little, Hope that helps if not you can e-mail me.

Patricia

    Bookmark   June 24, 2007 at 11:18AM
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claraserena(4)

Thanks Patricia==
I'm wonderng what the full grown chickens did when they saw your duck for the first time. Miner always give the new young chickens a hard time. HOw old was your duck when you intoduced him? We don't have a barn, just a coop, but I think we can do some of the things you did. Do you have netting over your pen? (i.e. when the duck realizes it can fly). Yes winter sounds liike a trial with water. So far the chicks spend as much time in the water as the duck--basically walk across it.
Thanks for your help!

Dianne

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 12:12AM
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patriciaiowa

The full grown chickens kinda liked to try and state their claim like they were boss, kind of what they did to the baby chicks. My duck was 6 weeks old when put in barn with them. I do not have netting over part of my pen. I have never had my ducks try and fly. The chickens now will use the barn door and sit at top but its very rare for them to take off. They free range during the day now. As my ducks got older they would quack at the chickens . Now they are older they all will share the pools. The chickens to drink and ducks to swim. It was about 4 months later when I introduced the rest of the ducks and geese. Now I currently just added 6 baby chicks but they hate to get wet.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 12:08PM
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claraserena(4)

Patricia,

This is so helpful! Thank you! I'll let you know how it goes.

Dianne

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 12:43PM
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sixkarats

Hi,
I am new to this website. I was looking for help with a baby mallard that was given to me after it was found alone and about to be scooped up by a hovering hawk. I put it in with 13 pullets that I am raising at home. I put the duck in with the chicks and they get along fine. The duck was only days old and the chicks vary in age from about 4 - 8 weeks. The oldest chicks let it sleep with them all tucked up under their wings. It has doubled in size now and is eating waterfowl food along with a little of the chicks starter food, which I know isn't that good for it. I have them all in a cage with a heat lamp and will be putting them down in the barn with the other chickens when they are old enough.I am wondering if the duck would stay with the chickens or will it fly away. I do live on a lake in Maine but the state frowns on feeding the ducks due to "Duck Itch" issues. We also have a pair of bald eagles that have offspring every year. I worry that it would get grabbed by them. Also there is a very large snapping turtle that has lived by our house for years...I have seen it try to take down duckling before. What a terrible sight. Am I selfish trying to keep it or should I bring it to a rehabilation center? Thanks for any help or ideas.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 11:17PM
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claraserena(4)

followup on our duck (turned out to be a woodduck). She bonded beautifully with our 6 Buff O. pullets. All summer she followed or more often led them around free-ranging. She would perch in the coop and so was locked up at night. When she first flew I feared we'd never again see her but she flew right back to be with the chickens. I put out a portable pool for her. We have a river and a pond but she never went close, just stayed with the chickens. Mid winter one night before we locked up the coop, a possum got in and all got safely outside. We took care of the possum but in the commotion, the duck fled and we couldn't get her to come back. I looked for days for her, her body, signs of a struggle--there was snow and I saw no blood. SOmething probably got her. I loved that duck. If your duck is used to your chickens she just might stay with them.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 8:38PM
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