Originally Posted by Miss Lydia
At 4 weeks is when mama duck would be letting them grow up. I have a Muscovy drake that we raised from hatch didn't plan on it but mama decided when he hatched she didn't want him so we had no choice he imprinted on us With Opie I started letting him sleep in the duck house by the time he was 10 weeks old my ducks have their own stalls so he had his own bedroom It was hard on both of us but after about a week he got use to being out with the rest of the flock He is going on 5 yrs old now and is still very attached to us and us him. They really see you as their flock so it isn't going to be easy to break that bond. Start by letting them spend a few hours there daily making sure they are safe and have all they need food water and of course a pool they can easily get in and out of. Then gradually start leaving them longer, you should visit about every 2 hrs though just to let them know your close by. I am retired so I have always been able to be out with Opie and the rest of the flock any time I wanted to be. When we let our ducklings imprint it can be a life long enjoyable relationship and a commitment since we are the ones that began this in the first place. I don't know why you want their house away from your house make them more secure by keeping them close all my duck/goose and chicken houses are right by my house so I can always hear whats going on. Opie has bonded with his flock of females but is still our baby boy We love that relationship we have with him similar to our relationship we have with our dogs.
Gorgeous babies and now teenagers.
Thanks for your very helpful advice and I love your story about Opie! I should probably explain that we live in the suburbs on a very small section (yard), so the duckies will always be very close to the house. It is just that they are currently 'hanging out' in our concrete courtyard right outside our front door and pooping everywhere every 5 minutes! I'm having to hose it down every hour or so, so that we can get to and from our front door without standing in poop!
We ultimately want them around the other side of the house where there is grass and trees and they can poop to their hearts' content (and I can focus on getting my work done when necessary!). It's just that on the other side of the house they won't be able to see us, thus my concern about them getting anxious and calling out. They actually have their duck house there already and sleep the night there without any fuss, so I guess there's hope!
We adore our duckies and want to encourage the bond (our reason for hand rearing them in the first place!). But for practical purposes it would just be great if they were happy to be in the garden on the other side of the house, when necessary. They currently have their food, paddling pool, a couple of small gardens to forage in and lots of love and attention in the courtyard, so it's no wonder they're so happy there!
We'll try 'weaning' them into the new area as you suggest. And we'll do it over a weekend when we can spend lots of time with them in their new pen. Visiting them every hour or so shouldn't be a problem - I just know I'll get upset when I hear them calling out and I'll have to ignore them temporarily .
Thought you might enjoy the below pic - our duckies came on holiday with us a couple of week's ago and absolutely loved sitting around the campfire with us in the evenings (so much so that they made a huge fuss if we tried to put them to bed at their normal time!).
Thanks again for your help.