Update: the Dorm Ducks

July 14, 2023 • 1:15 pm

We are feeding and watering the eleven “dorm ducks” (Maria and her ten babies) three times a week, and they’re growing like weeds. But I tell you, it’s a big job, as we have to cart all the food and water three blocks from my lab (there’s no hose). But our reward is that there are still ten babies (well, adolescents) and they look terrific!  MAH-VELOUS, in fact! Click the pictures to enlarge them.

Here are some pictures and videos. Thanks to the other two members of Team Duck, Gracemary and Marie, for their constant help.

First, Maria and her babies. She has a spectacular speculum (the flash of blue feathers on her side). They love the rain, as they can splash around in the puddles and hunker down with their bellies in the water. If there were a hose on the plaza it would be a lot easier, but all the irrigation is drip irrigation, so we need to cart over about ten gallons of water (along with duckling chow and mealworms) each visit: M, W, F.

The brood: ten—count them—ten!

A panorama of one side of the plaza with food and water. We have the same setup on the other side:

They like to crowd into water to have a bath and a drink. Here’s the first of two videos.

The lovely Maria. A great mom!

This is a bill identification picture in case she should return next year. We don’t want her to nest there, though!

A watchful mom:

We gave them frozen defrosted corn; they loved it!

Marie looking up; I think a bird flew over, but it wasn’t a raptor:

A lucky duckling gets its own tub, and then exits for a feed, followed by its littermates. They get only the best food: Mazuri Waterfowl Starter Chow (they’ll soon graduate to Duck Maintenance Chow) and freeze-dried mealworms, which they love.

The lucky duck:

Rub-a-dub-dub, seven ducks in a tub. We now have a bigger basin for them to swim in, and will increase the size of their “pool” as they get bigger (they have to be able to get in and out):

Wish us luck. If any U of C people are reading and want to volunteer to help, please get in touch with me.

And to think that I was looking forward to a duck-free summer!

13 thoughts on “Update: the Dorm Ducks

  1. I wonder if you will need to give out Diplomas at the end of this season. How to raise ducks without a pond. A very tough job.

    We have a bit of a problem here in the neighborhood I live in concerning the geese and ducks. There are several small lakes or ponds and that means ducks and geese. Those of us who do a lot of walking see the wildlife everyday. About three weeks ago i notice some of the geese and ducks acting strangely. They would come right up to you and even follow you sometimes. The problem was that someone was feeding the animals. Not suppose to and we had never had this problem in the 7 years or so that I’ve lived here. Hopefully we can get the person to stop the feeding but sometimes you cannot.

  2. If I was Maria, I’d sure come back next year. It is a safe and quiet place with terrific food even if there is not much water.

  3. They look awesome. Excellent work by the team. Unforunate that you need to cart the water three blocks. Its a dorm. I has bathrooms and custodial closets. Can whomever provides access for you all open a utility/custodial closet so you can get the water there?

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this experience. If I was closer to Chicago, I would ceetainly help out.

  5. A healthy looking brood thanks to Team Duck. Pat yourselves on the back. And I hope you get more help. That’s a lot of work and the work will increase as they grow. Well, not much longer though.

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