Coraline’s ducklings are just over two weeks old now, and they’re healthy, active, worm-eating machines! Since the weather’s been so wet, the worms are practically crawling into our hands, so it doesn’t take much effort to collect quite a few for the ducklings.
Coraline has always enjoyed worms, just like the other Muscovies, so we figured we’d throw her a few to supplement her feed and the bugs she’s been catching in her pen. To our surprise, the little ones were running up and snatching worms away from her – even right from her bill! Some of the worms were monsters, too, up to four inches long and extra wriggly. It quickly became clear that these ducklings were born to eat worms. They have excellent eyesight and can spot an escaping worm and gobble it up in a flash.
The ducklings are primarily fed fermented feed – the worms are just a protein-packed snack. As a bonus, the ducklings have come to associate us with the worms now and come running when they see us. They’ll even take worms from our hands (sometimes grabbing fingers, too).
Coraline has lightened up a bit on her protectiveness and lets us get closer to the babies. She’s been trying to bathe in the shallow paint roller tray, but now that her ducklings are bigger, put a deeper tub in the enclosure so she can take a proper bath. To ensure the ducklings can get back out if they get in, we put a brick in the tub as a stepping stone of sorts. We suspect the ducklings can actually jump out of the tub, but better safe than sorry.
The ducklings did manage to get out of the enclosure once, too. It seems they went through the fence in a section where the secondary netting had been pushed out (we secured it afterward), then couldn’t get back in. Coraline was just waiting in the enclosure, since the opening was too small for her to follow the ducklings out. The ducklings were anxiously circling the pen, and seemed very relieved when we let them back in. Fortunately, all were present and accounted for.
They’re growing fast, as baby animals do. Soon, they’ll be as big or (in the case of the drakes) bigger than their mom, and they’ll graduate to foraging with the adults. Bring on the flies and grasshoppers – these guys will decimate them!