I have four, month old ducklings. When I first got them, I held them for a couple of hours a day and they would just lay on my lap. They would cheep at me when they would see me, and they enjoyed my company.
About a week ago, we moved our ducklings from their inside brooder, to their outdoor pen. They have been skiddish since they have been outside. In our backyard we have three dogs (they aren't always outside, but they are out a lot when the weather is nice), and they are also right next to a chicken pen, but the chickens free roam during the day time. Whenever the hens call after laying an egg, the ducklings freak out. When I'm in the pen, and my dogs are outside, the dogs are generally on the outside of the pen because I'm there. The ducklings seem skiddish around them too. My neighbor was mowing her horse pasture the other day, and they flipped out. It's also been quite windy here. We have done what we can to the sides of their pen so that they don't get a draft, but it does make a noise. I don't know if all of these factors are playing into their skiddishness or what. When it is night time, and the chickens are put up, nobody is doing yardwork, and my dogs are inside, they are more inclined for me to give them pets and loving.
When I come outside, they "talk" to me. Sometimes, they will run towards me, other times they will run away from me. It seems like they wander more towards me at night time. Whenever I catch a duckling, and hold it, it is calm (for the most part, eventually they get tired of it), but I mostly have to "chase" them down to catch them.
Bottom line is, are they just becoming more skiddish as they are growing older? Is that in a duck's nature? Or is it that they are acclimating to their surroundings?
Is there anything I can do, to get them to be more relaxed around myself, or the other animals?
I'd appreciate any advice that you can give me. I really do not want my ducklings to begin to not want anything to do with me. :/