Free range...?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by m.kitchengirl, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 3 Ancona ducks who I absolutely LOVE.

    They live in a 34 square foot house in a 1.5 acre fenced in yard. In the area of the yard where we keep the ducks there are 2 raised beds, the fence is bordered with cedar bushes and rhododendrons, an apple tree and a huge cherry tree. The apple tree & cherry create a huge shaded area - maybe 64 square feet of room under the cherry tree.

    They are let out around 11 A.M.. When they come out I do my duck house chores, and they follow me all over the yard chatting with me and one another. Probably just like your routine. I have a big pool in the back area, also near a garden, and some blackberry bushes, the chicken coop, etc. They love that part of the yard, it is much bigger than the garden area they are in, has longer grass, etc. But they won't go into that part of the yard unless I am with them. In fact, they won't go to ANYWHERE else in the yard but under the trees unless I am with them. At certain times of day - first thing in the morning, then at 4 P.M. they raise the call for me to come chaperone them in the big yard. (Good thing I work from home!) They never get more than 30 feet away from me when I am outside. I try to get them to roam the whole yard unsupervised, but to no avail.

    Is this normal duck behavior? I always thought they would range all over the fenced part of the yard. My friend's ducks range over her 5 acres & she has problems getting them all back into their barn at night. Is it because I only have 3? If they had more other ducks would they range farther?

    How many ducks would you keep in a 34 SF duck house? I thought 3 was the max but I have seen people suggest a 3 by 4 foot duck house is big enough for 4 large ducks. That sounded small to me. I plan to get a trio of Welsh Harlequins next season, and was going to build another enclosure like the one I have, could I get away with keeping them together when not breeding?
     
  2. tbitt

    tbitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2011
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    How old are they?

    I have a group of "youngens" (born the end of June) and they do EXACTLY what you are describing. They have around 9 acres to roam and they stay within about 1/2 acre..... all around their house and pen. [​IMG]

    They have just started to follow the 3 adults further from their comfort zone. Yesterday I got home from work and they were gone, nowhere in site....or so I though. [​IMG] I (in my work close and sadnles) roamed the yard and found them along the side of the barn [​IMG] (just out of site of the driveway [​IMG]).
     
  3. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Two are 6 weeks and 1 was hatched in June also. I don't mind them staying close, I just worry they are bored if I am not out there.
    I know it is silly, but even my gentleman friend said, "Wow, they really like you to stay close, huh?" after he worked from home yesterday.

    They are such wonderfully charming creatures. I think I act a lot like a duck. I look at everything sideways for a while before I feel confident to approach.
     
  4. DUCKGIRL89

    DUCKGIRL89 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    m.kitchengirl :

    Two are 6 weeks and 1 was hatched in June also. I don't mind them staying close, I just worry they are bored if I am not out there.
    I know it is silly, but even my gentleman friend said, "Wow, they really like you to stay close, huh?" after he worked from home yesterday.

    They are such wonderfully charming creatures. I think I act a lot like a duck. I look at everything sideways for a while before I feel confident to approach.

    When my 6 month old ducks were that age they would not leave the side of their pen [​IMG]! But now they have no problem. yours are still a bit young. will come around to being more like big ducks [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011
  5. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My youngest are 12 weeks old, the oldest is about 6 months old, and she's the only one that will wonder off. The other 5 hang by me. They don't want held, they don't want touched, that just want to be near me for when those vicious killer airplanes fly over. Well and we had a real hawk looking around the other day, so I don't blame them. I watch them and they watch me, they use me as the all clear when a hawk does fly around, I stand still and watch it till it leaves, then go back to work. They do the same. They've got this dig started that may take them to China right smack in the middle of the yard, in a low spot that collects water.

    We just got 5 inches of rain overnight... guess who wanted out first thing to go play in it?

    I think it's a security thing until they get older.
     
  6. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, I wondered. It is very cute. I guess it surprises me because my oldest duck I got at 4/5 weeks and he was poorly treated before coming to me. He has come around quite a bit and wants more than the other two to be near me now. The little ones lead him to be more adventurous.
    We mostly have evil planes, not hawks etc here. I think because I am nestled into a craggy place near the top of a small mountain they must hunt to our East, where more valley and open land is. I don't know though, this is just a theory.
    I think that most people around me raise chickens and other birds, I would say there are probably 5 chicken owners for every person who doesn't have them. Maybe that keeps predation down, too.

    I always think of that show with the little dude who would yell, "The plane, the plane boss!" when my ducks go all sideways watching one fly overhead.
     
  7. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I think it's pretty normal well from my experiences, my younger pair didn't want to wander around very far either they still don't go as far the older 4 but there expanding.. i think it's both a confidence and a comfort thing(staying close to what they know best) [​IMG]
     
  8. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

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    Ducks know best. I am amazed how close mine stay to the house. They do sometimes go further than other times.

    Sunday, I was horrified to see at least 8 hawks on all sides of the house, taking advantage of overcast skies I suppose. I called the chickens in closer to the house. Anyway, I think the ducks and chickens realize that the big trees and bushes are good cover and protection.
     
  9. zzGypsy

    zzGypsy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    they may get bolder and travel further as they get older. we free range our ducs during the day from the time they're a month or so old (out of their baby fluff). at first they hang close to their night pen, but over the course of 6 months or so they expand until they're all over the 2 acres.
     
  10. newbyduckmom

    newbyduckmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Snohomish County, WA
    My ducks used to stay within 20-30 feet of the duck house. They recently have started roaming all over. If I turn away they can disappear in seconds....heading down our gravel road, back in our woods, over in the garden area on the far side of the property. Foraging in and under bushes where they cannot be seen, where previously this was not something they would do, they were too scared. They have lost their fear of being too far from safety of the duck house. Makes duck house duty a little more difficult as it is the only time they are out to "free range" and I now have to keep an eye on them. The only good thing is the drakes usually come when called...'duck, duck, ducks" gets a response from the drakes the hens are too busy to be bothered!
     

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