How can I make my ducks calm down?


Jul 7, 2015
I have six khaki campbells and I put all of my time and energy into assuring that they are happy. They have a swimming poop, plenty of grass to graze on and a well bedded house. Though they still freak out as if the world is ending every time I come within five feet of them. I know they're ducks and that it's a natural instinct but it really gets in the way sometimes. For example, if I am inside of their enclosure to refill the water they fly over the fence and escape just to get as far away from me as possible. Then it takes me the next 10 minutes to catch them. Is there anything I can do to gain their trust and make them calm down? Can I train them in any way? Thanks for the help.
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Okay...immediately I see one of the "no-nos" if you want tame ducks: catching them. Catching them scares them terribly. You could perhaps clip their wings so they do not fly out.

Yes, you can definitely get them to calm down. With some ducks, they'll never be tame enough for you to just stoop down and pick them up, but most will get tame enough to stay relaxed around you and eat out of your hand.

The ultimate key is PATIENCE. It takes time.

Stay calm, move slowly, don't lunge for them, give them treats frequently (from your hand if possible). Also, you look less intimidating if you are kneeling or sitting. (You look like a Tyrannosaurus Rex to them, otherwise, right?)

Thank You. This was very helpful. Luckily, I have plenty of patience. I will try giving them some treats tomorrow. As for catching them, how do you suggest I get them back in if they escape? I have tried herding them back in slowly but they always seem to try and avoid going back in. I have also bribed them with food in the past but this only works when they're hungry. Thanks again.
Well if they escape and treats don't work, then herding/chasing is your only resort, I guess; at least I can't think of anything else.
I think setting up an area they cannot fly out of - can you raise the fence? Or fence across the top? The latter would mean you'd have to stoop to work in the pen, but it might be less stressful overall for everybody.

I found that for a while my Runners went berserk if they were cornered in the brooder. So I'd let them out into the hallway while I did room service. Maybe you can set up a temporary fence you can unroll and set up, let them walk into that, you go in and do your work, and then toss treats into the pen for them when you are done.

When they can expect treats, my Runners get really enthusiastic!
Their current enclosure is just temporary. I will be constructing a larger one for them soon (with a higher fence). Though with my luck escapes are inevitable. I will try bribing them with food or carefully herding them, trying not to spook them. I will also try to gain there trust with treats. Food is the ultimate bond... universally.
Finding something they really like as a treat. At first our ducks nor the geese found dried meal worms the least bit enticing. But now, when I step out back with the red solo cup, they know immediately what's coming. And they come running!! Its quite funny actually. Then I make sure I stay nice and low and not intimidating to them and share the worms with everyone right out of my hand. I sometimes have to hold some of the selfish ones back and make sure the more timid ones get their fair share. I call it my instant stress relief. Best thing in the world!! Hope this helps.

Troy & Tina
I do have a worm bin for compost. Maybe I could pick a few out every once in a while as a treat. Thank you. I will definitely try this.
We have a couple of nervous rescue ducks and I find that being calm and talking to all of them kind of calms them down so I don't surprise them. For example, "here I come with the hay cart!" Even though I probably sound like an idiot to the neighbors, the ducks know where I am and I'm not sneaking up on them. I also have been working with hand feeding - so far one of them has come up to get kale out of my hand, but otherwise they hang back and act shy. Generally just move slowly - our ducks freak out as a group if I move the hose suddenly or grab their pool.

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