Free ranging....

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by 3Kids&2Ducks, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. 3Kids&2Ducks

    3Kids&2Ducks Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a question about free ranging, part-time. We have 2 Swedish blue's, i believe they are male. Down where we live, everyone free ranges their chickens during the day, so it made me think about our ducks.

    For those that do or have free ranged, how do you get them back in their pens at night? They arent skittish of us, but they do keep their distance when we are in their pen. I would like them to get more exercise and be able to experience more, but i am worried about them wandering off and/or not being able to get them back in their pen when night comes. Everyone does it with their chickens around us, but then you have to be careful driving bc there are always someone's chickens in the road. I just want our ducks to have more freedom, but not be in the road or wandering off. Any ideas or experiences with free ranging?
     
  2. ducksinarow

    ducksinarow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I let mine out of there pen when I come home from work for a few hours. I have a fenced in back yard; however, they are good at escaping. I keep them in by checking on them and throwing peas out the back door every hour or so. Mine are big babies. They let me pet their chest. They are khaki campbells which are known to be nervous. Peas are the secret to duck love. I also dig worms for them. Mine run after me and right into their little house at night for a pea treat.
     
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    3Kids&2Ducks :

    I have a question about free ranging, part-time. We have 2 Swedish blue's, i believe they are male. Down where we live, everyone free ranges their chickens during the day, so it made me think about our ducks.

    For those that do or have free ranged, how do you get them back in their pens at night? They arent skittish of us, but they do keep their distance when we are in their pen. I would like them to get more exercise and be able to experience more, but i am worried about them wandering off and/or not being able to get them back in their pen when night comes. Everyone does it with their chickens around us, but then you have to be careful driving bc there are always someone's chickens in the road. I just want our ducks to have more freedom, but not be in the road or wandering off. Any ideas or experiences with free ranging?

    My ducks and chickens free range but we live far from a hard road, put their feed close to where you want them to go into at night, that way they will know that if they are in that area they will get something good to eat. I keep my ducks feed close to their house and in the evening all I have to do is walk behind them and they waddle right in to their house. [​IMG]
     
  4. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We free range our ducks and chickens. Chickens naturally will go into there coop. Our ducks came to us as adults and they free ranged at there other home, but never had a coop to go into at night (sadly the previous owners said they always lost a few a month because of nightly predators. I didn't want that to happen to them, our coop is a old work shed, it took them 2 days with me herding them into the shed around dark to get them to do it on there own. Now at dark just like the chickens they are resting in the coop waiting to be locked in. Honestly I think they love having a warm safe place to rest.
     
  5. EmAbTo48

    EmAbTo48 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh and mine never go out of our yard... we live on 100 acres. The house to the barn is about 1/4 mile and that's the farthest they will go. They stick around there shed and our 2 ponds, honestly I see it as if you have the food, water and pond/swimming area they won't go anywhere.
     
  6. tdgill

    tdgill Chillin' With My Peeps

    frozen peas (mine get thawed in warm water) are the secret. I give them a water bowl with peas, those heavy rubber ones from tractor supply, Fortex i think. they now beat me to the duck house to go in at nite for their peas....
     
  7. CelticOaksFarm

    CelticOaksFarm Family owned, family run

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    Duck herd very easily. We just walk behind slowly with our arms straight out movingthem towards their house for the night. I always announce bed time as I do it and our boss Goose will head in on her own with everyone else trailing behind. If she doesn't respond none of them do and the herding begins.
     
  8. tdgill

    tdgill Chillin' With My Peeps

    I like the herding too! I will put one arm up if they move too far to that side and vice versa. Seems slow works best?
     
  9. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ducks who know where home is won't usually wander far. They like familiarity and routine. You may be surprised at how close they'll stay. Mine never leave my backyard, even though there's a pond at the bottom of the one acre that they can see. But they never visit it, perfectly happy to hang around close to home.

    Getting them into their pen at night is easy because I've taught them to expect to be fed in their pen. I don't leave food out for them during the day, so by bedtime they're hungry and ready for bed. I put their food out, open the pen, and in they go. Close the door behind them, done.

    Good luck with yours. Free ranging is lovely for them and for you--they're so fun to watch. It makes me happy to watch them happily rooting around for bugs and looking for water they can turn into mud. [​IMG]
     
  10. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have 6 acres, 4 of which are fenced. The ducks have gone to the back fence line once, when the greyhound and I walked them out there and back. Otherwise they stick to the close part of the back yard that is closest to the house - probably a space of about 150x100 or so, though they do like to try to get to the front yard... though not often. Cadbury got out a few weeks ago and I got her back in and told her there was a coyote at the end of the driveway, she might not want to do that again or he'd be snacking on her! (coyote is now gone)

    If they are in a pen now, do they go to their night house on their own when it gets dark? If so, they will likely do that when free ranging as well.
    I'd start by letting them free range with supervision and herd them back toward their pen as it is getting dark.
    Then let them out, but check on them frequently and herd if you need to at night.
    Then let them out and they should be fine on their own.
     

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