Any tricks for bonding with my pekins (7 wk old)?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by OCchickens, May 18, 2009.

  1. OCchickens

    OCchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2008
    Brea, California
    I have 2 pekins 7 wk old. They do follow me around, but they also run away (those guys are fast!) whenever we try to round them up to put them away at night. I've tried offering them treats, which they'll take from my hand, but they're still extremely skittish. Any ideas how to make them more comfortable with me? I got them when they were a week old, so they didn't imprint on me.
  2. birdsbirdseverywhere

    birdsbirdseverywhere New Egg

    May 17, 2009
    Wish I had some really good advice or stories explaining how we now have super loving pekins . . . . but. We started our whole waterfowl adventure with a single female Pekin who was about 1 wk old. Sammi lived in a kennel in the house for the first 2 weeks we had her & was handled all the time & thought the best thing in the world was to nap on your shoulder cuddled up to your neck to keep warm. Just like your ducklings, she would follow us on the ground unless you made a sudden move toward her at which point she would scream and run like mad. When the weather warmed a bit, we took her outside and she decided we were terrible duck-eating monsters and she adopted our great pyrenees and spent the rest of the summer sleeping on top of Cassie at night & following her around during the day. When we finally bought some geese, Sammi adopted them.

    She HAS gotten much more friendly (in a duck sort of way). She will come to the general vicinity of where we are and she loves to follow you at a distance talking softly punctuated with ocassional extremely loud advice when she really wants to get your attention. She has NOT ever gotten lovey-dovey wanting to be held or anything like that. We now have 3 additional Pekins (2 more females & a drake) and Sammi is currently sitting on 10 eggs. She is actually very easy going for a sitting mother, especially compared to our geese, as she will hiss & ruffle her feathers, but will let you pet her while she is on the nest.

    Hope this hasn't discouraged you too much and that someone else will have a better story & some advice we can also use on making Pekin babies more pet friendly. [​IMG]
  3. Duck Keeper

    Duck Keeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 18, 2009
    Out in the Boonies
    Ducks are the cats of the bird world. They're naturally more skittish than other kinds, since they make great food for lots of assorted predators. [​IMG]

    If you had handled them a lot as babies, and more or less separated them from each other and handled them more than they had seen their own kind, they would be the stupidest, but most loving ducks. [​IMG]
    They seem to think that once they're 'human' that all is well and nothing can get them, or they're scared of every single thing that moves.

    You'll have to handle them a lot daily, and eventually they'll be 'tame' enough for you to hold them for emergency vet visits or your own checkups. My Silver Appleyards weren't family-raised (by family I mean inside the house) so they are VERY skittish around people. I can still corner them and pick them up/hold them, but the drake's heart sounds like it's going to beat out of his chest. [​IMG] It's audible a few feet away even.
  4. red46

    red46 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 3, 2009
    Unless you happen to build a strong bond,while they are tiny, ducks will revert to their nature.
    By nature, ducks are followers. That's just what they do. To walk single file, is to do it the duck way. [​IMG]

    Ducks never turn around and face those following. When a drake is leading and suddenly turns around, it means 'danger'. I learned, the hard way, years ago, that ducks turn their backs to a threat.

    When you're walking and the ducks are following, and you want to stop and visit, hunker down like a mother hen without turning around. My ducks and chickens, gather around me, when I hunker down and just stay put, for a minute.

    If I have a chicken or duck, that I'm trying to catch and they are evading me, I hunker down and stay still. It's a natural reaction for them to 'come to mommy'.

    Ducks and geese are a funny sort. When you hunker down, they just stop because they get confused about what they are supposed to do now. ha It's like a "wait...what?" moment. If you sit still, long enough, they will get bored and either pass you by, gaining a new leader, or start pecking at your clothes to get you up and going again. If your ducks are strictly running on instinct, that's probably the only time you can get close and talk to them.

    Have you ever watched your drake, ram his bill into the side of a dog just because he felt threatened? It's funny to watch the dogs reactions. Beware the bill. haha

    Oh yeah, ducks and chickens can be taught to react to a sound, just like dogs and cats. Like smacking your lips to call your dog to dinner. You can pick a sound like clicking or smacking the lips, to associate with a treat. If you use it, every time you feed or give a treat, you can call your birds to you, any time you want.

    I have a long and funny story involving a turkey. To make it short [​IMG] she would come running when she heard me call out 'Gotcha One'. It meant I had a grasshopper in my fist. She'd jam her beak into my fist and grab her treat. Problem was, the chickens caught on.

  5. OCchickens

    OCchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2008
    Brea, California
    Judy - loved your post! I'll try that!

    It's great to think about it from the animal's perspective & their instincts.

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