Posts Tagged ‘Muscovy ducklings’

Someone, over the past couple of weeks, has asked me how the Muscovy ducklings are doing?  Well, right now they are thriving.

Molly (their Mum) had 17 babies in the middle of May.  This was a month earlier than she had hatched her babies last year.  May here was bitterly cold and very windy.

Molly was still very proud of her babies and was delighted to show them off to whoever called.  Then when they were about 10 days old, I could only count 16. One was gone.  Without a trace. We’ve never discovered what took it.  A preying bird?  No idea.

When the babies were about 2 weeks old I noticed one of them was panting and having difficulty breathing.  I called my neighbour, Annette, who’s the resident Doctor Doolittle.  Bless her she came around immediately.  By the time she arrived a couple of minutes after I called her, another had started this panting.

Thriving ducklings

Thriving ducklings

We thought they had eaten something and that they were choking.  We tried massage, olive oil, anything we could think of, but it didn’t seem to ease their difficulty.  One actually died that afternoon.

This was all just as we were heading into a crazy busy time with AirBnB guests. Annette kindly took the sickly duckling away with her to nurse it over the weekend.  Then a few days later 3 more started the same panting.

The upshot despite antibiotics all 4 died within a week.  We were heartbroken.

Then another just ‘disappeared’ another predator.

Some of the 10 remaining ducklings developed milder panting symptoms so we dosed them with porridge mixed with dandelion and/or nettle tea.  Apple cider vinegar was also added to their water.

What caused this panting?  The vet suggests mouldy hay (we don’t have hay here), or stagnant water – again we’re not sure where they could have accessed stagnant water – but we do allow free ranging on the property.

It is truly awful when an animal/bird you have nurtured and fed dies.  Especially so when they haven’t had a good old shot at life.

In retrospect maybe I am at fault that I didn’t take more eggs away from under Molly.  Seventeen babies were just too many for her to mind.

Still enjoying their porridge!

Still enjoying their porridge!

The remaining 10, at almost 7 weeks old, are thriving, thankfully.  They are loosing the ‘baby’ look, and are starting to develop wings….. but they are still incredibly cute!


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You’ll all have been blown away by the lovely photo of Molly and her babies last week.  Well I’m glad to say they are thriving 🙂

She’s even taken them to the pond…. scared the living daylights out of me.  There are cattle in the field too.  She took on two of the cows who attempted to get close to babies…. and she won 🙂

Lifeguard on duty

Lifeguard on duty

When we had our chick born here last year I enquired locally about buying chick feed – the technical term is ‘chick crumb’ – the smallest bag I could get was huge!  And was full of gm maize and corn so I resorted to making my own.

When it came to feeding the ducklings I didn’t even try to buy stuff, I just went on the old ‘google’ and did some research.  Ducklings can tolerate a slightly different feed to chicks.  So I will share the recipe I am using.

As an aside…. I am buying the seeds and dry fruits in our local Aldi store.  I am sure when the high powered Buyers and Marketeers sat down and decided to introduce this new range of seeds…. Duck Feed was not on their list.  I would love to know their reaction 🙂  It makes me giggle at the thought of them sitting there in their suits… thinking healthy breads and breakfasts!  Not Duck Feed!

Seed mix for ducklings

Seed mix for ducklings


  • 200 gr  Rolled Barley
  • 200 gr Porridge Oats
  • 70 gr Sunflower Seeds
  • 70 gr Pumpkin Seeds
  • 70 gr Lentils
  • 50 gr wheatgerm
  • 50 gr sesame seeds
  • 20 gr linseed/flax seeds
  • Sprinkling of dried fruit


I know – I’m probably just being fussy – but I blitz down the first four ingredients…. the pumpkin seeds are the hardest to blitz.  Then just add in the rest of the ingredients.

When I made the first batch it lasted almost the entire week.  This week – there are 11 ducklings – I am making it every second day.  So next week I may resort to making a bigger batch at a time.

Have you guessed that I am a little besotted with these ducklings?


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