Duckling report

May 24, 2018 • 11:30 am

We still have eight ducklings, and they’re getting bigger and stronger by the day. Also, they’re learning to be ducks. Here Honey engages in “dabbling” (turning upside down to get food from the bottom of the pond). The ducklings are attentive, and, in fact, started dabbling on their own today, eating bits of corn that I toss into the water. It’s like watching Junior’s first steps!

As always, Honey is a good and attentive mom. Here she is with her whole brood:

How can you not love an animal that looks like this?

A duckling starting to dabble. Sometimes they completely disappear underwater and, a few seconds later, pop up like a cork a few feet away. I suspect they’re foraging on the bottom:

Under it goes!


Anna discovered yesterday that Honey and her brood will eat chopped up lettuce and vegetables, and today I’ll get a demonstration of how she cuts them. Veggies are good for ducks. Anna is a great duck tending partner, and I can’t neglect Sanja, whom I don’t often see, but who is out there looking after the brood as well.

25 thoughts on “Duckling report

  1. We go to the Reedy River to feed cracked corn to the ducks and geese. They come right up to us and eat out of our hands with their babies…they’re not aggressive towards us at all. They are very aggressive to other birds that come near their space. It’s such an honor that these parents allow us into their space with food, but do not allow other geese or ducks. It gives me “goose” bumps (pun intended). 🙂

        1. LOL! When I was a little kid, I thought that song was sung from a horse’s point of view. Only non-human animals, like dogs and ponies, could have masters, right?

      1. I doubt you have a farm and garden center in Chicago, the kind of place that sells tractor parts, coveralls, bird seed, cattle troughs, and hog wire. That’s the kind of place my step father buys his 50lb bag of cracked corn, which he discovered that the ducks on the lake really like (as do the deer, opossums, raccoons, and gray squirrels). Know anyone who live out past suburbia, like around Sugar Grove or DeKalb?

  2. The march of the Mallard ducklings and the Canada geese continues here in urban Wichita. I send in a few photos. Several pieces of water, small ponds with some wooded areas close by seem to work best. None of these creatures are being feed by humans. They are fun to watch.

  3. You must have read “The wind in the willows “,it has a poem called” Ducks Ditty” about dabbing ducks .

  4. I haven’t commented on any of the duck posts, and I have nothing at all to contribute, except to say keep ’em coming! They’re entertaining, informative, and a great tribute to your love of living things. Thank you.

  5. In some of the photos, it looks as if there are pennies, dimes, and other coins on the bottom of Botany Pond. If that’s true, I hope there aren’t too many of them, and that visitors are discouraged from adding any more. Maybe the pond is big enough that they’re not really a problem?

    The domestic ducks at my friends’ ranch enjoyed all kinds of vegetables from the garden, and also liked windfall peaches that humans eschewed. The peaches were usually full of invertebrates, which might have been more tasty to the ducks than the fruit itself.

  6. I wonder, given that our own offspring have been naked during the last few millions of years, why do we still find fluffy young animals irresistably cute? These ducklings are so cute that, as we say, I want to eat them! (Figuratively of course. And I hope that the heron hasn’t visited recently.)

  7. If you choose to feed the little ones chopped lettuce stay away from iceburg. Nutritional value is virtually nil.

    As they get older they will start seeking out living insects. The mallard I raised from a hatchling found every spider on the property that was less than 18 inches from ground level by the time it was released.

  8. At Adelaide Botanic Garden we have a ‘kitchen garden’ adjacent to a largish pond. The resident ducks love the vegetables to an extent that the beds must be netted to maintain their integrity!

    1. I’d recommend water lettuce too. You could start to cultivate them in a bin in a sunny backyard and take them to the pond when you have a bunch. The ducks will nom them and the duckweed.

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