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20 April 2007 @ 04:55 pm
Ah... a family of ducks have just walked past the office. Or scurried, in the case of the ducklings that were falling behind.
Three of them had great difficulty getting up the kerb. A colleague leaned down to give one a hand, but I think the shock was enough to get it to jump higher. The parents didn't wait until all three were up. I wonder what would have happened if they hadn't made it? Would the parents have gone a certain distance & then waited, or gone back to help or find another way?
at least 10% Discocuntbiascut on April 20th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC)
There are trillions of geese and ducks on York's campus, so I've been observing them every year for the past seven years, and basically, ducks and geese have totally different approaches to parenting. Geese are like, "You LOOKED at my child? You LOOKED at her? Don't you dare! Don't even THINK about it!" Ducks are more of the, "Eh, well, I had six this morning and there's still five left - result!" school of thought.

I've watched loads of adult ducks just wander or swim off on their way and leave the small ones to figure it out for themselves. A mother duck jumped off on of the bridges on campus into the lake five feet below, and there were all these tiny, tiny little ducklings peering over the edge trying to work out whether it was scarier to get left behind or to jump. Poor little things!
a very caring potato: a penguin in the handmollydot on April 20th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
Aw.. the poor little things. Do ducks have more offspring than geese to start with?

I remember reading a SF book (Brightness Reef), which was mostly written from the point of view of members of different intelligent alien species. One of the species had lots of offspring and the parents just didn't care about the individual children. It was really weird reading about an intelligent being (as opposed to, say, a turtle) that didn't care about its children, but wasn't a bad person.
at least 10% Discocuntbiascut on April 20th, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
I think so, having observed them. Generally, ducks seem to have at least five and possibly up to ten or twelve, but I've never seen more than three goslings and one or two is more usual.
a very caring potatomollydot on April 20th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
That might be it then. I heard the phrases "high k" and "low k" to describe the two situations, though googling isn't finding anything useful now. We're definitely low k: generally one child at a time, not a huge amount of children in total, lots of care given to each. Frogs are definitely high k: lots of frog spawn in one go, entirely left alone. Perhaps ducks are in between. They do seem to care to some degree and do look after the kids once they're born, but don't appear to worry so much about each individual.
Blinkunblinkered on April 20th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
Awwww. I found myself driving through the backlanes of Monaghan last night and met two bunny wabbits. I *heart* spring. That said, though, I'm not too sure your duck parents would've waited - if my experience with (admittedly domestic) ducks is anything to go by, ducks have little regard for health and safety. We once spent an hour knee deep in water trying to rescue a bunch of ducklings that had been taken for a swim by their mum. In a fast moving river.
a very caring potato: just keep swimmingmollydot on April 20th, 2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
Doh! Silly mum!
Blinkunblinkered on April 20th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
V Silly. We retrieved all of them and suffered only one fatality from 8 ducklings, but kept the five most distressed and cold looking ones hanging over the kitchen range in various socks overnight, drying out and warming up. You've not lived until you've walked into a kitchen half asleep, to five little yellow heads sticking out of five different coloured socks, chirping at you expectantly!
a very caring potato: squee!mollydot on April 20th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
OMG!!!! So cute!!!!!
Pretend I didn't use this icon for the post and that it is especially for your comment.
Blinkunblinkered on April 20th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
Heeee. I shall! :D
Caturah Winterhartcaturah on April 20th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
I'm curious then what you'd think of those species of bird who have at most 2 or 3 chicks, but due to inter-chick bullying tactics (which the parent does nothing to prevent), only one chick survives to adulthood.
a very caring potato: peekmollydot on April 20th, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
Ok, taking into account that I am far from an expert, if they look after the one after it survives, I'd still happily put it into low K, with a slightly delayed definition of "born".
Also, these are only descriptions of strategies (have lots, some will survive vs have few take, take care of them), rather than strict rules. I imagine letting the two or three fight it out means that there's one stronger one that you can lavish all your care/food one, without having to share it with the weaker, less likely to survive, ones.
Caturah Winterhartcaturah on April 20th, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC)
I know of some species where the chicks are born at the same time in the senario I mentioned above, so in that situation, it is the strongest who wins out and thus, the healtiest survives.

But in other species, the eggs are laid and thus hatch up to 5-7 days apart, so the oldest is always going to be the one who wins out regardless.
a very caring potatomollydot on April 20th, 2007 08:16 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Odd. The only value I can see in that is that if the oldest is weak or damaged in some way, there'll be a quick replacement. Can you give me any example of species? I wonder how long they're in the egg. My suggestion makes more sense if they're a long time there, as if it's short, it would surely make more sense to lay a replacement when the hatched one proves to be weak/damaged.
Caturah Winterhartcaturah on April 22nd, 2007 11:39 am (UTC)
Google fu has failed me utterly.

In my examples, the birds that lay and have the eggs hatch several days appart were a species of bird from the galapagos.

The birds that lay and have the eggs hatch together, but still lose all but one chick to fighting are a native of the mangrove swamps part of the world.

I'm sorry, I know that isn't very clear, or the proper kind of example you wanted, but it's all I can remember right now.
Caturah Winterhartcaturah on April 22nd, 2007 11:48 am (UTC)
Yah Kiffer!

His google fu is better than mine.

The Galapagos species I was refering to is, as far as I'm sure, the masked boobie.
a very caring potato: boobiesmollydot on April 22nd, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)

Though these ones are blue footed, not masked.
 dudi killimengri: Partridge Hen in a Baby Apple Treekillimengri on April 21st, 2007 10:12 am (UTC)
I'm writing this with a chicklything in my shirt! Her mother rejected her, but sat broody-wise on the dead chick! I rescued this 1 from my yard. Both chicks must have fallen off a 7'+ wall as hen went broody up there. Forget the goose ~ Andy Gander is there protecting Lucy, he even attacks any vehicles that drive into the yard! Only I'm safe here from him, but Lucy hisses & goes for me whenever I feed her. None of the ducks have gone broody. The Aracauna seems to have no idea, but the Silkies & definitely the Cochins are brilliant mums. Sundae, the cockerel, proved a good mum to the older chicks last year... Welsummers don't do broody as a rule.
a very caring potato: penguin burstmollydot on April 21st, 2007 11:16 pm (UTC)
Rejected the live one and looked after the dead one? That's a fairly screwed up bird!
 dudi killimengri: Partridge Hen in a Baby Apple Treekillimengri on April 22nd, 2007 11:11 am (UTC)
It could be that I took the spreadeagled 1 from the yard & it smelt of me & not her. It was her first brood. I've introduced older incubated chicks to mother hens & had them accepted & had a Cochin try to steall ALL the babies, beseiging the other mothers in a broddy house! I had to remove her & her chicks to another house. Chicklything survived the night & is back in my shirt, scrabbling up my back. I really hope that I get a hatch on Friday so there are more babies for her to mix with. She's already starting to feather up ~ wing feathers are forming...
a very caring potatomollydot on April 22nd, 2007 08:14 pm (UTC)
Ah, that could be it. Good luck with them.
 dudi killimengrikillimengri on April 22nd, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you