Ducks are stupid

Mar 26, 2020
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2,346
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Southern Vermont
Seriously, i love them, but I have no idea how the species has survived this long. I put a light on the outside of their coop. Now they are afraid to go in, they would spend all night outside if i didn’t make them go inside. If the light is turned off, they go in when it gets dark.
If I go out with 2 bowls of peas or a dish of meal worms they follow me around like the Pied Piper, if i go out with a bale of shavings they freak out in terror.
All last winter i kept refreshing a pile of straw for them to lay in outside in the sun, they loved it, put it there yesterday since the snow and they wouldn’t go near the “big scary spot” rather they hung out on the ramp of their house and continue to poop in their own way. This morning I tried to herd them to the “scary spot” to no avail. I scooped up Scuba and carried her to it and plopped her in the middle, seeing her enjoying rooting around for whatever and not being swallowed by the earth or worse, the rest of them came running to also be in the “spot”. Really, sometimes I just shake my head.
 

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M-H-Fielding

Formerly known as -7-6-
Apr 10, 2019
1,446
4,909
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right here
My Coop
My Coop
Seriously, i love them, but I have no idea how the species has survived this long. I put a light on the outside of their coop. Now they are afraid to go in, they would spend all night outside if i didn’t make them go inside. If the light is turned off, they go in when it gets dark.
If I go out with 2 bowls of peas or a dish of meal worms they follow me around like the Pied Piper, if i go out with a bale of shavings they freak out in terror.
All last winter i kept refreshing a pile of straw for them to lay in outside in the sun, they loved it, put it there yesterday since the snow and they wouldn’t go near the “big scary spot” rather they hung out on the ramp of their house and continue to poop in their own way. This morning I tried to herd them to the “scary spot” to no avail. I scooped up Scuba and carried her to it and plopped her in the middle, seeing her enjoying rooting around for whatever and not being swallowed by the earth or worse, the rest of them came running to also be in the “spot”. Really, sometimes I just shake my head.
I agree, ducks can be very dumb sometimes! Mine are not the brightest either. I had one muscovy who would jump over the fence and then panic when he couldn't find his way back! He'd pace the same two feet of fence over and over, looking for the way back into his yard lol! Some birds just make me shake my head.
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
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I don't think they are dumb or stupid. They just don't like change and are leery of new things this has to do with the fact that they are prey animals and have no real defense from predators. As for the light, did you know that at night you can guide them by using a flash light? I am not sure why ducks are leery of light especially when its directly in front of them, but they are and you can use it to your advantage. But, obviously not install one at an opening where they are supposed to enter.
Ducks are actually very intelligent and learn things quickly. A domestic duck is thought to be as intelligent as a 3 yr old child which would be on par with dogs. It's all about the trainer or the stimulus you provide for them. 😊

This is article compares ducks to other animals: https://www.birdwatchingusa.org/are-ducks-smart

This is another great article: https://www.tyrantfarms.com/7-amazing-duck-facts/
Especially this section:

DUCKS ARE MAKING SCIENTISTS RETHINK ABSTRACT INTELLIGENCE.

Abstract intelligence is defined as “the capacity to understand and manage abstract ideas and symbols.” In humans, abstract intelligence is essential for such things as creative problem solving, humor, and novel ideas and inventions.

Conventional scientific wisdom has held that abstract thinking was only possible in a handful of super-intelligent animals such as apes, crows, and dolphins. It was also thought that abstract intelligence required experiential learning and possibly teaching/instructing from an adult in combination with punishments/rewards. Then along came a 2016 study where scientists performed a range of tests on ducklings…

Researchers found that as soon as ducklings hatch, they have a remarkable degree of abstract intelligence. The study’s co-author, Alex Kacelnik, of Oxford University’s zoology department, said: “To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a non-human organism learning to discriminate between abstract relational concepts without any reinforcement training.”
 

Allsfairinloveandbugs

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Feb 10, 2020
1,129
3,829
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Far north texas
I don't think they are dumb or stupid. They just don't like change and are leery of new things this has to do with the fact that they are prey animals and have no real defense from predators. As for the light, did you know that at night you can guide them by using a flash light? I am not sure why ducks are leery of light especially when its directly in front of them, but they are and you can use it to your advantage. But, obviously not install one at an opening where they are supposed to enter.
Ducks are actually very intelligent and learn things quickly. A domestic duck is thought to be as intelligent as a 3 yr old child which would be on par with dogs. It's all about the trainer or the stimulus you provide for them.
I was gonna say that i don't think ducks nor chickens are dumb or stupid, but you beat me to it.🙂 (I've had ducks in the past but currently only have chickens.) They have different behaviors, reactions and instincts than we humans do, because humans are (mostly) apex predators, while just about everything wants to have poultry for a meal.
(Wild songbirds exhibit similiar behavior too.) And if you observe the behavior of a raptor while it is on the ground with it's captured prey, a raptor on the ground exhibits behaviors similiar to other birds. (Wary and cautious due to feeling vulnerable.)

And as far as duck's reactions to changes, we humans also sometimes react oddly/are very resistant to changes too!

I agree, ducks can be very dumb sometimes! Mine are not the brightest either. I had one muscovy who would jump over the fence and then panic when he couldn't find his way back! He'd pace the same two feet of fence over and over, looking for the way back into his yard lol! Some birds just make me shake my head.
Hmmm that scene reminds me of the times I've misplaced my keys or another object, then frantically search and look for the lost object in the Exact Same Places over and again, as if it will suddenly magically appear. Does anybody else ever perform that ritual? Does that make me stupid and dumb? Well maybe it does. Our ducks and chickens might surely think so!🤭

Whether smart, stupid or dumb, I agree that they are funny, cute and entertaining, & i love them just the way they are.❤
 

Quatie

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Oct 16, 2020
2,560
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Northern California
Animals can be dumb and smart at the same time. For example, I tend to think I am somewhat smart, yet I have gone looking for a paper towels in the fridge. Pretty dumb on my part 🤦.

I had to outsmart my Muscovy recently. I tried to herd them so I could clip their wings. They darted away at the last moment every time. So I grabbed mealworms and left a mealworm trail to where I needed to corner them. My husband didn't think it would work. They were not smart enough to see the trap 😁. Hopefully they won't remember a year from now.
 

Crazy Maizie

Crowing
Jul 3, 2020
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451
I felt like OP was making this post in a light-hearted way... Not necessarily that they think ducks are inherently stupid.
Yes, you are right. I just caught the post at the wrong time - bedtime. 😆
I also adore my ducks very much and observe their behaviors, so I've seen them do some interesting things. They learn very quickly though and it amazes me how quick they catch on.
 

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