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Behavioral Issues

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by CraigT, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. CraigT

    CraigT Out Of The Brooder

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    I recently adopted 5 ducks, a Swedish Black, a Swedish Blue, a Mallard ( female), A Rouen, and a Peking. They are already adults and lived with the same owner all there lives ( 1.5 yrs) Now I have them, they act as if they are scared to death of me .. I try to move very slowly and I feel like they are threatened by me no matter how hard I try not to look threatening. They sit huddled together in the same corner most of the time just looking out of the pen as if they are waiting for something. When I first brought them home they would not leave the duck house I had built for them ( 8'x4') so I ushered them out. Now I cannot get them back in the dang thing. The Mallard flew off because I startled him once.. ( despite my best efforts not too) then he came back to be with his buddies.. when I tried to usher him around to the entrance to the pen he flew off again! ( I swear I am moving slowly and non aggressively) I just don't know what to do .. they wont go into the pond ( kiddie pool) and they eat at very strange times .. After doing some research I am going to put them on a strict twice a day feeding regiment ( 30 minutes feeding time then food comes up) to get them used to a routine.. does all of this sound normal or do I have a set of ducks with issues that needs help? Any advice on how to fix this problem if I have one would be helpfull.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Welcome to the duck forum!

    Each duck, each flock is unique. I feel yours have separation anxiety or something similar, and you are doing well to recognize it.

    Their world has ended, in a way. They need to be safe from predators, hunger, cold, thirst, all that.

    I would keep water and food with them at least all during the day, I would also keep them close to their safe night shelter for a few weeks. That may mean putting up some temporary fencing.

    I would give them treats in their house. I would spend as much time as possible near them, talking gently to them, seated or lying down.

    Those are some initial ideas. I have adopted adult ducks and it can seem to take for-blessed-ever for them to warm up. Hazel is fine, but Bean and Carmella still get the heeby jeebies if I get too close. They are all warming up, though. It has been over a year. Patience and love are winning.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. CraigT

    CraigT Out Of The Brooder

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    Well iam off to a good start then since they are in a 20'x25 foot fenced area. I will try the treats. Thanks for the ideas.
     
  4. subhanalah

    subhanalah Overrun With Chickens

    I think going out and sitting with your back to them gently sing song voice to convince them that you aren't a threat. Eventually curiosity will get the better of them. (Unless ducks are like geese and you shouldn't turn your back on them.)
    This is how I get my gerbils to warm up to me, just being in their presence without interacting directly with them showing them that you aren't interested in eating them.
     
  5. CraigT

    CraigT Out Of The Brooder

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    Well they are a little less nervous around me but still showing signs of just being discombobulated. I posted this under the treats thread already but I thought maybe you might know if any of the "good" treats work also as sort of a comfort food and maybe have a calming effect of the ducks.
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    If you can ask their former person about treats that would possibly be best. Mine love peas (frozen fresh, thawed, no salt), chopped lettuce especially floated in water, and now sprouted wheat berries.

    Several people have reported their ducks like tomatoes. Mine don't like red food. [​IMG]

    Some ducks like blueberries.
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Dried meal worms are a big hit here. toss some on the ground and before long they will be eating out of your hand.
     
  8. CraigT

    CraigT Out Of The Brooder

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    Here is another question then, does presentation or consistency play a role in what they will eat. To clarify, can I put everything into whatever bowl happens to be close by and they will accept it or would placing it on the ground be more appealing etc... also I have a tendency to just lay the food down wherever it is I happen to be standing at that particular moment.. should I keep it in a specific location all the time or does it matter.
     
  9. subhanalah

    subhanalah Overrun With Chickens

    Using a bowl is better for keeping the food clean and from going "off." That's really all I know about it, hopefully someone else can give better advice regarding this.
     
  10. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    I have feed containers and specific places I put it we built feeder houses so the feed can stay dry in wet or snowy weather. The only thing I toss on the ground is their dried mealworms and whole corn they get in the winter months. everything else goes into their feeders. I actually use the long goat feeders I found at TSC since I have chickens that like to scratch the feed out, these feeders have a metal top that lays over the top of the feed holder so they can stick their heads into eat but the chickens can't climb in and scratch the feed all out,. in winter i use heated dog bowls because I make Fermented feed for my flock and since it's moist it freezes.
     

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