Adopting an adult duck

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by deren, Feb 15, 2015.

  1. deren

    deren In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2015
    My wife & I have been wanting a pet duck. The local humane society has a duck that we are considering adopting. She was found as a stray by the side of road. She isn't skittish, and doesn't mind when we enter her kennel, but she also doesn't come up to you, and if you try to pet her she moves just out of reach. They say she is 2 years old. So the big question we want to know from the experts likely is it that a 2 year old with that type of temperament would warm up to us? We want a duck to be a family pet/companion, not just hang it in the backyard!

    She looks like a pekin muscovy mix - I have no idea if that's what she is...she just looks like it, all white with a small red wattle-like thing (no idea what that's really called) on her face. We love the idea of a duck that's not loud, like the muscovy, but we think muscovies are ugly (sorry, I know there's lots of people here who love them and that's great, just our opinion) but because her wattle-thing is small we both think she's adorable. In the 3 weeks she's been there they say she hasn't made any noise.

    We've read a lot of stuff about ducks, but everything we've read talks about getting a duckling. One big potential problem there is we have 2 cats, one of whom is a very accomplished huntress, so getting a duck that's already bigger than the cats would eliminate that threat. There's also not exactly a lot of duck availability here on Maui. We also have a dog that's a small animal lover (in a friend way, not a dinner way) who hopefully would become friends with the duck (in a previous place I lived with a previous dog, my next door neighbor had a duck and they were good friends, hanging out together and following each other around like a little flock!).

  2. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Crowing

    May 19, 2014
    Georgetown, TX
    I bet she is just a Muscovy if she has small red "bumps". Only the males get big ones. She is very friendly if she is allowing you to come close to her and Not skittish. I consider that tame. Most ducks don't like to be touched and hate being picked up because they know they are food to most animals. It is in their nature to be scared of everything. I'm sure she will warm up but I doubt to the extent you are thinking. Also a single duck is a lonely duck. She needs a buddy especially since she was not raised as a house duck. I don't think you will have the same success as a duckling that imprints on you. A single duck that imprints on a human needs 24/7 human contact since you become its flock. I think it would be great if you did adopt her and got her a buddy. She sounds super sweet and very friendly. If you are looking for something that seeks out your attention for a pet I don't think ducks fit that requirement unless you decide to go the house duck route.

    I do want to add that you should see how your current animals are going to react. Don't allow them be together till you know that there won't be any issues and take it very slowly. Some ducks will imprint on a dog just like with a human but that is less common and again it needs to be a duckling. What you saw next door is not the norm and it sounds like it might of been a house duck. Also welcome!
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  3. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Songster

    Aug 31, 2009
    I have had ducks since 2002. All together have had 16, all adopted as adults. I get immense joy from owning them. But they are not cuddly pets. I have had a few that I can handle easily, but they are prey animals and as such, generally don't like being handled. Even if you get them as ducklings, there is a great chance that as they mature they will become more likely to not enjoy handling. There are exceptions to that of course, but for the most part they are not generally lap pets.
    If you want to get a duck, I suggest you get at least two, best to have three. It is a lonely life for a flock animal to be a singleton. They thrive on being with their own. If you want to enjoy a comedy show daily, get ducks. If you want to smile at something every time you see it, get ducks. But be fair and don't try to make them what they are normally not, snuggly, cuddly pets.
    You say they don't have any other ducks at that shelter, so I guess she would be alone regardless, but I would keep my eyes open for any potential friends you could get her.
    In my opinion, I don't trust any dogs with ducks. It is just asking for trouble. Dogs are dogs. Sometimes it is ok, but it only takes one time for disaster to strike. Trust me, I know this from a terrible experience with one of my dogs and one of my guinea pigs. I will blame myself forever for a very stupid mistake. So, allowing them to interact deliberately might not be a great idea.
    Sorry if I sound negative, not meaning to. Ducks are awesome, I just don't want to lead you down the wrong path to expect something that really is not reasonable. Adopting a duck is wonderful. Do lots of research on keeping them safe from predators, feeding and care, it is worth it.
    Oh yeah, [​IMG]
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Even when they don't hop into the lap, ducks are great companions - some of them. If she is that friendly at first meeting, you may have some good potential there. I wonder if you put some thawed frozen peas in your hand and offered them if she'd take them from your hand. Treats can get ducks to warm up to a person quickly. My Achtie will literally stand on someone's toes if they have some peas.
  5. Lugh

