Duck doesn't like swimming after traumatic experience

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by duckman4450, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. duckman4450

    duckman4450 Chirping

    Aug 1, 2012
    In October, my female mallard Gabby was attacked in her cage by an owl when my family was out eating dinner. Luckily she was not killed and her wounds have healed completely except for the feathers not growing back.

    She has a pool in her cage outside and that was where she would spend pretty much all the time she was outside, unless on her nest. Ever since she was attacked, she will not swim anywhere at all. Now she will stand next to the pool but never go in it. We used to give her baths inside in the tub all the time and she loved it. Now, she will dunk for no more than 30 seconds and then jump out. If she cannot touch the bottom of the bathtub she goes crazy and jumps out instantly. The only way I can get her to stay in and dunk for a reasonable amount of time (2 minutes MAX) is if I hold my hand underwater and she stands on it. She must feel safer with me in there. Here is a video showing what I previously explained in the paragraph:

    We suspect she was first attacked while she was sitting in her water, which is why she is so afraid of it. She must feel like a "sitting duck" no pun intended. Late at night she would quack if we didn't bring her in, so we think that's how the owl located her. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can get her to enjoy swimming again and stay in the water? I have tried throwing water on her, putting her back in when she jumps out, and not giving her anywhere to jump out from. Swimming used to be her favorite thing in the world, you could not get her OUT of the water she wanted to be in it so much. Now I feel so bad she can't enjoy it anymore. Any suggestions are welcome!
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    That's sad but thankfully she lived through it, sounds like the trauma of that attacked has left a lasting impression and it may take many months to over come it. I wouldn't force anything on her if she doesn't feel comfortable in the water with out your hand in it then do that for her, This to me would be like if you were sitting in your most favorite place and all of a sudden out of no where someone came and brutally beat you almost to death. I think that's how Gabby must be feeling right now about water. Give her time and lots of love and security and hopefully that memory will fade away.
  3. Richb353

    Richb353 Chirping

    My Golden Retriever jumped into the duck's kiddie pool just before they were full sized. He didn't want the ducks, just wanted to splash in the water. The flock scattered from him, but like your duck did not return to the kiddie pool for about a month. It was odd to see a bunch of waterfowl afraid of the water.

    Not to worry, after about a month they all jumped back into the pool like someone threw a switch. Probably because a fresh, clean pool was calling to them, but I think they were used to me and the pooch over time. Gabby has some more trauma than my flock, but I believe Miss Lydia is right, time heals all wounds.

    1 person likes this.
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    What a cute pic.

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