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.
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.
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?