Ducks want to spend night outdoors!


10 Years
Sep 27, 2009
We have 4 females. We built them a coop and run complex that includes a stream and pond. The complex is pretty predator safe on all sides. For a number of weeks they were tucking themselves into the coop at sundown. We'd go out, close up the door, and let them back out in the morning. About a week ago, my 6 yo daughter decided she was going to put them in the coop herself. Ever since then, the ducks refuse to go in the coop by themselves. They'll go in if someone goes out and leads them or puts them in, but otherwise they are spending the entire night outside of the coop, but in the enclosure. I'm not sure what to do about this. I don't want the quacking early in the morning and waking the neighbors. Also, they aren't laying yet, but I imagine we'll be more successful at gathering eggs if they spend their nights in the coop. Also, once the weather gets colder, I worry that being out of the coop at night will not be good for them. I'd appreciate some advice on what to do. For the past couple of nights we've been putting them in, but that seems just to reinforce the idea that they don't need to put themselves in. Will they eventually start doing this on their own again? Thanks in advance for any advice.
My ducks will NOT go into their coop unless I herd them into the fenced run before dinnertime. Then, they'll go right in.... except for my 2 mallards who refuse, absolutely, to be penned up, and if I even get close to them, they fly away... If your run is safe, I think they'll be okay, but egg wise, it's much better to have them cooped up. I don't think they'll remember how to put themselves away. mine used to, and don't anymore... sorry.
So, you're saying your ducks will go into the coop once they are in their enclosure? Does their enclosure have swimming water for them? I just checked on mine and they were doing their little "bobbing dance" where they put their heads up and down and then go scurrying around the pond. It's hilarious. I swear, I begged my daughter not to interfere with their evening routine 'cause I knew it was going to result in them unlearning how to put themselves in at night. Gah! I'm so mad she didn't listen to me!
I would try putting their favorite snack in there (only at night when you are putting them up for the night) Get them in there, use a phrase like duck, duck duck... to get them used to hearing and coming.

When they see the favorite treat and realize that it only comes at night they may follow.

My geese took awhile but now they walk in right after me because they want that treat! All tucked up safe and sound.
This summer they free ranged, and then sometimes would put themselves away in their coop at night... then they discovered that I couldn't force them into the coop, off the pond, so they wanted to swim all night. I was insane, tying a brick to a rope, to make a good splash, throwing gravel on the side of the pond to bug them, jumping up and down on a tree that had fallen into the water, to make splashes and stir up the water... sometimes it worked. Once my cell phone rang from my pocket when I was trying to get them to go in, and they all booked it out of the pond and practically begged to be locked in their coop... now I've moved their coop up next to my garden, so it's near the hose thingy, so I can water them in winter easier... and in the afternoons, they wander out of the pond, and up the yard, and I walk behind them, flapping my arms a little, and herd them into the garden. Then, when it starts to get dark, I open up the gate, and have some plywood arranged to sort of funnel them into the coop. no problems so far, except for the mallards, who I haven't managed to TOUCH in months...
For almost three weeks our three little ducks would be all ready and waiting in bed for us to put the water in and close the door and then they had a change in pool (not a change to their routine, just a new paddling pool) and whammo, ducks won't take themselves to bed anymore.
Plus they're getting too tame to herd. At one point I stuck my arm into their run and put my hand on Mr. Snoogles' butt and pushed and he actually held his ground!!!
Sometimes they pretend they have tried to get out the pool and can't lol. Rotten little things! In the end I have to put my wellies on and climb into the pool and haul their complaining butts out! While neighbours come out for the entertainment.
I am praying for the day they start taking themselves back in again. And I'm hoping that it's before the end of next week because we are off for the weekend and have to ask a neighbour to put them to bed. I can just see them embarrassing us.
I did try leaving it til it went really dark to see if they'd put themselves in, but either they caught me sneakily watching and knew they weren't in any danger or they thought they were going to be allowed out all night.
Little pests!!
Yep, I hear ya! Mine spent last night out and wouldn't go near the coop. I'm in a similar predicament. We're going away for a week next week and my father in law will be taking care of them. We can't possibly expect him to run after them to put them in their coop. I have a feeling they're going to be spending quite a few nights outside in the next two weeks. What a drag!
Honestly, where is their survival instinct? We have foxes doing the rounds every night, but noooo they wanna stay in the paddling pool. Lol.
Maybe we should have some kind of babysitting forum here, for people in your area that love ducks enough to chase them round for half an hour lol.
Ours have decided to go in the goat shed at night. Then we just have to herd them around the corner to their little house. I figure at least they are sheltered even though not really super preadator proof. I still lock them up at night and try not to wait too late. It seems to be all about a routine. Also I only keep food in the coop...That is a very good enticement!

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