|MadSci Network: General Biology|
Baby ducks are in the category of hatchlings called "precocial", which means that they can leave the nest and pick up food immediately after hatching. In many birds with these types of babies the babies also "imprint" on the first animal they see, which is usually the mother. In this way they are led to the correct foods, are taught to hide when danger threatens, and can be defended if a predator attacks. Imprinting on something other than the mother bird will most likely prove fatal to the baby bird. It is this instinct that leads baby ducks to follow their mothers.
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