Duckling Update #2

Can’t get enough of Coraline’s ducklings? We’ll be posting periodic updates to our blog so you can watch them grow. And like all baby farm animals, they’ll grow fast!

Today, Coraline brought her little troop out into the grassy enclosure. The ducklings are very lively and very, very curious. They emulate their mom’s behavior, nibbling on greens and catching bugs. All she has to do is make her “mom peep” at them and they get back in formation behind her.

We put netting over the top of her enclosure already, but realized shortly afterward that the fencing had gaps large enough for the ducklings to get through…and they did, probably not even realizing they had done so. We quickly addressed that issue by putting 6″ netting all around the bottom of the enclosure. The 1″x 1″ gaps are only big enough for the ducklings to poke their heads through, and once they realized it, they left it alone.

Coraline_ProtectingCoraline definitely has a “no cross” zone around her and the ducklings – she actually bit hard enough to draw blood when we were trying to refill water and change out food. Sure, it’s not stitches-worthy, but she got her message across: too close. She also hissed at the curious pullets who peeked in from outside the fencing. Coraline is the friendliest of the ducks, so this is just further evidence that maternity has really transformed her. We’re just lucky she doesn’t have teeth or she could do some real damage. Even so, the girl can be menacing if you get too close to those babies!

Since ducklings need more niacin in their diet than chicks, especially for proper leg development, we’ve started feeding them fermented chick starter with nutritional yeast (about a teaspoon) sprinkled on top. The ducklings will be able to do some limited foraging in their run – the grass is lush and craneflies are plentiful now – so it may not be entirely necessary, but better safe than sorry. Muscovies, particularly the drakes, have impressively thick, powerful legs, so we want these guys to start out right.