Why is this duckling following a model mother?

It has been known for a long time that the young of ducks, geese and chickens sometimes behave very strangely after hatching. If the parent duck, for example, is absent for some reason, ducklings will form an attachment to any object or person that comes close to them. To them, the new object or person becomes their mother and they will trail behind if the mother moves. Let’s know why is this duckling following a model mother.

Why is this duckling following a model mother?

It seems that the strong attachment is made at a particular time after hatching and if the parent bird should appear later it will be ignored by the duckling. Some very strange friendships indeed have been made by young birds. One became firmly attached to a ping-pong ball, imagining it to be its mother, and others have adopted a person as their parent, following him everywhere.

When the ducklings hatch normally they form this strong attachment to their natural mother, of course. This ensures that when she leaves the nest and waddles to the comparative safety of the water, they will all waddle closely behind. They realize at this time that they are ducks and not ping pong balls or people, and so will be able to recognize their own kind later in life.

Why is this duckling following a model mother

The newly hatched duckling (above) will adopt an artificial mother in the absence of its real mother. It will even climb obstacles to follow a model duck.

Where do ugly muscovies come from?

You may be feeding the ducks one day when a scruffy fat duck with a red knobby face and black and white plumage swims on the scene. This is a Muscovy duck and others will probably soon appear although all will have slightly different plumage.

Why is this duckling following a model mother

All these red-faced ducks are Muscovy Ducks although they have quite a different coloring.

Muscovites originally came from the forests of Central and South America. There the wild birds are much more attractive with glossy green feathers. Centuries of Domestication have resulted in the muscovies having a rather drab appearance and varied coloring.

Why is this duckling following a model mother

The male Mallard (left) loses its colorful plumage at the end of the breeding season. The Mallard’s feet (right) are strongly webbed like all ducks.

Which duck provides eiderdown?

As you snuggle under your soft and beautifully warm eiderdown, spare a thought for the Eider Ducks from whose nests the down is collected. Eider ducks are northern sea ducks and breed in colonies on the coast. The man soon realized the value of the down which the birds pluck from their breasts to line their nest.

In Scandinavia and Iceland, the birds are encouraged to breed in specially prepared and protected areas. The down is harvested from these eiderdown farms twice in each breeding season.

Why is this duckling following a model mother

The down from the Eider Duck (right) is also used in sleeping bags.

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