Duckling Nature


8 Years
Apr 24, 2014
Hello! First time duck owner here...I currently have 2 Fawn Runners and 2 Blue Swedish ducklings in my brooder (along with 10 chicks). They will all be 5 weeks old on Sunday.
Anyways, the chicks are very curious of me and my hand and come running to me when I have treats. The ducklings, on the other hand, are just plain terrified when I even come near the brooder. We hold them occasionally but they are just huge and flail everywhere. We give them baths and we all sit and watch them while they swim and splash around....
Is this pretty normal? Will they calm down a bit when they are outside and have space to roam?
Pretty typical of ducks when they get older, most ducks don't like to be held or handled so we have to be happy just enjoying their company and working on getting them to eat out of our hand which is usually pretty easy with peas or mealworms or some other tasty treat they like. Once you get them outside just go out and be around them they will warm up. Mine love it when I bring out the shovel since they know that means worm digging. Hopefully our ground will be thawed out so we can start that again soon.
Mine detest being touched or handled at all. They will follow me around and happily eat treats out of my hand. I can gently pet one of them if I put some delicious distractions (aka meal worms) on the ground at my feet but once she realizes what is happening she will move away. They were like yours when they were younger but have really warmed up to me so I'll take it. I find crouching down really helps them be less afraid.
I am pretty new to the duck thing, also. I have 5 pekin babies who are 4 weeks old. They are in a kiddy pool in my master bathroom. LOL.

Here is what me and my daughter do.
1. Talk baby talk, they seem to like the soothing tones. Talk to them often/visit with them often. Every morning I say "hey babies!" and they go nuts running around.
2. No sudden movements. Slow and steady.
3. No sudden loud noises or screaming. Made the mistake of opening a trash bag / shaking it once and scared them to death.
4. Get on their level when you can. Sit in the floor or kneel down.
5. We started by just resting our hand near them. Kinda looking away...just leaving our hand there, flat...letting them investigate at their pace. After they got used to that, we would add a treat to our hand like meal worms or peas.
5. We are training them to come to the sound of the dried meal worm bag shaking. It is working! If we sit in the floor when they are out and shake it, they will come to us and eat out of our hands and even get into our laps. If we stand up and shake it they are getting to where they will follow us.

All that being said....they still freak out sometimes. They really don't like being picked up and transferred from one area to another. They ARE getting into the routine of their nightly "bath" or "swim" in the tub. They hear the water running and get excited/don't fuss too much when we lift them into the tub/out of the tub. Some of them freak out more than others.

Annie is our screamer. No matter what, when we pick her up she does the "I'm clearly dying" PEEEEPS.

Two of the bigger ones will let us pet them lightly if we are sitting in the floor.

All of them will eat out of our hands now.

It's a work in progress. Hang in there.

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