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The Pearsons

Urgent Help ---- pleeeese.....

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I will be looking after my friend's smallholding next week and the week after. The chickens and hens are fine - I have hens and the pigs are easy to look after.


She also has call ducks - and one of the ducks is sitting on eggs. The eggs are due to hatch when they are away. What do I do? It's the first time my friend has had ducks as well so she can't tell me :?


The duck is sitting on a nest in the hedge but ideally we would like to move her and the ducklings to a house on an island in their lake......


Any ideas about what I should do? And what do ducklings eat? Do we need to get crumbs or will mama duck show the ducklings everything they need to know?


Helen in Hume

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Hi Helen


You will need some chick crumb for the ducklings - if you or your friend can't get hold of any then just crush some layers or growers pellets until you can get hold of some. Don't give ducks mash as it clogs up their nostrils because of the way they feed.


You won't need to do anything - the duck will look after her little ones perfectly well. Although - some people say that ducks don't always make the best mothers so just keep an eye out in case she abandons them. If she does, put them in a box and come back here and shout - loudly!


Ar e they safe under the hedge? If they are then leave them and after a couple of days when the Mum has waterproofed their feathers, she will probably take them ove r to the little island. If they're not safe then wait a couple of days after hatching if you can, and then move them.

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Thank you for the reassurance..... I'm still nervous of losing the lot of them but since my friend has lost the last two clutches (one to a predator and one clutch was abandoned) she isn't expecting anything. It's just a shame she'll be away on the "due date".


My friend has put a shelter around the duck on the nest so they are as safe as they can be. Her husband is going to build a duck shelter on the island for duck and chicks.


I have hen layer pellets so it will be easy to crush those.


I have a very little experience of putting day old hen chicks into a "hot box" but have never dealt with ducks or ducklings before, except to witness a duck and ducklings being escorted from the top of the tower of a well known castle tower and re-installed in the castle garden! The dozy duck used to nest in the same place every year and every year there was the same pantomine in getting her and her offspring to a more suitable place.


It should be fun...


Helen in Hume

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