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Author Topic: Ducks  (Read 3460 times)

sheerline

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Ducks
« on: May 01, 2009, 10:28:45 pm »

I know this isn't model boats but it is .. almost!

Any of you chaps out there ever had to care for a duck?
One has set up residence in the flower bed, up against the house wall and right under our window. She has built a nest which is nicely hidden in the plants and has now laid a clutch of eggs, not sure how many but we know they are there. She leaves the nest early in the morning and goes over to my friends place opposite, crossing the road to get there. As they have wild ducks on the water there and also keep chickens, she goes for a swim and gets fed, then she's back on the nest for the rest of the day.

I have become quite protective over my new 'baby' and want to make sure the ducklings get hatched successfully. I am thinking of building some kind of pen to keep out rats, cats, foxes etc and also to stop her continually crossing the road. She has full access to the garden from where she is and in fact has been seen wandering around in the early hours of the morning with a drake keeping station on her.
Any advice from anyone who has experience with this kind of situation would be greatly appreciated.

As a footnote, there was a conversation on here many moons ago about caring for a bird with a broken wing. My friend who keeps chickens has a cockerel, he thinks it might be 'Gay' and it has been attacked by another and now one of his/her wings is apparently hanging down in an abnormal fashion...apparently damaged. Any ideas/ advice on this one, apart from bashing his brains in! <*<

I know the comments about aromatic duck and duck egg omlettes will start rolling in so I am ready for you men!! ok2
Cheers... Chris
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Damien

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2009, 11:20:44 pm »

Chris, Just leave her to do what comes naturally, she won't sit still while you build around her and too much activity around her and she will abandon the eggs and lay another clutch elsewhere.
It will be lovely to watch as she hatches and raises the chicks, if she considers your garden a safe place she will be back each season for many years.
Enjoy, Damien.
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Bunkerbarge

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2009, 06:03:28 am »

That would be my worry, too much interference would scare her off.  To prevent her crossing the road so much can't you provide the food for her, even if this means pinching some of it from your friend?
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keef666

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2009, 08:19:04 am »

you have ducks in your garden, isn't that an excuse for you to build a pond!, then you can test your boats out etc, if the wife moans, you can say its for the ducks

 keith
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sheerline

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2009, 09:46:47 am »

Thanks Men, your'e right about the interference factor, we have left her alone and are conscious that she could abandon the nest. That said, she is within 2 feet of where we walk in and out and seems unperturbed by all the activity going on right next to her. This is re-assuring because she gets to sit there and predators aren't likely to be about whilst we are stomping around. I have even avoided placing water close to the nest as this will encourage other creatures to come within close proximity  and maybe detect her.

As for the pond, it might be a project too far and then swmbo might abandon her nest!!

I am desperate to see these birds hatch off successfuly and want to make sure she gets the best chance. My biggest concern is the night time of course as a lot of predators go on the prowl in the dark. I do however intend to set up a tiny video camera, linked to the tv so I can monitor the situation periodically. I t looks as though this is about as much as I can realistically do for her.
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Arrow5

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2009, 09:55:51 am »

Yer a good soul Sheerline. How about a call to RSPB or local PDSA for advice. BTW broken winged birds in the wild are doomed I`m sorry to say. Even their own dispose of them.  Hence "laim duck" I suppose.
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oldiron

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2009, 10:52:05 am »

 As for the ducks and their nest, let nature take its course. Its all part of the natural process. She feels comfortable with folks walking in close proximity and thats fine, she doesn't see a potential danger. However, we shouldn't expect to control how nature takes its course. If we interfere more damage can be done than we intended. All animals are subject to a predatorial element through out their lives and they now it and handle it. We has the world's most prodigious predators can't make a difference by interceding.
 Enjoy them while they are there and marvel in the what nature has placed at your doorstep.
John
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catengineman

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2009, 01:15:38 pm »

When the chick hatch (if they do) be warned that they will follow the first sight parent, in that if you are, lets say assisting in a tidy up around the nest and young Donald is hatched and slowly drying out you may become "mum" and Donald will follow where ever you go.

Many years ago I hand reared two mallards that a fox or some other animal orphaned, hatching them in the garden shed with the aid of a greenhouse heater and an old plant propergator.

At the time I had a pair of sideburns which would be preened by the ducks (the odd poop on the shoulder) but hey what a soft set of sideburns I had!
watching them grow from ugly blobs to two beautifully coloured animals did give me a sense of parenthood similar to that of my own children.
To my knowledge they lived happily on a farm pond where I re-homed them when I moved.
enjoy the nature watch you have in your own garden you could even start a blog with pictures of the various stages.
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sheerline

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2009, 06:14:20 pm »

Thanks for the advice so far chaps, it would seem that 'natural' is the general concensus of opinion here. My mate over the road laughed at me as he said I had turned from model engineering to sentry duty and all I need is the uniform  :police: and a rifle!

