Big Daddy and the Ducklings

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We were in the process of moving the three little ducklings to the garage yesterday. My poor husband had to do most of the work due to my back being out the last few days. I had hubby put the transport bin outside for a bit so they could enjoy the air, and Big Daddy, our American buff gander, went wild. He wanted those babies. Geese have very strong parenting instincts, and it’s not uncommon for them to adopt goslings or even ducklings that are not their own.  I hadn’t thought to let Big Daddy give it a try, but the weather has been warm and he was very insistent, so we gave it a go. We checked on them several times throughout the day, and he was always happily guarding them. He showed them the swimming pool, the “coop”, and even how to forage.

Our Welsh harlequin ducks were not nearly as impressed. They have been wanting to set up their own little family. The girl, Rosalyn, has even taken to trying to hide her eggs across the bridge and under a tree. Pato, the drake, is right down rude to the new ducklings. He’s chased them a few times, but once Big Daddy caught him, the bullying was shut down quickly. I’m half tempted to let Pato and Rosalyn hatch out a brood of their own. The babies are cute, but I don’t want to push our luck with the neighbors. I guess we’ll just see how it goes.

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Here  the ducks are ignoring the babies!

Hubby went out to check on the little guys this morning, and everyone was doing great. Big Daddy pitched a fit when hubby got too close to his little ones which is perfect behavior for a gander. We’ll keep a close eye on them all for the next several days to make sure everything continues to go well, but so far the experiment has gone wonderfully. I’m happy for all the animals involved because the babies have someone to teach them how to be a waterfowl while they get to explore a natural environment. The flocks should integrate more quickly as well.

Lastly, I’m really happy for Big Daddy he’s seemed a bit forlorn since we lost one of our harlequin ladies and culled a pekin drake recently. The reduced numbers caused the harlequins to pair off, and he’s been a bit left out. I’m happy that he has a family to call his own now. I can’t wait until we move, and I can get him his own mate and watch him raise goslings from eggs with her.

I’ll leave of with some more pictures of my feathered children.

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Has anyone else had any interspecies adoptions on their homestead? How did it work out? Did you plan for them, or did they just happen?

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9 thoughts on “Big Daddy and the Ducklings

  1. Your writing is beautiful. The words come directly from the heart. Your stories create and joy as the readers places themselves in your shoes. Emotions we share with our pets are truly unconditional.
    I would also like to thank you for taking the time to read my article on Obesity. As a physician, I am trying to encourage dialogue on important health topics with information many are not frequently exposed to. I welcome your feedback on any article.
    By the way, you sound like you have a wonderful family relationship that has learned the art of communication. Stay healthy and happy.

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    • Thank you so much! I really enjoyed your blog as well. I know the struggles with weight all too well. This simple living homesteading journey I’m on is part of an attempt at a whole lifestyle change. Diets have not worked, and I realized I needed to change my relationship not just with food, but also with nature and where my food comes from if I was going to be healthy.We are trying to take small steps toward that goal. I knew that my family could not sustain an overnight change in everything that we eat and how we live, but the baby steps are working so far. We’ve gone meatless several days a week, and we are buying a lot more local produce. Once we get the homestead, we want to put in a big garden as well. I’ll be sure to check out more of your site for a medical perspective on these things! Thanks again for the lovely comment.

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  2. Great post! I think Big Daddy is Mr. Lonely. Maybe you’ll have to get him a mate. I like how he adopted the ducklings. We used to hatch out of duck eggs under broody hens. It was always funny when the little ducklings found the pond and the mother hen would go into a frenzy.

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    • If we get our homestead, one of the plans is to get cochin hens since they’re said to be so good at hatching out both turkeys and ducklings. I hadn’t thought of the reaction when the ducklings went for their first swim. That’s a hoot. I do hope we can find a lady for Big Daddy soon. He needs a girl. I would really like to get another American buff for him since one of our goals is to preserve heritage breeds. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. What a lovely post! I would have never guessed that a gander would take on orphaned ducks. We are currently waiting for my Polly to hatch her clutch. It should be at the end of this month, and now I can’t wait to see how Fredrik reacts to them!
    I’m so glad you found me as I will enjoy reading about you and your flock! 🙂

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    • Thank you! I’m glad I found you too. I love reading about your farmlet. It’s also nice to see another goose person on here. I like my ducks, but I LOVE that gander. I can’t wait to get more, but we have to wait until we move. Let me know how Fredrick does with the goslings. Today I put out some lettuce for Big Daddy, and he actually picked a few pieces up and carried them over to where the ducklings were resting almost like a momma robin taking worms back to the nest. I laughed watching him. He made sure each duckling had some before going to eat himself.

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