Rescue the baby duck on my Ranch a couple of years ago I am his flock now and I would like to know w

Asked November 11, 2018, 4:23 PM EST

I rescued a duck that was a little baby that came on the property my Ranch a couple of years back there were about 12 ducklings with their mother every couple of days the ducklings got fewer and fewer until one day there was just one little duckling that couldn't get out of the water his feathers were too wet I guess well now he's big I'm his flock from what I understand I thought I would be able to raise him and let him go at this beautiful pond in front of Baptist hospital here in Miami Florida where there are lots of other ducks he's very attached to me and I love him very much as well I am an animal person but it is very very difficult for me and he cannot be happy what I have to leave the house he's never in a cage unless I leave the house which fortunately I'm here most of the time but it's getting very hard and I want to know if there's anything I can do to get him used to the other ducks that he could have a better life even though I would probably miss him very much from what I've Been Told that it's too late I'm his flock now and he'll never adapt to other ducks and I'm praying somebody can tell me different please let me know at your earliest convenience my number is 305 776 6460 very best regards John T

Miami-Dade County Florida

1 Response

Thank you for your question. I'm not an expert in imprinting. Filial imprinting is a process by which young animals learn various behaviors from their parents. This process is best known in nidifugous birds. These are birds that leave the nest shortly after hatching, such as geese and ducks. Konrad Lorenz, the animal behaviorist and zoologist, thought this imprinting occurred in the first 13 - 16 hours after the bird hatched. You mention watching these ducklings over a period of days, until just one duck remained, so it's possible that your duck imprinted on its mother and it may recognize other ducks if it is introduced to them.

There are several wildlife rescue/rehabilitation centers located in Miami. I recommend that you contact one of these to get their opinion:

Duck Haven:

South Florida Wildlife Center:

Wildlife Rescue of Dade County:

I hope this information helps, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.