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Help - how long do imprinted ducklings stay 'needy'?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

We have 2 gorgeous ducklings that are now 4 weeks old - Daisy and Arlo (a welsh harlequin and a magpie duck).  Pics below are of them at 2 days old and at 3-4 weeks.

 

This is our first time with ducklings.  We purchased them a day after hatching and have hand-raised them ever since.  They have imprinted on us, which has been really lovely (apart from the mess) and extremely entertaining! This has worked out great over the summer holidays (we're in New Zealand) when there has always been someone around to entertain, but with school and work looming I'm starting to get a bit concerned.

 

They currently hang around in our courtyard next to the house, where they can hear and see us, and we can call out when they start calling for us. Daisy is quite content to sit in the garden for long periods, but Arlo gets quite anxious as soon as we're out of sight or earshot.  If we don't answer his peeps, he gets louder and louder and then starts Daisy off until they're both yelling!  I work from home and my office looks out onto the courtyard, so I'm in a position to reassure them out the window and pay them quick visits, but I'm not getting a whole lot of work done!

 

We're about to make a pen down in the garden away from the house, but I'm worried about leaving them alone there as I know Arlo with work himself into a lather, and the mother in me can't bear to hear him call out without reassuring him.  

 

But life needs to go on!  How long is this 'needy' phase likely to last?  Has anyone else been in this situation?

 

@Miss Lydia

@WVduckchick

@caesargirl

 

(an update for those above who were so helpful when these guys arrived!)

 

 


Edited by kiwichiks - 1/31/16 at 1:29pm
post #2 of 6
Hey, I can easily say for ever! I got two gooses and I had them from day one now they two years old and they think they part of the family like our dogs.

You can make them less needy by spending less time with them if you want. But do you really want to break that bond? I think it's price less!
Ps I love the pictures!
Judit
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyukanyo View Post

Hey, I can easily say for ever! I got two gooses and I had them from day one now they two years old and they think they part of the family like our dogs.

You can make them less needy by spending less time with them if you want. But do you really want to break that bond? I think it's price less!
Ps I love the pictures!
Judit

Yes, the bond is absolutely gorgeous - we're quite besotted with them and love having them as part of the family.  It would just be good to have them be content in a pen away from the house when necessary (especially now that the levels of poop by our front door are getting pretty gross!).  Thanks for your comments :) 

post #4 of 6

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.


Edited by Miss Lydia - 1/31/16 at 1:45pm

 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..

 

http://www.faithpot.com/you-cover-me/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email...

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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..

 

http://www.faithpot.com/you-cover-me/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email...

Reply
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Lydia View Post
 

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.

 

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwichiks View Post
 

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.

 

So they are like little puppies lol that is adorable. I really think if you go about it in the way your thinking it will be done and they will enjoy each others company along with you alls. The hardest thing for me was listening to him hitting the side of his bedroom wanting out I just went out a few times and reassured him he was okay he finally settled down once it got dark. whew. It's like having a baby and they are crying but you know nothing is wrong but they want you to get them up anyway when you just put them to bed. You are their flock they love you all. That is so precious your pic.  I never thought I could have such a close relationship with a duck they are very special. Let us know how it goes.

 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..

 

http://www.faithpot.com/you-cover-me/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email...

Reply

 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..

 

http://www.faithpot.com/you-cover-me/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email...

Reply
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