This morning six new born mallard ducks were swimming with their mother in our small garden pond. Now we can not find them. Are they hiding? Do they sleep, so young? Will they stay here before trying to leave? For how long, typically?
There is also a dead baby in the nest and one more egg. Should we discard of the dead one and shall we assume the other egg was not fertile? It is also a very dangerous trip over several busy streets to get to a larger body of water. If we can find the chicks and the mother should we try to help them?
By Leahy from Boston, MA
One thing I've learned about ducks over the years is this: they have tons of babies, aren't great moms (unlike geese which raise the babies as a group), and they lose a lot of babies. This is their natural population control. It's very sad, but necessary to keep the duck population from becoming so large that they become malnourished and diseased. Likely something preyed on the babies. The smart ones, the survivors, also will hide in the grass as you approach. Some will die because of internal abnormalities, etc. Discard the one baby - leave the other egg for a few days to make sure it isn't going to hatch (at least a week). Sometimes they do if it's very hot - often they were bad or died late in the egg. That's really the kindest thing you can do for the ducks.
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