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Making friends with your ducks.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have five ducklings, three Khaki Campbells and two Runners, who are currently seven weeks old. I got them at a feed store when they were two-three weeks old, and they lived in my cousin's barn for a few weeks until I had a space ready for them. Whenever I come within fifty feet of their enclosure, they run and hide from me like I'm Godzilla. I kind of regret not getting them when they were younger, so they could become used to being handled regularly. Any tips for getting your ducklings to warm up to you? I'm not expecting them to become lap ducks, I just want to be able to interact with them without them running for cover as soon as they detect my presence. When I was in middle school, I raised two Rouens and a Pekin from several day old hatchlings, and while they never particularly liked being picked up, they would come to the fence for treats. I would like my ducks to eventually do something like that.

post #2 of 9

Food will be the big equalizer.  Feed them small quantities several times daily rather than feeding them as lib.  When they learn to associate you with food, they will become more social.  Move slowly and talk softly when you are providing feed.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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post #3 of 9

X2 what sourland offered.  And think in terms of size.  We're huge compared to a duck.  Intimidating even.  I always sit down near the ducks and dried meal worms are the one thing that gets them the most excited!  I get a red solo cup filled with dried meal worms and just shaking it, brings them running.  I crouch down and let them eat from my hand.  It'll take time but one or two will come around.  And once one of them eats from your hand, the others worn't be far behind.  We have a few who refuse, but I still toss them their fare share so they're not left out.

post #4 of 9
Peas might be the ticket. Never met a duck who can resist peas! Maybe sit by their coop or pen in a chair for 10 minutes a day and pass out peas, be quiet and slow like said above. They may never be "friendly" and want to be picked up, but they will probably learn to tolerate you. I've also found mine to go through this "godzilla" stage until around 12 weeks. I think they're freaked out by the world.
Edited by Kangasox - 5/23/16 at 11:58am
post #5 of 9

I had the same problem with my two terrible toddlers, even when they lived inside with me for 5 weeks.  It's natural instinct for them to freak a bit, but I was more worried about them tripping over there huge feet and hurting themselves :lau

 

I worked with mine and honestly, it only took a few days.  I let them sit on my lap, and even laid on the floor when they were walking around, just so they could get used to my movement.  When I moved them outside, I  would sit either next to the fence where they could see me and talked to them, or I would take a chair into their enclosure and read a book.  Just having me around reassured them I wasn't too bad of a person. 

 

They still flip out every now and then, but they are much better.  They even scream at me if I walk by without saying hello.  :love Oh, and food ALWAYS works!

 

Pepper


Edited by PepperM - 5/23/16 at 1:14pm
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kangasox View Post

Peas might be the ticket. Never met a duck who can resist peas! Maybe sit by their coop or pen in a chair for 10 minutes a day and pass out peas, be quiet and slow like said above. They may never be "friendly" and want to be picked up, but they will probably learn to tolerate you. I've also found mine to go through this "godzilla" stage until around 12 weeks. I think they're freaked out by the world.

So far my khakis have been excited by peas, but I haven't noticed my runners going after them. I'll have to try mealworms or something of the sort with them.

post #7 of 9

I try to make sure that I never lean over them or chase them. Peas work for mine, too. If I sit down with a bowl of peas, they climb right into my lap. They like lettuce, too. My runner doesn't seem to go crazy over any treat, but she likes peas.

Burd-Lover through and through

 

I am a Christian. Jesus is awesome!

1 John 5:12 - He who has the Son has life.

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Burd-Lover through and through

 

I am a Christian. Jesus is awesome!

1 John 5:12 - He who has the Son has life.

Reply
post #8 of 9
I agree that food is fantastic....but I also believe that repeated exposure to feared stimuli with no bad result is wonderful. While my girls (hoping) are only 4 weeks and have been handled numerous times a day by myself and my 7 & 9 yr old daughters since 3 days old, I would absolutely do this with any animal of any age, and have.

While they may never become "lap ducks", you want them somewhat comfortable with handling so you can give them health checks, etc.

I understand not wanting to stress them out and I believe in respecting all living things and their boundaries. That said, I'd much rather get them acclimated to handling when they are healthy and strong...as opposed to stressing them out when it's an emergency and they are already unwell. Good luck! Have fun
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by gal5150 View Post

I agree that food is fantastic....but I also believe that repeated exposure to feared stimuli with no bad result is wonderful. While my girls (hoping) are only 4 weeks and have been handled numerous times a day by myself and my 7 & 9 yr old daughters since 3 days old, I would absolutely do this with any animal of any age, and have.

While they may never become "lap ducks", you want them somewhat comfortable with handling so you can give them health checks, etc.

I understand not wanting to stress them out and I believe in respecting all living things and their boundaries. That said, I'd much rather get them acclimated to handling when they are healthy and strong...as opposed to stressing them out when it's an emergency and they are already unwell. Good luck! Have fun

Well said. They should be handled to some extent in order for them to become tame and OK with people. I am working on this with mine still, and I try to hold a few of them every day, although I probably should be doing more. It is still difficult to catch them, though. When I do hold them, I like to give them peas or sit for a while and let them sleep on my lap so that they see getting held isn't that bad.

Burd-Lover through and through

 

I am a Christian. Jesus is awesome!

1 John 5:12 - He who has the Son has life.

Reply

Burd-Lover through and through

 

I am a Christian. Jesus is awesome!

1 John 5:12 - He who has the Son has life.

Reply
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