Baby Whistling Ducks

By Harrison Edell, General Curator

Recently, in an artificial incubator, a clutch of ten Fulvous whistling ducks hatched under the watchful eyes of the bird keepers.

Ideally, mom would incubate and care for them but in this case the nest was built in an unsafe spot and mom, (who is a first-time mother) wasn’t interested in keeping the nest. Since she abandoned the eggs the keepers started artificial incubation which includes close monitoring of heat, humidity and weight. They also turned the eggs five times a day until they hatched.

On the morning of February 24th, the first egg started hatching and by the end of the day ten ducklings were hatched, checked by the veterinarian and were cozy with their artificial mom, the feather duster.

Here is video of some of the ducklings within a couple hours of hatching. Or view the video on Youtube.

The baby ducks will stay indoors for a few more weeks, warm and safe, then will start to venture outdoors to a safe, off-exhibit outdoor yard. Once they’re a bit bigger and have received all of their vaccinations they will likely be introduced to an adult “buddy” or two before moving back up to the lake when they are two to three months old.

In the picture and video below you can see the ducklings are having bath time and are learning to preen, swim and dive underwater. Or view the video on Youtube.

If you are at the Zoo, try to find the young White-faced whistling ducks that were hatched last year. They're faces are just a bit darker than the older ducks.
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