Ducklings are acting aggressive

mypoorducky

Chirping
Oct 7, 2021
59
55
81
Hello all. Today, after giving them a bath, I noticed my ducklings got very aggressive. When I put my hand near them, they both started biting at it, twisting and giving lots of pressure. It almost hurt, and otherwise, they completely ignored me. It wasn't anything like the love bites I was used to from my first duckling. I'm worried that I might be overstressing my ducklings, since this wasn't their normal behavior when I first got them.
 

mypoorducky

Chirping
Oct 7, 2021
59
55
81
I'm afraid this can happen when ducklings imprint on humans.
I see. I've also noticed they usually do the high-pitch, "distressed" chirp and swiftly move away whenever I touch them. Is there anything I can do to get them to be more conducive to human touch? They don't like to eat out of my hand, instead taking a few bites of food and either ignoring me or biting my hand instead, and they usually just sleep next to each other. This is not at all what I'm used to, as my first duckling was younger and far more social and friendly.
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
2,520
4,024
391
Unless they imprinted on the previous owner, I can't see that being the issue? From your other threads, they are not at the age imprinting takes place.
Sounds like they are stressed a bit. I would just take things slower with them since they are new to you.
When you say bath, you just meant a swim in shallow water, right? They shouldn't be in there too long as they don't have the oils to keep them dry. They also should be warmed a bit either with a towel or under a heat lamp in the brooder.
Ducklings go through stages of fear at different times while growing.
It won't be the same experience as your first duckling since it was a solo duck. It will be great once you get past the duckling stage. Although, they are cute, it seems to be a more worrisome time for the duck owner.
 

mypoorducky

Chirping
Oct 7, 2021
59
55
81
Unless they imprinted on the previous owner, I can't see that being the issue? From your other threads, they are not at the age imprinting takes place.
Sounds like they are stressed a bit. I would just take things slower with them since they are new to you.
When you say bath, you just meant a swim in shallow water, right? They shouldn't be in there too long as they don't have the oils to keep them dry. They also should be warmed a bit either with a towel or under a heat lamp in the brooder.
Ducklings go through stages of fear at different times while growing.
It won't be the same experience as your first duckling since it was a solo duck. It will be great once you get past the duckling stage. Although, they are cute, it seems to be a more worrisome time for the duck owner.
I'll try that, thank you. And yes, I put them in shallow containers with each other so they can clean the poop and dirt off of themselves while I clean up their shelter, then blow dry them until they get fluffy again. They're definitely a bit older, I'm not exactly sure how old but they were about the size of my foot when I got them, while my first duckling could fit snuggly in my palm.

It has been very stressful for me as well, I'm definitely not as prepared as I thought I was. I can't play with them in the house as much since the both of them poop way more, and it's hard to clean up. It's very cold outside, too, so it's hard to find the opportunity to get them outside. They usually have a stay on my balcony overnight, so their constant pooping doesn't stink up the home. I'd love to give them a proper outdoor coop, but I'm not sure how it'll do in my rather small backyard, where raccoons and cats sometimes find their way in. Make no mistake, I still love them very much, but it's become more of a chore than a simple pair of pets, especially since my family has me look after them all on my own, sometimes even waiting for me to come back from school just to have me clean up a mess they made many hours ago. I just hope it will all be worth it in the end.
 

CoriM

Crowing
Jun 6, 2019
1,140
2,183
278
Please do not blow dry them. They absolutely will dry on their own, and blowing them dry will terrify and hurt them. It sounds like taking care of your ducklings is not something you're really prepared to do, and that's easy to understand, because it can be overwhelming, even for adults. I know you just had a sad ending for your first duckling, and I'm sorry for that. Ducks are animals that take a LOT of care, time, energy, and can be expensive. Before getting ducks as pets you need to think through and build a house for them, provide a safe place for them to be ducks, find out about their proper nutrition, etc. It sounds like you are in over your head, and that's understandable. It might be best for you to talk to your parents and find a good farm to give these ducks to, or return them to where you got them. In the end that might be the most loving thing you could do for them. I know it's hard when we love a pet and want to get love in return, but it's most important to look out for what's in the best interest of the animal.
 

CoriM

Crowing
Jun 6, 2019
1,140
2,183
278
It's also worth noting that ducks can live up to ten years, and if you're parents aren't on board with taking care of your ducks and providing all that they need, it's probably not the best pet for you. You might feel relieved if you find an adult who is experienced with ducks and has the space and housing for them take them on for you.
 

