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how do I get my Muscovy hens to be more friendly towards me??

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

I got two Muscovy ducklings last summer and they have been wonderful. They were everything I wanted. After Christmas break was over, I went out to see them at 3:30 (like usually) however they showed aggressive behavior towards me. Now they have always been a little cranky after I got home but that day they didn't stop hissing at me. It's been about 2 weeks and they have been the worst. They have been trying to bit me, I don't feel comfortable around them without something to shoe them away. PLLLEEEAAASEE help, I just want my little babies back:( Any suggestions to make them more friendly or a solution of why they are like this or are they just growing out of the nest?

post #2 of 8

Have they started laying eggs yet? Their behavior changes sometimes once they start laying eggs, especially if they decide to go broody. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orca5094 View Post
 

Have they started laying eggs yet? Their behavior changes sometimes once they start laying eggs, especially if they decide to go broody. 

They are about six months and if I'm correct they start laying at eight months. Now, if they do get broody will it be difficult to take their eggs from them??

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by duckstogoaround View Post
 

They are about six months and if I'm correct they start laying at eight months. Now, if they do get broody will it be difficult to take their eggs from them??

I take my Scovy's eggs every time they lay, can't say they are happy about and a few will pinch but I do it anyway. If your worried about getting pinched and believe me it can hurt lol wear long sleeves and gloves, but don't be afraid of your Scovy's they need to see you as their leader.

 Western N.C ~ 17 chickens= EE's, Game, variety of bantams,1Light Brahma, 2 Black Australorps . 5 Muscovy ducks, 8 Indian Runners and 2 Buff Orpington Ducks, 1 Embden gander,1 Toulouse goose , 3 mini Dachshunds, 2 mixed breed, pond goldfish,  and a wonderful Husband who makes it all possible..

 

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God ~C.S.Lewis~

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 Western N.C ~ 17 chickens= EE's, Game, variety of bantams,1Light Brahma, 2 Black Australorps . 5 Muscovy ducks, 8 Indian Runners and 2 Buff Orpington Ducks, 1 Embden gander,1 Toulouse goose , 3 mini Dachshunds, 2 mixed breed, pond goldfish,  and a wonderful Husband who makes it all possible..

 

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God ~C.S.Lewis~

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post #5 of 8

Hand feeding and daily ignoring :D

 

You're dealing with a prey animal, so right out the bat any attempts to move towards them get a retreat response.  The only part of them at first that wants any part of you is the OMG FOOD! part, so when you do engage them, treat liberally. 

 

Wandering around the yard doing things near them but not paying any attention to them  - and using an unavailable posture, as if you have something you don't want to share should engage their interest once they've gotten used to just having you around doing stuff in the background -  Till they are sure you're not going to do anything sudden.  By this point they may already be investigating you and shadowing you looking to see if you've turned anything over that might be hiding something edible.  I'll pull weeds and toss them any worms I find. Casually though.  Surreptitious duck baiting.  Haha.

 

I put the treats in the palm of my hand, fingers down, from a crouching position so they have to put their entire head over my fingers to get the treat.  After a few days of this they may be willing to hang out and nibble your fingers.  Once they're willing to do that, I start wiggling my fingers under their chins - chucking them under the chin a little while they are having treats - getting them used to my hands moving and seeing that as a source of good things.  From there I got them slowly used to being petted different places.

 

I always try to end on a good note - if I've pushed the ducky comfort zone, I'll treat again in a way that makes them remember me as the nice lady, not the scary lady. 

 

I also hang out for a bit after treats and stay squatty and low and let them investigate my shoes or my sweatshirt.

 

It took about three months to get them almost to lap duck stage after they decided I was okay, but that did take awhile.  Admittedly I wasn't all that available to take the time till after thanksgiving, so before that, they saw me twice a day for feeds, let outs and put aways, but I didn't hang out and chat and head bob back at them or really try to interact.  Starting early might get even better results.  I think in a way, it took about till they fledged for them to even get past that purely reactive state of being.  Everything was a threat and they seemed to have only fear and food about till they feathered.

