Encouraging duckings to be comfortable with people

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by localife, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. localife

    localife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ducklings (one week old tomorrow) are fairly skittish -- understandably since the cat scared the beans out of them during the night recently -- and really avoid being near anyone or being picked up. I have been sitting near them, to allow them to come to me, as often as I can, and as long as I am just there, they will eventually come over and even run around on my hands. If I move at all, though, they freak, and run for a corner of their brooder. I know not to reach over the top of them, and to keep things as mellow as possible, and I notice that they are much happier with me if I am sitting near the food or offering them a swim, but I wonder if anyone has any tips for encouraging more trust to build. Thanks for any suggestions!
     
  2. Kaessa

    Kaessa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Food. Ducks are the most food motivated animals I have ever had. Try hand feeding them snacks like thawed frozen peas, finely chopped kale, or mealworm bits. Just make sure they have some chick grit available if you do give them snacks!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Honey Maid

    Honey Maid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with the food bit! My ducklings are about 12 days old. Everyday I go visit them 3 or 4 times a day, they're brooder is in their coop. I take them treats whenever I go, and that is the only time they have a pan of water to play in, when I'm there. They love to go after the goodies in the water, I stick my hand in the brooder with food in it, talk to them, they eat out of my hand. I dont push it, just take my time. Now when I go out to the coop, they come running, it's so darn cute.
    Today I broke down the brooder so they have the run of the coop, still have the heat lamp in there, and towels where the brooder had been, but the rest of the floor has wood pellets under a nice green grass hay.
     
  4. localife

    localife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Excellent! You all are awesome -- thanks!
     
  5. Kaessa

    Kaessa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're welcome! Good luck with your babies. Post pictures! :D
     
  6. PotatoWaffles

    PotatoWaffles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    At about a week old, I started giving my ducklings lettuce "soup". I put finely chopped romaine into a little bowl with a bit of water and held that while they ate it. Then I would scoop little pieces on my finger and they would eat those. Soon enough, they were eating lettuce out of my hand, as well as anything else I offered. They learned that a cupped hand means treats and come running whenever they see one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
  7. localife

    localife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ah, yes, just like goats -- I can't even walk out the back door without the goats shouting at me to hurry up with those treats! I gave them a bit of minced plantain weed in their water this morning, and they loved it, so I will do as you suggested :)
     
  8. localife

    localife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just discovered something that is making the babies SO much happier! I always worry about animals not having enough space, and I know ducklings grow fast, so I built the brooder for these 10 with 4'x4' floor space. It occurred to me that maybe they were feeling so freaked out because the space feels so big and wide open to them. Sure enough -- I cut a door into one of those cardboard file boxes (with the lift off lid) and made it into a little nest and they LOVE it! Now, when they sleep, all ten of them pile in and snuggle up. The lid lifts off, so it's easy to check on them and to clean it, and I am not kidding, they are CRAZY about it. I'll try to get a picture of the arrangement and post it, but I don't want to disturb the little cuties now :) I wish I'd thought of this sooner, as I think it would have made them feel more secure form the get go, but live and learn, and maybe the idea will help someone else too!
     
  9. Kaessa

    Kaessa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What a great idea! I think I'll do this, too. Thanks!
     

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