Adding a new duck to the party

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by NoseyChickens, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. NoseyChickens

    NoseyChickens Feathers On The Ground

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    I have 7 runner ducks. Soon to be five so that I will only be working with one color. They are allowed to waddle free in my yard, which is nearly an acre all fenced in. They sleep in their house locked up at night for safety and this is working out very well for us. The neighborhood enjoys them too! We still find people stopping to stare wondering "Is that a duck in that yard?"

    So I had a silkie go broody, I gave her 3 duck eggs, 2 developed, 1 was killed by another chicken as it was hatching (lesson learned ALWAYS seperate your broody!) So now I have 1 duckling. She was lucky enough to hatch as we were hatching some chicks so she is not lonely. She hatched the day after Christmas. So Chris Duck has been living a happy spoiled life in my living room, swiming in the bath tub and snuggling on the kids laps while they watch TV at night. But Chris is growing up and the time will be here soon that she must go out and join the flock. How do I accomplish this? I have taken her out for some visits and she is scared to death. If they were all penned it would be easy. But its a pretty big yard and she could easily get lost. She is not fully feathered yet, so I have at least another week or two to work this out. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Snakeman

    Snakeman Out Of The Brooder

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    I use what I call a "newbie pen". It's a small pen placed right up against my primary pen. The new ducks live in the newbie pen for a few days to a week. The other ducks can see and investigate the new ducks, and vice versa, with no risk of injury or being run off. After that I just open the newbie pen and let them out. The fuss a little to establish their place but all of mine have joined the flock without any big issues. I've done this a few times.

    My newbie pen is 4'x4'. Made from cheap 2x4's and wire mesh. A small pet carrier for shelter.(I cover the top if the weather is bad) A food dish and a water pan deep enough to submerge their bills.
     
  3. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    VILLAGE IN THE SHIRES
    I used the "sneak it in at night" method. The duck was older than yours and about the same size as the others though. I just popped her in the coop at night and in the morning they all came out together and did not really notice having a stranger in their midst! The newbie had to learn her new surroundings, but just followed the other ducks and learned from them. Your duckling is likely to be a bit too "humanised" than usual, having spent her time with your family indoors and not in the company of other ducks. I would suggest either the "newbie pen" of Snakeman, or just some daily supervised visits to the flock, so she gets used to them and to recognising herself as a duck, then increasing the time of the visits until she is eventually left with them (popped in at night or otherwise).
     
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  4. NoseyChickens

    NoseyChickens Feathers On The Ground

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    I think I am going to hae to go with the supervised visits for a bit and then just shove her in there one night and see how it goes. Thank you for the great advice! She is not fully feathered as of yet so hopefully with the outdoor visits until she is ready to be outside full time it will help.
     
  5. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Definitely wait until she is close to adult size--otherwise the others will pick on her mercilessly. You've already received some great advice. The only thing I would add is that you might take one of your existing flock and separate her for two or three days, then put your Chris duck in with her. She will be so happy to have company she'll forget the new one is, well, new. Then when you put the two back in with the rest of the flock, they'll be more likely to accept them both. Really, anything you can do to mess up the current order of things--separating, moving them around, putting them in new digs for a while, whatever--will help them accept the new duck more easily.

    Good luck. Ducks usually end up getting along fine, but it sometimes takes some work.
     
  6. ejctm

    ejctm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a very creative idea, Curiosity, I would not have thought of that! Sounds very logical, and I will certainly bear this method in mind if I ever have problems settling in a new one.

    Nosey, I would certainly agree with Curiosity with regard to the age of the duckling. I forgot to emphasise that in my previous post - try and wait until she is at least fully feathered before putting her in with the others unsupervised. She will have grown and will appear less obviously younger (and therefore perceived as weaker) than them.

    Good luck!
     
  7. NoseyChickens

    NoseyChickens Feathers On The Ground

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    She is doing well with the superviesed visits outside. She has been staying outside all day now in a grow out run that I have for chicks too small for the normal flock. She is in there with the chicks she was in the brooder with and some super friendly silkies. The silkies are in there to keep the chicks warm at night. It is in the 60's during the days so she is fine out there then. She even took a swim in the big pond the other day. She cannot get to the pond when we are not outside. But she can see the other ducks and they can see her. I was noticing she was not getting up and moving around too much in the brooder anymore. Probably because she was so big! And her legs were getting a little wobbly. So I put her out during the day. She is doing fantastci! She is still afraid of the big ducks, but getting better. When she is full grown I will give her more time with them. They have not been agressive towrd her at all though.
     

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