New duckling, who dat?

May 6, 2021 • 6:28 pm

I had to jump into the pond today to rescue one of Honey’s ducklings who was being pecked HARD by Dorothy. It dove underwater for a long time, and when it surfaced Dorothy went after it again. I had to jump into the pond, clothes and all, to rescue it. It’s home with me tonight and I’m gonna have to sleep with another duckling tonight (I hope this one isn’t Bob!). Integration attempt tomorrow.

The hens really don’t like each other’s babies, but the level of aggression was high today. I can’t be there 24 hours a day, but if I can save a baby, I’ll go into the pond. It’s a nasty and muddy experience, believe you me.

So, here’s my companion for the evening, Honey’s babies are particularly susceptible to bullying as they’re only two days old.

27 thoughts on “New duckling, who dat?

  1. I’m glad you saved it. It deserves a chance and you gave it that. Best wishes for getting some rest.

  2. Perhaps a common instinct in other species? Growing up on a hill country in New Zealand, ewes would vigorously head butt any lamb belonging to another ewe that foolishly tried to feed from her.
    My father used a technique to circumvent this instinct. It’s all based on smell. There was always a supply of orphaned lambs mostly a result of storms, that would sleep in hessian sacks in front of the kitchen fire. Also a steady supply of ewes with stillborn lambs still able to feed. He would skin the stillborn lamb, cut four slits in the corners and fit it over an orphan pushing the legs through the slits. With this jacket the orphan smelt just like her stillborn and the ewe would readily let it feed. Within a few weeks the skin would fall off but by then the underlying smell was integrated and accepted.

  3. “The hens really don’t like each others babies…”
    But didn’t Honey steal and adopt all of Dorothy’s chicks to be part of her family last year? So it goes. With mallards toward none.

    1. With mallards toward none …

      And with charity for all, let us hope that, with this year’s inaugural jump into the pond, our host achieves a just and lasting peace.

      1. Yep. Though much more difficult, particularly in what appeared on the pond-cam to be a chilly chicago rain yesterday, this peace-making is preferable to the super soaker.

  4. The duckling seems so docile and accepting with you as a foster mother. How wonderful that you saved it. It might be natural behavior for the ducks to bully one another’s ducklings, but I think it’s just as natural to step in and try to help. I’m enjoying reading these duckling stories, but I’m becoming emotionally invested (especially when there are pictures of the ducklings), and it’s terrifying always the number of things that can happen to young birds. I hope this beautiful little duckling survives.

  5. Great save, but such a shame about the pecking. It seems hard to ‘win’ with a small pond and two big broods – last year you got fights with no size difference, and now you get fights *with* size difference.

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