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More Baby Ducks

July 22, 2010

Greetings dear reader.  We’ve had a bit of a photography challenge here as of late, not that you care, but we have endeavored to persevere and succeeded.

Last Saturday our Mama Mallard Duck hatched out another brood of babies.  Here is the remainder of the nest she was sitting on:

Mallard nesting box

Notice there are feathers and some broken egg shells.  Maybe someone out there in reader-land can tell us what happened to the rest of the egg shells, because it has got me stumped.

Mallard brood

Above is the new brood, near the shallow water bowl, posing with Mama Duck.   We learned to use a shallow water dish so the babies don’t drown, earlier this year.  There were 5 drowning victims in the second brood.

Mama and babies head outdoors

We thought they would enjoy a little sunshine, so we nudged them to leave the pen, and head outdoors.

Here Mama and babies get a walk in the grass

Mama is very protective, and nervous as she is molting.  She quacks constantly, and rarely closes her bill.  She threatens humans, other ducks and all threats to her brood.

Mama, Papa and a *Flyer* from a previous brood

Above Mama and her babies (foreground) enjoy the sun and grass while Papa and one of the fliers from a previous brood look on.  The flier was in the pen behind, but her landing skills are not yet developed, so when she goes for a cruise she doesn’t always get back in the pen with her buddies.  In this case she heard Mama calling and waddled right on over.  Then she quickly backed up as Mama gave her the *assault* posture.  That is why she and the drake are keeping their distance…

(more to follow)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jon permalink
    August 5, 2010 2:20 pm

    How do you keep the farm ducks from just flying away?

  2. Milton permalink*
    August 6, 2010 11:57 am

    Jon,
    It is funny that you ask this as I had one fly off just last night. The process is called *clipping*. When the duck is very young, the tip of one wing is cut with scissors. We are talking about 1/4″ to 3/8″ that is removed. It does not hurt the duckling and there is no blood. What this does is prevent the last 4 or 5 flight feathers on that wing from developing, and when the bird tries to fly, it becomes unbalanced, tires rapidly, and rarely gets above 5 feet of altitude.

    I clip some, and leave some natural, because I love to watch them fly. Last night I startled the ducks and 2 of them flew over the fence. One landed almost immediately. The other gained altitude, flew out over my corn field, circled over the house and kept on going. I hope that it will come back and entertain us with its flight, at least until autumn. In the past the flight capable ducks all migrated in the fall- I consider that my contribution to the conservation world.

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