Help Indian runners!??What to do?


11 Years
Aug 25, 2008
Moncton New Brunswick
HI All

Thinking I should give my ducklings away!!

They are 3 1/2 weeks old (two of them) and I'm afraid they don't have enough room.
They are in a brooder with food, hot lamp and big dog bowl.
2 1/2 feet by 3 1/2 feet. I can move them to the a dog play pen which is bigger.
They are so skiddish and just huddle and squeak when ever I go near them. I feel they should have access to grass and outside too but it's starting to get cold here in Canada.
I was planning on putting them in with my 15 hens and 2 roosters in 2-3 weeks but am afraid they will make too much mess and that the chickens will pick on them.

The coop has an outdoor run so they would be able to go out. BUt will they be feathered enough in 2-3 weeks?

I am so confused and fear that I am not going to be able to give them a good home.

Anyone kept these guys? Any pointers what more could I do?

Thanks so much!
Indian Runners are naturally loud and skittish, but they will keep up with even your best laying hens when it comes to laying large eggs every day (nothing is better for baking than a duck egg - it's one of the secrets great chefs have).

The brooder size should be fine for them. In another 2-3 weeks they will double in size and be virtually completely feathered out, so you should be fine. Just make sure they have an area outside that is dry and keeps the wind off of them.

They should be out on the grass, but it doesn't have to be for very long. When the sun is out let them stay in a pen for an hour or two for exercise and to eat up bugs. If you really want to make them happy, buy some fishing worms or put them in a really buggy area (raise up an old board and set them down to feast).

If you have the time to sit out in the yard and watch them you can slowly introduce them to your chicken flock. Expect them to be picked on a little. If things get too bad you can run in and separate them out. Putting them inside the pen in their own little cage usually works the best at first. To distract them from all the crazy new sights and sounds, set them down in the pen when you feed and water them. That way they're more interested in eating and drinking than trying to break through the wire.
I felt the same way for a very brief period about my two ducklings. I have a Khaki Campbell and a domestic mallard. The chickens are probably a month or two older than the ducks. When I first introduced them to each other the chickens would peck at the ducklings so I separated them. I kept the ducklings in a large dog crate inside of the chicken coop. Everyone could see each other, but not get close enough for pecking.

LOL, skip forward a few weeks and the ducks are now larger than the chickens and give the chickens a good chasing once in awhile (they're sharing the same run until I get a duck enclosure built).

So far I've forgotten to pick up some worms or grasshoppers when I've made the 45 minute trip to town. For now, my ducks favorite treat is some chopped up green leafy lettuce tossed into a large pan/bowl of water.

I have a 55 gallon horse trough that I use as a small pool for the ducks. While they're swimming I sit very close to the trough with my hand hanging slightly in the water. I let them make the decision to come to me... and they love "snuffling" my hand with their bills! It's about the only time they don't think I'm gonna kill them when I'm close to them! Their pool time is my favorite for watching their antics.

Good luck... I hope things work out where you decide to keep them!
Indian Runners are great! I had them for years. Can you just pick them up occasionally? Have they imprinted on you?-if so they will follow you. Maybe try this inside at first. They ar very hardy. Mine were kept outside when I lived in Northern Indiana. The had a pen and a insulated shed to go into. It got below zero many days there in the winter and they did fine.
Thanks for the support guys!!

I haven't been putting them outside! I've had them for 10 days hopefully I didn't do them any harm.
I will try to put them out tomorrow. I' m afraid they'll hurt themselves in their panic to get away from my hands when I go to pick them up to move them outside!

I'll set the doggie playpen up on the grass and move them out there for a little bit. Hopefully it won't be too cold for them.
I have been giving them greens in their water and they absolutely love this!

I think this weekend, I will move them to the coop (separated from the chickens for now) as it is warmer than the garage and it will get them use to being around the chickens before actually moving in with them.

So there is some hope I guess.

I'll keep you posted on how things work out.

thanks again!

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