Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Terrible mother ducks

Some ducks should not have ducklings. The latest mother duck was a case in point. She sat for weeks and successfully hatched a large brood of about 16 ducklings. Despite an early loss of one duckling, we managed to get her into the duck pen and for a few days all was well. The ducklings appeared to thrive as they had plenty of clean water, food and a clean area in which to live. Then one by one the ducklings started to die of broken necks.
My husband first accused the puppies but they could not get in the pen. Then we thought about other ducks. But we ruled that out as well. The ducklings were always fine when the other ducks were around. Finally, we came to the sad conclusion that the mother duck was killing them for some reason.
We opened the pen and let the mother duck and her one remaining duckling out. The next day, my husband and eldest came on the duckling abandoned and cheeping its head off. They brought the duckling food and water but it died.
After its death, the mother duck spent the entire next day mournfully going around the garden looking for her lost ducklings.
Can ducks suffer from psychotic post natal depression?

1 comment:

Caroline said...

How sad! I've read about animals who just don't cut it as natural mothers - some lions will eat their cubs and it's not just animals (humans do it (not eat but they are cruel)- something called Muchausens Disease I recall). So maybe your duck was one of these animals not predisposed to being a good (duck) mother. Take care. Caroline x