Duck sounds and body language

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Dancinbaer, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. Dancinbaer

    Dancinbaer In the Brooder

    Jul 16, 2013
    Northeast Wisconsin
    We are new to ducks as of June of this year, so this is our first winter. I'm learning a lot from reading through the other threads. There is one subject I have not come across, why ducks make certain sounds or move in different ways.

    Specific case: about once a day our Rouens come to the patio door. We open it, they come in and eat from a jug by the door and usually leave. They've started getting braver and actually roam around the kitchen/ dining area now. Sometimes they do not want to leave, we have to physically pick them up and put them out the door. Tonight, the entire time they were in, the female made this whimpering sound. This was around 9:30PM, usually they are in their coop / run area for the night by now. Which they usually go into on there own, especially since the temps have been below freezing. This is the second time they've chosen being next to the house rather then their coop/run.

    As a newbie I'm just curious as to what the different sounds and body motions they make may indicate. Any books or articles out there that cover this topic?

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2013
  2. Welshandwhatnot

    Welshandwhatnot Hatching

    Nov 23, 2013
    I've found that my ducks talk to each other a lot! They quack if they get separated or confused, then when they meet up the have to have a long chorus of reunion quacks. Your ducks most likely have a reason for whatever sound they make. As for staying inside ive found that ducks like to stay where the food and the water is and if its available would rather stay there then go outside. They may also have want to stay inside if its dark out, because ducks have horrible night vision and walking about in the dark would be dangerous and they know it.
    Im not sure what each quack means but the longer you have your ducks the better you'll understand what there saying!
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I agree that ducks' vocalizations and body language are fascinating. I feel that they have a fairly sophisticated communication system.

    Don't know that anyone has catalogued this, though. I know certain sounds mean:

    I found food
    I found a good spot for a nest
    How deep is this hole?
    Look out!
    I like you!
    Get lost!
    Oh, look at the little baby (egg)
    Leave me alone
    Hey! Hey! Where are you!

    And certain body language . . . I especially like the way they act as if they are eating something off the ground then look up at me. I think this is, "bring out the peas!"
  4. AliciaDuckLady

    AliciaDuckLady In the Brooder

    Nov 3, 2013
    Brisbane, Australia
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  5. Peeko

    Peeko In the Brooder

    Oct 3, 2012
    Northern California
    That is awesome! I love that there are folks who listen instead of assuming the ducks are just making noise.

    Our drake says, "mraw mraw mraw" when there's something scary approaching in the sky.
    There's a more drawn out, raspier version for when they are out of the food he wants. He'll stand under the window doing it until I respond. Yes, wrapped around their fingers I am.
    If someone is at the gate or if a cat is in the yard he calls higher and obviously sounds more alarmed. I run when I hear that call.
    And there's the hilarious whistle and victory lap he does after mating successfully in the pool.
    He also makes a nest sound, a very soft "ruff ruff".

    The hen arches her neck up high and makes a fast "cluck cluck cluck" sound as her version of get lost. A nudge with the bill between the wings on the back is another signal.
    When she's found something absolutely scrumptious she literally squeals in delight and then happily hums as she eats.
    If I walk up to her she says hello. Sometimes she'll sidle right up to me and just hang out, so adorable.
    Her call of warning has one version, regardless of whether it was a kid down the street that was shouting or a hawk, and it is very loud and alarming. Luckily our drake is a good watch and tells me what's up before she freaks out. Sounds weird to say that...but it's true.

    Her children that are still with us make a kind of whimpering sound. One of them will do it mostly when she wants to fly- I gather this because that's what she eventually does most the time. But she'll also do it if she wants a human to stay outside or if she's in the pool and everyone is going somewhere else in the yard. So will the other duckling. It's sort of like when a dog whimpers because it wants inside. And they'll stamp their little feet, pacing so to speak.
  6. binji

    binji Chirping

    Jul 2, 2016
    My friendlier Muscovy hisses and wags his tail whenever I sit by him and I'm still not sure if he's happy or wants me to leave lmao

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