 

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by duckstogoaround View Post
 

Hi all,

I got two Muscovy ducklings last summer and they have been wonderful. They were everything I wanted. After Christmas break was over, I went out to see them at 3:30 (like usually) however they showed aggressive behavior towards me. Now they have always been a little cranky after I got home but that day they didn't stop hissing at me. It's been about 2 weeks and they have been the worst. They have been trying to bit me, I don't feel comfortable around them without something to shoe them away. PLLLEEEAAASEE help, I just want my little babies back:( Any suggestions to make them more friendly or a solution of why they are like this or are they just growing out of the nest?


Do you have any other animals you could reprimand in their presence?  I get mad street credit in duck world when I tell the dog no in front of them.  Different responses at different times of the day is kind of interesting, do you think there's anything in their routine that might be throwing them off?  It might be a courtship thing between them - my boy gets all puffed up at me every now and again, and when I first started picking up his girls he was vibrating at me.  Once he realized I was going to return them, he chilled out.  Once I picked him up he chilled out.  He hadn't had the lap = head in treat bag experience yet.

 

The girls will chuckle at me as well if the drake is chatting me up too much.  He's theirs and they're willing to let him socialize a bit, but they start to nag him  and nip at him if he is too friendly.  I kind of watch the dynamic between them, since t'is the season for hormonal behavior, so I've been conscientious not to be threatening to anyones ducky feelings. If someone is getting too het up, the treats come out and I back off.  Handfull of sunflower seeds one at a time, lettuce one leaf at a time, just so long as it's by hand.  If they get too pushy, I put my hand in the middle of their chest and gently push them back or stand up and make them jump for them.

 

Duck beak when you're ready for it isn't all that bad so long as they don't get you in the eye.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by HnkyDnkyZZFarm View Post
 

Hand feeding and daily ignoring :D

 

You're dealing with a prey animal, so right out the bat any attempts to move towards them get a retreat response.  The only part of them at first that wants any part of you is the OMG FOOD! part, so when you do engage them, treat liberally. 

 

Wandering around the yard doing things near them but not paying any attention to them  - and using an unavailable posture, as if you have something you don't want to share should engage their interest once they've gotten used to just having you around doing stuff in the background -  Till they are sure you're not going to do anything sudden.  By this point they may already be investigating you and shadowing you looking to see if you've turned anything over that might be hiding something edible.  I'll pull weeds and toss them any worms I find. Casually though.  Surreptitious duck baiting.  Haha.

 

I put the treats in the palm of my hand, fingers down, from a crouching position so they have to put their entire head over my fingers to get the treat.  After a few days of this they may be willing to hang out and nibble your fingers.  Once they're willing to do that, I start wiggling my fingers under their chins - chucking them under the chin a little while they are having treats - getting them used to my hands moving and seeing that as a source of good things.  From there I got them slowly used to being petted different places.

 

I always try to end on a good note - if I've pushed the ducky comfort zone, I'll treat again in a way that makes them remember me as the nice lady, not the scary lady. 

 

I also hang out for a bit after treats and stay squatty and low and let them investigate my shoes or my sweatshirt.

 

It took about three months to get them almost to lap duck stage after they decided I was okay, but that did take awhile.  Admittedly I wasn't all that available to take the time till after thanksgiving, so before that, they saw me twice a day for feeds, let outs and put aways, but I didn't hang out and chat and head bob back at them or really try to interact.  Starting early might get even better results.  I think in a way, it took about till they fledged for them to even get past that purely reactive state of being.  Everything was a threat and they seemed to have only fear and food about till they feathered.

 

 

I had my two ducks (a hen and a drake) for just over a year now and they are still not used to me. I got them as 4 months olds from a duck farm where they were hand raised and then let out with the rest of the ducks. I still have to chase them around to pick them up and they run away if i approach them. The hen is the one who seems to have a trust issue with humans, the drake just follows her, so if she runs he will too! I spend time with them twice a day during the week and more on the weekends, i always give them treats. They come to eat from my hand but only if my hand is stretched far away from me with palm open and full of treats, if my hand is close to me they won't come. I don't know what else to do to get them to accept me, Maybe it's just the way they are.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

I think they think they are in charge because they don't run away when I walk near them, they try to bite me. I've started petting them again just more quickly because if the want they can turn around and bite me. 

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