I told Mabel that these were our babies and we had to protect them and she was in charge of racoons. The babies and their mom seemed to be a non issue. Mabel would notice / acknowledge and get on with her business.
We got used to their comings and goings. Mallory Mallard had a routine of swim, walk, hunt, sleep that was repeated many times a day.
Babies resting after a swim
Marching back from a hunt
Mallory and "Evan" - the name we gave the last duckling - there was always one - that wasn't with the others.
But seconds after that photo was taken, Mabel tired of her auntie (my hiking buddy) and her mom admiring the ducks. I could tell by her body language that it was jealousy! Even though auntie was petting her, she had had enough. She took off for the ducks! I took off to body check her and yelled for auntie to get the water hose.
Auntie instead threw big pieces of pottery off my porch! I was terrified it wouldn't be Mabel that hurt the ducks but that they would be smashed!
I shooed Mabel away and as all the ducklings got in the water safely. It was terrifying! Mabel got a good hose down for her actions and stayed in the proverbial doghouse for a long time.
But it freaked her auntie out so bad, she started doing research... it would be 2 months before they could fly! Could I / Mabel handle two months of this? In prime swimming season??? Hmmm.