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Rural Gardening: Duck Help Please, 1 by starsplitter7

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Subject: Duck Help Please

Forum: Rural Gardening

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starsplitter7 wrote:
Hello there,

I am mom to three 14 month old muscovy ducks. Their (wild) mom was killed May 2011 at an office park in Tampa, Fl the night before they hatched. Someone brought me the eggs and asked me to please hatch them. I figured they would go to a wildlife rehabber when they hatched, and I would be done. I live in Tampa, and so I am not really set up to have ducks. I love them dearly. I have a 6' privacy fence and built a coop for them at night. I have two females Drucilla and Twister (special needs duckie) and Beaker, my boy. (I would never remove a wild animal from its parents, take them from the wild and certainly didn't buy ducks for Easter, . . . but I can't stand by and see animals suffer, and these babies surely would have died.)

I would really appreciate some advice. I am an animal person, and own cats, ferrets, lizards, fish, dogs, (which is why the eggs were brought to me). . . but I have never kept ducks, chickens, . . . and I am at a loss.

Some of my questions and I have many more:
1.) Beaker is aggressive to everyone (although I can handle him -- he is my favorite). Is there anything I can do to reduce his aggression? I know if he lived in a larger flock he would be less aggressive. He is of course more aggressive when the girls are on eggs, and I understand that. Even people he has known since he was born he considers a threat. (But the ducks are good with animals -- birds, cats, squirrels, and I suspect the local racoons and opossums). Is there something I could be doing that could be making him aggressive without me knowing it? I would know what to do if he was a dog. :)

2.) Are there any rescues or people who keep muscovies as pets in Florida? I love these ducks and don't want to give them up, but I do not own this home and may need to move. I know it is illegal to release them since they are an invasive, exotic species (and yes, I know they are everywhere, but I understand the negative impact to the environment). They are also not really suited to being wild, since I have fed them all their lives, and they are not afraid of anything. Currently their wings are clipped, but soon they should molt. I feel responsible for them and to them.

3.) Twister is a special needs duck. Her neck bends to the right and she does not hold her head up. This does not stop her from running, swimming, being full of personality. This happened when she was 5 days old, but I do not know what happened. I thought it would self-correct. It has not. It is not broken. I can move it in all directions and she can fully preen herself. Any ideas?

4.) I feed them flockraiser, bird seed, romaine lettuce and meal worms. I also flip my compost heap and let them catch bugs and worms. Anything else I should be feeding them? (They will not change food -- tried them on layer food to increase calcium -- they refused to eat and will not change brands.) They also catch bugs and various critters in the yard. I bought a bag of crushed oyster shell to put in their food. Is that recommended? (I am sorry I am so ignorant about these critters. I have done a lot of reading and talking to people at feed stores).

5.) Because I can not have ducklings, I shake newly laid eggs or give them to neighbors to eat. Is it better for Drucilla and Twister to sit on the eggs or have the eggs removed? I mean mentally, physically, emotionally. . . .

Any help would be greatly appreciated, especially advice on homing these guys. I would like them within two hours of me so I could visit, but I would be willing to drive a few hundred miles to give them a good home. I have done research on this and have not found found a perfect fit. I do have two possible alternatives if push comes to shove. Thank you.

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