I swear I'll order a book and stop asking silly questions.
But do they?
Edited by valsey - 2/17/11 at 6:58am
Mallard-Deriviative breeds (any domestic other than Muscovies) do not. They are perfectly happy to sleep and lay their eggs on the coop floor.
Sorry - I worded that question incorrectly. Do they put themselves to bed at night? If I keep them in a penned area with their house for a week to let them know that's their home, will they go to it at sunset like the chickens once I start free ranging them during the day? I have an automatic door and I'm hoping they will put themselves to bed and be safe if I can't get out to get them in at night.
It depends on your ducks but in general, no, they will not just put themselves to bed. My ducks HATE to be cooped up and must be bribed to go in at night. It's quite simple, though--I just feed them only at night in their pen. They have to wait to eat until I go out there, then they eat in their pen and by the time they're done they've been locked up. They still manage to act indignant about it.
You can also just herd them in--they'll get in the habit. It's just more of a hassle, because if they really don't want to go in, they can be quite annoying. Or, how about treats? Give them peas in their pen every night?
All mine, call ducks and standard size go into the coop at night. I just did the same thing I did with the chickens, kept them penned in for a few days, chased them in the coop at night and within three days they would go in on their own at night. I have noticed however that a ducks definition of night is about a half hour or up to an hour later than that of a chickens.
My 3 runner girls come up on to the deck each night at sunset and sit in front of the door to their duck house. With the bins in there, they can't get in on their own.
Without the bins, they'd still sit in front of their duck house door if we were home or just hop right in if we weren't home and wait for us to close the door for them when we do get home.
They have been outside since the day they arrived in the mail. Once they were not in the kennel all the time, but on the deck, I'd move them back to the kennel at night, so they knew the routine. Once the kennel was on the deck with them at their level, they just went in once it got dark on their own. Changed to the duck house and once they realized they didn't get to sleep in the kennel anymore, they went to the duck house instead.
I put a step in front of their door one day and they avoided the duck house for 3 days - until I moved the step! So they would curl up under our bedroom window in the dog/duck yard and I'd go scoop them up and put them in. Once I moved the step, back they went to the deck and in front of their house on their own.
So mine do put themselves to bed at night - as best as they can anyway - they are at least snoozing right in front of their door waiting to be scooped up and put in and door closed for the night.