Quatie

Crowing
Oct 16, 2020
2,336
11,496
441
Northern California
I agree that you are not in a position to care for these ducks. Your parents should be involved with it and helping you properly care for these animals. Without them supporting your or having any knowledge to provide, it will be very difficult for your to provide these animals a good home. I know you love them, since it is hard not to love a duck. The best thing would be to either rehome these ducks or get your parents involved in their care.

Instead of pets, I would highly recommend volunteering at a animal shelter or wildlife center. A lot of them have youth volunteers and it is a really rewarding experience. When I was young, I volunteered at one and fell in love with birds there. I got to work with birds of prey. Birds of prey are your owls, hawks, falcons, and such. You will be able to learn a lot about animal care about from people who are knowledgeable and truly care about the animals they are working with. You also get to spend time with some amazing animals.
 

mypoorducky

Chirping
Oct 7, 2021
59
55
81
Update: Hello all. Recently, I've decided to take my ducklings outside for much longer than I've used to, sometimes even taking them on walks. I've also allowed them to roam in my home more. When my ducklings would bite me too hard, I would tell them "No!" and firmly put my hand on them and lightly pushing them down until their beaks could touch the floor, immobilizing them but still keeping them calm. They quit biting me after that.

Then, I've decided to be very calm and gentle with my ducklings, but I touch and interact with them much more now, and I've allowed the neighbors kids to pet and hold them, as long as they be gentle and careful. I also stopped forcing them in baths, and although they've become very stinky, they are still allowed access to a tub of water which they usually drink out of.

The results were surprising. My ducks don't squeal as much anymore, instead either chattering with each other and me, or silently sleeping. They're now willing to eat out my hand, and sometimes even gently nibble me, the more affectionate type of duck bite, which I was used to. They also don't poop as much inside the house, which was a much welcome benefit. Thank you all for the help! While my ducklings aren't quite as affectionate as was my late young duckling, they've become much more friendly and I'm very joyful of it. I wonder if it's too late to get them to learn to follow me around.
 

CoriM

Crowing
Jun 6, 2019
1,140
2,183
278
It's good to see your update and hear things are going a bit better. I read your other thread also with your questions about duckling care. I agree with one poster on that thread that you really aren't prepared to have ducklings as pets. They aren't play-things, but rather little creatures who are wholly dependent on you for all their needs. They need proper duckling food, and fresh water constantly provided through the day and night when they are babies, or they may die just from not having proper nutrition. They must have water when they eat, and pretty much all the time. This is the most basic of their needs. You can't just feed them scraps because they won't obtain the nutrients they need to thrive. Then you need to know at what stage they switch to grown up duck food. They aren't meant to live indoors, and you can't expect them to know where to poop. They are incredibly messy and poop up to 10 times an hour - that's why they belong outside. They will ruin your house if you keep them indoors. That's why when you're getting ducks, or chickens, or whatever, you need to have secure and safe outdoor house planned before you get them. These things take time and money to prepare. In no time at all they will be full grown and their messes will be amazing and disgusting. When they're little you should offer them swim time in the bathtub or something with water that isn't very deep and is lukewarm - a couple times a day for maybe 15 minutes tops. You don't want them to get too tired. Then they need to be returned somewhere that's warm so they can dry off. Keep in mind that when they're big they'll need somewhere bigger to swim. And all of these swimming places need to be regularly cleaned out. Their bedding needs to be constantly cleaned to keep it as dry as possible. This is a big responsibility for a kid. I know because for me as an adult it's a costly and time-consuming responsibility. Adults need to be in charge and ensuring that proper supplies are in place and that the ducks have proper housing, food and fresh water all day when you're at school. If you don't have that support and don't have the things they need in place, you should find someone that can offer your ducks those things and re-home them, if you really care about their needs. Think about what's best for them. Maybe some years down the road when you have a better set-up for ducks and are older and more prepared you could try again. Another poster suggested maybe finding an animal rescue or an animal-oriented place to volunteer, rather than taking on a pet right now. That's an excellent idea! I think you're also a good writer, so maybe you could focus your energy on writing about animals, or drawing them. In the end you need to do what's best for your pets - putting those who are dependent on us first is a big step towards growing up.
 

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