Calling Cayuga experts!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by savingdogs, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. I'm new to ducks, this spring we decided to purchase a small flock of muscovy mail order to raise as meat birds (hubby's idea)
    AND a smaller flock of cayuga to raise as egg birds (my idea, I'm allergic to chicken eggs). So we have a larger group of muscovy and one cayuga male, three females. We already had a flock of chickens.

    We got the cayuga at age one to three weeks old, whereas the muscovy were just a couple of days old. The muscovy are quite friendly and our chickens are friendly, so I think we know how to raise friendly poultry.

    The cayugas however would NEVER eat from our hands and would only come near enough to eat food from the ground around us. They are submissive to the other birds, even the chickens and never let themselves be caught. They stick to their own kind. If we do need to catch them for some reason, they make a huge fuss and don't calm down until we leave them be, so it is hard to try to handle them more, it seems to upset them so much. I've even tried hand feeding them when I knew they were very hungry, and they just will go hungry rather than eat from my hand. Previously people told me to try peas or other treats. I have tried every food the other birds enjoy and these cayugas just won't be bribed whereas we have won over the other birds. The closest I've gotten to them with food is perhaps a couple of feet away, even sitting with them for over an hour when they were embarassingly hungry.

    The funny thing is they really enjoy seeing us coming, either to turn on their water system or to bring food, they quack every time and do come to greet us with the other birds, but don't come very close. They don't quack when they see predators approach so I think it is a happy sound. So far the only way I've made them thrilled is to throw sunflower seeds in their pond, but that still doesn't get them very close to me and I AIN'T standing in the duck pond to win them over.

    I think they are my prettiest and least troublesome birds however and would love to know how to make friends with them! Ideas?
  2. MysticalMom

    MysticalMom Songster

    Jul 1, 2009
    Quote:The 2 Ps. I know you've heard it before but patience and peas is really all you can do. I have found you can make ALMOST any duck love you with lots of patience and thawed out frozen peas. Ducks aren't cuddly creatures as I'm sure you know and some ducks are just always shy. But most ducks can eventually be won over with the 2 Ps. Even if it takes a little while. I have a flock of 20 different kinds of ducks and some will eat out of my hands and some won't come too near.. but after a lot of patience and just hanging in there they ALL at least come running for peas.

    And just FYI.. my Muscovy are my friendliest ducks too. Good luck!
  3. WadeMD

    WadeMD Songster

    Dec 16, 2009
    near Frederick, MD
    My cayuga is also really stand-offish. She only wants to be a part of the crowd, and usually from the back. She's totally passive when I have to pick her up or move her for some reason (far less spazzy than the runners for certain), but she will never come within reach unless she can't get away (she is also the slowest of the pack). I think it is just a part of the breed for them to be distant. Not that you can't work them closer, but they will never be as friendly as some other breeds.
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I have a Cayuga pair. Thelma is shy - if not outright stand-offish. Very passive if I corner her to pick her up, but if she sees a way out, she waddles the heck in that direction really darned quickly. Louie, on the other hand, loves me. Lots.

    I have duck hickies on my forearms to prove it. [​IMG]

    In the beginning when they were younger (they're about 18, 19 weeks old now) Louie followed Thelma everywhere. SHE was his guide. Now, she follows him, as he's the ring-leader of the two. He'll go after her if she heads off in some direction, but for the most part, she defers to him. I don't quite know when that dynamic came into effect, either.

    Thelma will ONLY eat out of my hands in the pool. Louie will take anything from my hands.

    The ducks are members of the entire flock, mingling and interacting with all the chickens. There was some excessive billing of the chickens early on, and some feather pulling, but not any more.
  5. Well mine really keep to themselves in my flock. They are the only true ducks and stay in the pond a lot more. I really like them and wish they would be friendlier, but perhaps I should try to accept them on their terms.

    Why do they quack? Hunger? Happiness? I think it is just one, is it my one cayuga male?

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