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Thread: Ways to improve survival rates among wild Mallard ducklings please?

  1. #1

    Ways to improve survival rates among wild Mallard ducklings please?

    Hi all, some of you may remember from last year that I sorted out a miniature pond on some ground I shoot, with the intention of shooting a few ducks and generally improving the species diversity of the area. The project was a success and I did shoot a few Mallard over the winter, then I left the area to go a bit wild for a couple of months without feeding it. I went there last evening to see how it was looking and was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of adult Mallard together with a gang of 8 ducklings swimming about. What I'm after now really is any advice on how to give these little chaps the best start in life.......should I feed anything? and is there a particular species of vermin that I should attempt to eradicate? any other tips?? thanks

  2. #2
    rats ,cats ,mink, foxes,herons,some gulls all will predate at the drop of a hat on ducklings , a few tunnel traps set around the pond will take care of some on that list the others take a bit more dissuading
    a barony original

  3. #3
    If there is food and cover from predators then they should do alright. They need lots of insects to thrive and can quickly starve out if the weather turns cold. Some people have had success by introducing hight protein chick crumbs in a feeder, but the biggest problem with that is stopping adult ducks scoffing the lot. The perfect pond would also have islands were the ducklings can get sanctuary from most land predators and lots of emergent vegatation where they can hide from avian predators, whether that be a carrion crow or a harrier. The perfect pond would also have no pike, they can decimate ducklings. It is a hard and often a short life being a duckling, they are pretty much bottom of the food chain.

  4. #4
    The little pond has a tiny island, plenty of vegetation on the banks and certainly has no pike, so perhaps I've provided them with a decent chance already. I thought about putting some rotting fruit down there to attract insects for them to eat but I guess that would be likely to attract rats? I realise that the odds are stacked against them but it would be good to see a couple survive into adulthood.

  5. #5
    As mentioned above regarding predators, just been watching a pair of carrion crows decimate a brood of young mallard must be feeding young as they are returning every ten minutes for another couple, soon be none left, unfortunatley it's not my ground so can do nothing about it

    How old are the ducklings on your pond just hatched or a bit older, a ducks instinct is to take her youngsters to water as soon as they hatch, this is often detramental to them as believe it or not newly hatched ducklings will often drown or the cold water gets them, ducklings with the best chance of survival are those born some distance
    from water the longer it takes to get to water the better, mallard often nest on heather moorland quite some distance from any significant water, these ducklings seem to have a better survival rate.

  6. #6
    Mallard populations have crashed around here. Fewer shoots rearing. Predation growing exponentially. Protected, Badgers, Buzzards and Otters seem to be thriving on the remaining wild stock. Good luck trying to protect your brood.

  7. #7
    I used to have major problems with wild broods being decimated by crows, Mallard have large broods simply because the young are so vulnerable. They also have the unfortunate habit of settling down at night on ground near the pond where the young are often picked off by any passing predator.

  8. #8
    I doubt they will stay around very long. The clutches that are born on my ponds rarely stay more than two days before they are taken off towards the nearby river and lake. 2 days ago there was a brood of 8 with their mother, yesterday they were led off down the track toward the river that feeds into a lake with large reed-beds about a mile away. Yours might have gone by tomorrow morning.

  9. #9
    string some wires across one end of it about 18-24" off the water about 2-3ft apart- Stops swooping predators and give a sheltered area that won't stop ducks taking off.

    if you want to create a phytoplankton bloom (little crunchy stuff ducks eat) you have to start with an algal bloom (little green stuff the crunchy stuff eats)- may sound counter intuitive but a good scoop of Nitram fertiliser will start you off in no time and right now is a good time to do it as the water temp gets up and the days get longer and brighter

    other that shoot anything with four legs within 200yds of the pond!

  10. #10
    if you want to make a green soup for fleas and bugs daphnia chop a few lettuce up and toss them in,

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