Little Mallard Becomes a Momma
Once upon a time there was a sweet little duck named, “Little Mallard.”
Raised in captivity, she lived next door to me, on the other side of this field of dry grass and weeds.
She longed to go next door because, from what she could tell, the grass really did look greener on the other side of the fence!
One day, Little Mallard decided to make the half-acre journey across the dry field by herself to get a closer look. When she did, she discovered a place under the fence that was just large enough for her to fit through, so she squeezed under, and snuck right into my backyard!
She LOVED the green grass over here, and the first thing she did was to look for yummy bugs!
Little Mallard also discovered that if she waited near the barn at a certain time and pretended to be a chicken, she could get a free meal of delicious pellets that I threw out every morning to my own chickens.
But, most of all, she loved swimming and cooling off in the small duck pond that I had made for MY little ducks!
Note: (If you’d like to make an easy drain, easy clean duck pond, like mine, go HERE).
This little pond was her own, personal oasis and it was just her size!
Her favorite thing to do was to flip her bottom in the air like a fishing bobber, sticking her legs straight out, while foraging for goodies at the bottom of the pond. She had not a care in the world!
Little Mallard spent a lot of time upside down like this, which always made me laugh!
Bottoms up! 😉
At first, in the evenings, Little Mallard would squeeze back through the hole in the fence and go back home to sleep. But, every morning, she would come right back to my yard to enjoy this new little paradise! After a month or so, she began sleeping in the chicken coop with my chickens and did not go home at night any more.
One day, I went out to do the morning chores and noticed that Little Mallard had met a new wild duck who had flown into the yard.
Her new friend, a handsome young male mallard, seemed just as enamored with her as she was with him.
For about three weeks, they were completely inseparable. They ate, looked for bugs, swam and slept next to each other. Although he was wild, the male mallard would actually let me walk right up close to him, since all he wanted was to be near Little Mallard.
One morning, Little Mallard didn’t show up for the morning feeding, and the male mallard had disappeared as well. She didn’t show up the next day, or the next day, or even the day after that, and I was starting to worry if something had happened to her as we have owls, hawks, and coyotes nearby!
After being gone for four days, I suddenly spotted her heading to the pond for a swim. Normally, Little Mallard would slowly meander over, checking the grass for bugs, and quacking here and there along the way…but not today! Little Mallard was definitely on a mission and in a hurry!
I walked over to her with some food and she acted a little wary of me. She didn’t want me to get very close, which wasn’t like her at all. So, I sprinkled some food nearby, backed away and Little Mallard ravenously gobbled it up. She was very hungry and I wondered if she might be nesting…but where?
As soon as she finished eating and taking her bath, Little Mallard took off and disappeared into the bushes in the side yard, right next to my house.
I quietly followed her, crouched down and carefully peeked though the bush she had disappeared behind.
There she was!! Little Mallard was sitting on a downy nest that she had made by plucking out her own feathers. When I leaned in a little closer towards her, I could tell she was trying to camouflage herself because she remained still as a mouse and didn’t move a muscle or even blink .
The next day, when I noticed Little Mallard taking another quick trip to the pond, I snuck out to her nest again to take another peek. Her eggs were completely covered with her soft downy feathers and I had no clue as to how many there were.
I couldn’t tell if she had any eggs at all under all these feathers.
Little Mallard continued this odd behavior every day for a month.
One morning, I walked out to check on the irrigation that had been running the night before. When I irrigate, our entire yard and pasture gets completely submerged with water. Peering out across the flooded pasture, I could see something moving in the distance. What is that, I wondered???
Little Mallard’s ducklings had hatched, and she was taking them out for their first swim! There were nine of them to be exact. Aren’t they adorable???!!!
Little Momma Mallard led them all over the flooded pasture and the little ducklings followed her everywhere! How amazing to be just one day old and already know how to swim!!
I was curious to see what the nest looked like now, so I walked over and this is what I found. There were two eggs left, which were duds, most likely. I could also see tiny bits of broken shell intermingled among the feathers. It’s hard to imagine that there were a total of eleven eggs secretly hidden in this nest!
For the next week, Momma Mallard wandered around the yard with her babies, as watchful as a mother can be. She was so proud of them!
Momma was also very protective! When anything got near her and the babies, she would open her mouth and make a hissing noise. Here she is telling me to back off after I had gotten just a little too close!
It was comical watching them too! For instance, sometimes the babies would squeeze through the mesh fencing, and waddle right on into the pasture to swim in the water puddles out there. Mama Mallard would pace up and down the fence line, frantically quacking, and very frustrated because she couldn’t fit through the holes to follow them!
All the while, the ducklings would pay her no mind and keep swimming away in the pasture puddles. I eventually had to gently “shoo” Mama towards a larger hole in the fence that she could fit through, so that she could join her ducklings on the other side.
For the first week, they spent most of their days splashing around and catching bugs in a nice deep puddle that was in the yard.
This little puddle was the perfect place for these sweet ducklings to play! Momma Mallard could watch over and protect them easily here!
The little ducklings were so fuzzy and cute to watch!
You can see how the oil in their feathers beads up and repels the water!
Here, Momma Mallard is teaching them how to sift through the mud and water to find little bugs.
She seemed to be saying, “Ok, kids, here’s how you do it…. First, scoop up some mud with your beak…
Now, sift through it with some water like this!”
They are all eager to learn, but it isn’t as easy as it looks!
Momma is such a good mother. She stays right by her little ducklings to keep a close eye on them while they learn and grow.
Don’t they look so soft and cuddly?
They spent most of the morning in the puddle, feeding and swimming. Ducks really do love water!
Now their tummies are full and the little ducklings are tired from swimming.
It’s time to head for the chicken coup to take a nap.
Through the grass and over the hills they tromped!
They’re almost there! I can see the chicken coop straight ahead!
Once they bedded down, they all cuddled up under her and went to sleep…well, most of them!
This little guy was not wanting to go to sleep yet, but Momma Mallard was very patient.
He eventually quieted down.
By the end of the week, Momma Mallard felt they were finally big enough to jump down a few inches into the deeper pond! Who wants to go first?
You can see one little duckling who has volunteered and has his wings spread out, getting ready to jump in! The others are not so sure and are waiting to see if all goes well…..
Once he was in safely, they all decided it was safe enough to jump in too!
The little ducklings swam and floated all around the little pool, enjoying the cool water and having a good ol’ time!
All the while, Momma Mallard remained close by, keeping a watchful eye!
Now, it’s time to dry off and rest after a good long swim…
Day after day, they continued to swim, hunt for food and enjoy the warm sunny days.
Now, after two weeks have passed, you can see how much these little duckling have grown! They’ve also become pros at finding bugs in the grass.
So much has happened since Momma Mallard snuck under the fence to see what was on the other side, and what a fun adventure it turned out to be!
I think they just might live happily ever after, don’t you?
I hope you enjoyed my little duck story! Let me know how you liked it in the comments below!
If you liked this story, be sure to check out my other animals stories below:
Little Mallard Becomes a Momma
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