Free range ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Bteeg, Jul 27, 2017.

  1. Bteeg

    Bteeg In the Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2017
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    I just recently acquired two 8 week old Cayuga/black swedish mix ducks. I'm already in love! I currently have them in my chickens run with a kiddie pool since my chickens free range now. I put them in the coop at night inside a pen so my rooster doesn't bother them. I was wondering, how well do ducks free range? Will they come back to the coop at night like chickens? I also have a creek on my property that isn't fenced acrossed, the rest of my acre is fenced. If the ducks swam in the creek will they swim down it and never come back or do they have pretty good instincts to stay around the coop? IMG_20170726_151024.jpg
     
  2. dfalco

    dfalco Songster

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    I can only speak of what my ducks do, but they free range without any problems. There are no fences here, but they don't wander off. They roam over much of a three acre area, but have their favorite spots where I can usually find them. At night they usually wait in their pool for me to come insist on them cooping up. When they see me approaching they clambor out and head to the pen. Some evenings they go inside their pen without my insisting. They stay in close proximity to the chickens most of the time.
     
  3. Bteeg

    Bteeg In the Brooder

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    Mar 22, 2017
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    Thanks for the reply. One end of my creek I'm not too worried about since there is a dam that I couldn't imagine them waddling up and over it. The other end of my creek is open and goes to a church that owns a couple acres. No one is usually there except on Sundays and maybe Wednesday nights/special occasions.

    My other question was how long should I keep them penned up before letting them free range? Are they the same as new chickens in the sense of keeping them cooped for a few days so they know that is home?
     
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    My Ducks never wander off....They stay close to their kiddie pools and forage around close to the pens and the house...I have two Dogs trained to look after my Birds so my Birds all stay home...
     
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Mary Did You Know....

    The creek will be the draw though. Ducks love water.
     
  6. slordaz

    slordaz hatchaholic

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    My friend's swedes stay pretty close they are either in the little pond swim up the ditch to visit with the cows out in the pasture but are easily herded back to the pen or run for it if there's danger. She waits to let them out for the day until after they have laid as she had one hide a nest so well she didn't even know they were broody until it showed up with 3 new chicks wanting in the closed off part where 2 others were sitting on eggs to keep em away from the flock and predators. She ended up with 13 ducklings this year.

    By the way just a word of warning, Rooster never bothered the ducks but the drake killed a couple of hens trying to breed them, not such a good idea to house them together.
     
  7. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Crowing

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    Mine have no problem free ranging.Besides predators. Ive noticed that when the chickens see a hawk they run under a tree while when the ducks see a hawk they kinda just stand there and look at it.If you have crick watch out for snapping turtles.One of my ducks got its head chopped off by one.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
    slordaz and chickens really like this.
  8. slordaz

    slordaz hatchaholic

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    well if they have a free ranging flock with a rooster they usually don't have a problem if he's good, our rooster and drake were quite a pair, they took on a hawk. the one they both hid on was from eagles , not much would bother either flock. But the ducks are so young , they do grow fast at least month old ducklings are almost 1/2 the size of their mammas already. friends flock started out 1 drake and she finally found 4 hens, it's now 2 drakes and 28 hens in 2 years though, it is harder to get rid of extra drakes around here though, she has gotten rid of extra drakes by selling a hen with it.
     
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  9. sannabelle

    sannabelle Crowing

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    If you provide a source of water closer to home they will probably be less likely to wander to your creek- I have 10 ducks that free range all day, and two huge ponds about 5 acres away from the coop. They have a pool close to the coop so they tend to stay closer and don't wander over to the ponds :) mine free range with my chickens without any issues, they are actually better at staying close!

    I started letting mine out for supervised play time when they were 6 weeks old or so, and by 8 weeks old they had it down to go to the coop at night. They're the second to last ones in (the turkeys are last), but go in without fail before dark :)
     
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  10. I'd recommend at least two weeks and then to only let them out for short periods of time at first with you out there with them to shoo them back in after a bit to reinforce the idea that the coop is home.

    Right now while they aren't free ranging would be a perfect time to start treat training them. I used meal worms for training my ducks and every time I poured mealworms in their pool, I would call/sing "duckducks!" and shake the mealworms bag so they would associate all that with yummy treats. Now I can call them in from the garden back to their pen with the call/song and mealworms. (Well, most of them. Broody Buff has gotten a bit bitchy lately so I have to go out to get her.) The younger ducks have figured out that the coveted mealworms are stored in the big tote and now every time I open the tote to get something out, they run over! Silly ducks.
     
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