    Lugh Chirping

    Mar 4, 2014
    Deerfield Beach, FL
    Ducks are great pets. Non-human imprinted adults, however, will never truly bond with you like a duckling will, so you won't really be able to have them as true pets that you can pick up and handle. They'll always have a fear of you, though you can mitigate this by feeding them and giving them treats. I have two ducks that are true pets-- one I hatched myself and one I got as a 3-day old duckling to be her friend. The one I hatched lets me pick her up and pet her, the one that spent the first three days of its life with ducks won't let me, though she'll eat out of my hand and approach me.

    I say go ahead and adopt her-- she'll come around to you eventually but just know that she'll never be the type that will enjoy being touched.

  6. buff goose guy

    buff goose guy Songster

    Feb 9, 2014
    Mississippi Y'all
    Actually lugh every duck is different. We have had some ducks that we adopted from farms where the people didn't care for them and only ocassionally threw them food in a pen, believing that they could find food in a nutrient deprived ground.

    And i can say that some of these ducks are our best ducks we've ever had very content and sweet.
  7. deren

    deren In the Brooder

    Feb 15, 2015
    Mahalo everyone for your great input! We are going to pick her up from the Humane Society this afternoon.

    On another note...I have no idea how they determined her sex or age. The local Humane Society primarily specialized in dogs, cats, a few bunnies, and the occasional guinea pig or goat. Chickens are very, very common here though, so I would assume there are people around there who know chickens well. She's been there for a few weeks and hasn't laid. They said she's primarily eating oats, which I would assume doesn't have nearly enough protein, could that be why she isn't laying, assuming she is female? Or if she hasn't laid does that pretty much she's a he? Attached is a picture taken through the kennel gate (not a very good pic, I know, but I'm sure there will be lots and lots of pics being taken of her soon!)

    Btw, we do plan on getting a 2nd duck. We're going to keep our eyes open, and will ask the Humane Society to give us a call if they get another duck. There is an animal refuge that has a bunch of ducks they have rescued, but they are all very skittish...they have each other but are not happy about humans getting close to them, but we'll be in contact with them too in case they get one who's a bit more tame.

  8. ckickenpiccata

    ckickenpiccata Hatching

    Feb 17, 2015
    Watch the pekin drakes. We had two of them and they are really rough on chickens!
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    She looks like a Muscovy to me. They are seasonal layers - so she may not be "in season." Yes, I would think oats, while better than nothing, do not have sufficient nutrients and protein for laying. Stress also reduces laying.

    Get her on some good quality layer feed, supplement with a few mealworms, some fresh greens (avoid too much spinach - it interferes with calcium uptake, I am told), give her some time to adjust, I think she will straighten out.

    @Miss Lydia has Muscovies, so she can tell you more about their laying patterns.

  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Looks like a beautiful Muscovy female and young so that maybe why she hasn't laid. If you can get a better close up of her full front and side we can tell more if for sure female but the face looks female. My females usually don't start laying till 8 months or older they are seasonal layers which means they lay spring through early fall then stop for the year.Since your in a warm climate year round she may just take short breaks and lay year round. Maybe you'll be able to find another Muscovy for her companion doesn't have to be a drake unless you want ducklings . Muscovy's make wonderful pets. But I don't think your going to get one to sit on your lap like a dog but if you do make sure you have a thick towel under her. lol Sounds like she may have been someone pet before she came to the shelter, they fly real well so she may have flown off from someones yard. Any way their loss your gain. But keep that in mind when adopting if you want to keep her home might want to trim one wing. But before you do be sure to look up how on line because cutting too much can cause alot of blood loss. I can only pick up one of my 13 Muscovy's and he feels okay with it and he is an imprinted duckling whose mama refused him. he is now almost 4yrs old. But all my ducks come around when I am out side with or without treats they are naturally curious and if working in the yard or garden just know your looking for a big juicy worm for them.

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