I guess i am haunted by the memory of a mother duck with it's train of ducklings crossing the road in a local village.. a wonderful sight, only shattered by the antics of a car full of morons who deliberately targetted them and mowed down one of the ducklings, scattering the mother and rest of brood all over the road. The injured duckling was alive but partially crushed and i had to despatch it in front of a village full of gawking daytrippers. If I could have got my hands on the driver, <*< I would be typing this from a prison cell!!

I live on a sharp bend in this village and the cretins roar round here despite the 30mph restriction. I am just concerned that she will be trotting back and forth to the neighbours opposite with her brood and waddling across the road.
I think the least i can do is stick a couple of 'mind the ducks' signs up and hope.
I will attempt to get some pics at some point.
Chris
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nhp651

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2009, 07:09:59 pm »

on a very serious note, herons and seagulls find newly hatched ducklings as a very tasty morsel.
i have heard that these birds won't go near a "patch" that is ocupied by another heron, and that to protect their fish ponds they put a plastic heron nereby.
people say it works and keeps such birds away...might be worth a shot to keep the little lovelies safe.
neil. :-))
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sheerline

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2009, 08:11:46 pm »

NHP, if I stick a plastic heron in the garden and a newly hatched ducklin sees it as a first sight, it might think it's Mum  and become attached to it. Poor little begger would starve to death!!    {:-{
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catengineman

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2009, 08:46:06 pm »

hey free crew for your models!  just have the boats around at the right time  :}

mind you duck do isn't the nicest of substances  :((

best of luck to you and the additions

R,
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sheerline

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2009, 10:11:52 pm »

Thanks C.A.T. Talking of duck do do, I think those blighters were swimming in my test tank in the early hours of the morning. Last year, there was some pretty nasty stuff around the tank, then I found some in it and had to drain it (it is now covered). I didn't realise it was ducks at the time, it was pretty big stuff....  thought there was an albatros about! :o
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catengineman

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2009, 03:43:53 pm »

Talking of duck I would NOT upset them though they are lovely to look at and fun to raise they can and will bite and wow what a mark they leave! thought I had been bitten by a horse not a dear little ducky  %%
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sheerline

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2009, 08:00:23 pm »

The latest news, where this duck is situated it is partially shaded but still in a fairly hot sheltered place when the sun gets out. As an experiment, I slowly and in stages,offered her a piece of watersoaked bread . She didn't like me being near her and gave me a good ole peck but in so doing, got a lump of this wet bread which she willingly downed. After the initial introductions and pecks, she seems quite calm and accepts the wet food without much fuss.
Now, before you blokes jump all over me, I don't intend feeding her bread, it was just an experiment and not one I intend to do on a regular basis but I reckoned if she was unphased by our continued walking up and down, she might just be ameanable to a bit of wet nosh once in a while.
Anyway, she is quite happy and still cosily snuggled up in the nest this evening. I will definately get some pics for those who are interested but was unable to do it today.
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oldiron

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2009, 08:10:17 pm »

Definitely, post some pics.

John
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sheerline

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2009, 10:46:05 am »

Right, here are the pics I promised you Men. As you can see, she is well hidden but in very close proximity to the pathway and doorway to the house. At the end of the driveway there is obviously the roadway and opposite is the gateway which she heads over too for food and water as well as all the other ducks which live over there. You can see my concern here, when these little babies hatch, she will waddle off with them, back and forth across that ruddy road and the cars don't hang around... not even for people!
Oh well, thats nature I suppose but if there is anything I can sensibly  do to preserve them, I will give it a go.
Chris
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sheerline

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2009, 10:46:41 am »

Another one!
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sheerline

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2009, 10:49:41 am »

Oops, forgot to attach pic on that last one, don't laugh, it's my age you know!!
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sheerline

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2009, 10:50:40 am »

And another.
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sheerline

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2009, 11:13:06 am »

Oh, I forgot to mention, Carol named her 'Daphne', she thought it was apt for a duck and sounded much nicer than 'the duck' since she was now a member of the household!
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oldiron

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2009, 11:25:41 am »

Thanks for posting the pic. She is certainly well hidden despite the proximity of human traffic. I sympathize with your concerns for vehicular traffic. I'm not sure how you handle that when the drivers don't even care about the human element crossing the road. All the lights in the world aren't going to slow them down, or make them care, if they don't want to.

John
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Circlip

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2009, 11:27:22 am »

Plastic Heron trick DOES work for fish ponds BUUUT you got to keep moving it around, da birds ain't stupid.

   Regards  Ian.
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catengineman

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2009, 11:29:37 am »

Hey there sheerline how about setting up a web cam  {-) then link it to the net and we can log in when ever we want to see whats happening,
Our very own version of nature watch  {-)

Hope  'Daphne' does OK in the forseeable future

 :-)) do we get to name the chicks when hatched?

OK ok Ill go now :D

Great photo's by the way  :-))

R,
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Arrow5

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Re: Ducks
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2009, 12:14:00 pm »

...more likely a feline than canine, maybe a fox though {:-{
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