Originally Posted by mrshaggie810
That's exactly what I'm afraid of. Honestly, I'm not all about pampering and spoiling them like pets, I just want them to be friendly enough that I don't have to worry about them going after one of the kids and biting them, especially since they are going to be helping with the cleaning, feeding, and watering. So then, what do I need to do to accomplish that. :)
It all depends on how they were raised from the get-go. I have three "types" of ducks as far as how they were raised. Here are the pros and cons as per your questions: a) will they be friendly and to what degree b) will they go after the kids and bite them
Keep in mind that breeds, males and females can be very different. I don't have enough experience with female ducks to know if they can be aggressive, but males most certainly can.
The window of opportunity for the ducks to "think they are humans" has passed--imprinting happens when a duck first hatches, and even then, if there are other ducklings hatching they will imprint on each other if there is no mother duck present. I have three pekin males who "saw me first" through the incubator window. They are happy with one another throughout the day, but when I come out it's "She's here! She's here!" and run up to get my attention. The oldest will ignore feeding time to pull on my pant leg. I greatly enjoy how friendly they are; they will range and have fun if I let them out, but always come over to see what I'm doing --but--
Though they all seem to look identical (not to me), in fact they are not. Their personalities extend into how hard they nip--one can cause blood blisters, one doesn't open his mouth (pushes his beak at you, but hard), and one has a laughable nibble that doesn't hurt even if he's trying to. It is my experience that nibbles and biting depend entirely on the duck. No amount of "No Skin!" and tapping on top of the beak and head with my hand like a beak (according to The Goose's Mother's book) has changed the behavior of the hardest biter; I believe he truly doesn't think he's hurting me, as he will sit comfortably on my lap with a very firm hold on my finger, chewing now and again (not a sexual thing for him, by the way). I swear he's smiling when he does this.
a) friendly b) will most certainly bite
I also have a rescue duck that was dumped at our local pond. She is the least friendly and can bite exceptionally hard, but only when held. Again, it's the "I am going to hold your finger in my mouth and chew" thing. When not held, she avoids me in the yard. I don't know her history, but she acts like a duck (loves my boys), so I don't believe she was ever imprinted on a human. She will never come to me and be friendly on her own--only when it's feeding time does she come near, though she is becoming less and less nervous around people.
a) not friendly b) will only bite when held
In comparison, I have a fully imprinted duck who believes he is human. The rescue bird is his mother, but she squashed the eggs and I had to bring them into the incubator for hatching. Since he saw me first and was alone after the third day (sibling didn't make it), I am mom. He is the most wonderful companion animal I have ever had, and also the most work. I DO NOT recommend letting a a duck imprint on you or a child unless you: 1) never go on vacation 2) are home all day every day 3) don't mind being the "crazy duck lady/man" 4) have a significant other as crazy as you 5) couldn't imagine things any other way for the next 20 years as he is going to live that long.
a) loving and snuggly b) will bite other people if they are perceived as a threat or competition c) for some reason he's really good with kids