True story: my father was allergic to dogs (their dander, not their fur…we couldn’t even get a dog with hair!) and yet I’ve always been a dog person.
Unfortunately, that meant a five-year-old me trying to turn whatever pet I was allowed to have into a dog.
My mother even found me taping a string of yarn to a hermit crab one time in an attempt to “walk” him. Needless to say, she felt pretty bad for me. I couldn’t have a dog, but it was clear that I so desperately needed one. Perhaps that’s why she JUMPED at the opportunity to raise ducks when presented with an incubator full of eggs that her co-teacher asked her to take off her hands.
Thus, I am an avid duck enthusiast. From age 5 – 18 I helped my mom raise pedigree ducks with her class every year. Here are some unexpected things about ducks that I learned as a stand-in for a duck mom. I hope you enjoy, and please remember to SHARE this ducky awesomeness with all of your friends!
Make sure you scroll down to see the video at the end!!
1. When constructing her nest, a mama duck will pluck feathers from her own breast to give her eggs the best possible cushioning and insulation. Plus, down is comfy.
2. There are more than FORTY breeds of domestic ducks, producing all different colors of ducklings. This little dude with raccoon coloring is called a Rowan duck. He'll grow up to be brown.
This little lump of love is called a BLACK SWEDISH. He may look like a bumble bee, but he doesn't sting. However, his name should totally be Buzzy.
3. The average duckling weighs 36.2 grams., easily supported by an average lilypad. You know what that means: DUCKLINGS CAN SKIP ACROSS LILY PADS!
4. Ducklings are born with a pre-programmed drive to IMPRINT on their mother. That means they become incredibly attached to the first moving object they encounter, and will follow said object literally EVERYWHERE!
...However, if ducks are hatched in an incubator, they'll make whatever moving object they see the subject of their imprinting. In this unbelievably adorable case, these ducklings have imprinted on a chubby corgi.
"Are you my mom?"
5. Ducklings are born with a sharp tip on their beak called an "egg tooth" that they use to peck through their egg. The egg tooth falls off during the duckling's first few days of life, but you can see this little guy's in this awesome macro photo:
6. During the first month or so of life, ducklings DO NOT QUACK...they peep! Their voices change at about 4 - 5 weeks from peeps to quacks, and the process doesn't sound too different from a young man going through puberty!
7. If you raise ducklings as pets, you should NEVER let them swim unattended. Believe it or not, in their early life they drown quite easily because their down doesn't yet produce oil that wicks water from their feathers and keeps them afloat..
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