help with terrified ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by valewife, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. valewife

    valewife In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2009
    I was just given 3 abandoned runner ducklings, about 2 weeks old. Mom disappeared. They obviously have never been handled and are terrified of the sight of me. Their reaction is heart-breaking and I worry that they will injure themselves.
    They are inside, in a tub, under heat, eating/drinking ok as long as they don't see me. I've raised a number of ducklings but they were just days old when I got them, no fear issues.
    Any suggestions/advice on taming these babies and reducing the trauma to their 'duckling psyches' ?

  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    My very own ducklings went through a phase, beginning around three weeks, during which they panicked at the sight of me.

    Some very kind, experienced BYC Duck Forum members helped me out.

    First, it is nothing you have done. It is a combination, I feel, of their situation and their age.

    What helped me: Come toward them as close as possible to ducking eye level. Yes, this may sound ridiculous. But large things coming in from above terrify them.

    Start making gentle noises before they see you.

    Offer a few treats (peas worked for me). Just roll a few peas toward them and sit quietly while they eat.

    Spend as much quiet time with them as possible. At first you may only be able to sit a few feet away. Get closer when it seems they will tolerate it.

    Sing them a lullaby, a good morning song, just make quiet friendly noises (reciting the alphabet is just as helpful as an aria).

    Be prepared for this sad, difficult phase to last for weeks.

    If you remain calm, bring treats, and try to avoid surprises or towering over them, after this phase they will likely become much more friendly.

    I can pick up any of my ducks fairly easily, four or five of them will let me pet them.

    All are friendly.
  3. wildpeas

    wildpeas Songster

    Mar 18, 2012
    Port Orchard, Wa
    My ducklings are coming up on 3 weeks old and are going through a bravery spurt right now. Its pretty cute they way they are acting all tough and stuff. The khakies used to be big scaredy cats but now are getting to be pests. I have them all in a room we go in and out of all day long. I stop by their brooder and talk to them throughout the day. Sometimes I "peep" at them. They seem to like it. I give them lettuce everyday and they now expect it around mid-day. It has helped a lot in the taming process. You cant do something in the brooder without being mobbed anymore which can be a real hassle at times. I dont expect them to ever be as domesticated as our other pets so comfortable with us all the time is the goal. I try to make everything I do around them no big deal and when they act scared I just pretend like I dont notice. They come up to me faster when I act like I dont want them. It works on our pony too. [​IMG]

    Good luck with your ducklings. I'm sure they will come around.

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