How do I make my adult ducks like me?

Weeg

Crowing
Jul 1, 2020
2,605
4,281
326
Small town in Washington
I have always wanted to make my ducks like me and want to the with me, I tried to spend time when they when they were young, but they would just run form me, and I though that wasn't good, so I stopped. I have tried to not to act scary, and I spend lots of time with them when they were broody. They made progress, but then two of them got bumble foot, and I had to chase them to catch them, and it broke my heart that they were so scared. They are ounce again scared of me, and I am wondering if I can tame them so that they like me. A broody just hatched 3 ducklings, and I have tried to be kind to them, but since there momma, was very afraid of me, she kinda taught them to be too. Any ideas to see if I can get them to trust me? They are always so scared. Thanks, Avery
 

Weeg

Crowing
Jul 1, 2020
2,605
4,281
326
Small town in Washington
x2 @YodaBat
Also, mealworms.
It's worked for me with chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Everything loves mealworms.
I use meal worms and black solder fly larvae, to ge them to come close to me, I guess I just have to spend more time with them and tempt them with more treats! They have never had peas, or lettus so I am excited to see what they think of that! Also throw weeds and random chunks of greenery from the woods on there pond for a treat, and they love that!
 

AstroDuck

Songster
Aug 28, 2020
322
478
136
Lay down a blanket to sit on and throw their favorite treat all around the blanket. Allow them to come up to you in their time and for the first 4-5 times don't even reach or touch them just sit there and allow them to trust you on their own. I do this with all of my ducks at least once a week and as soon as they see me they all come running over (even the ones that were dropped off as adults and raised with minimal interaction).
 

KaleIAm

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 13, 2015
709
1,299
281
Carnation, Wa
You are on the right path and have a lot of good suggestions already! I'll tell you my story in case it helps, too. I got 3 1.5 year old rescue ducks who had been abandoned on a pond 5 years ago. They were terrified of me. My goal was for them to think, "oh, here comes the person who gives yummy things, yes! This is great" Instead of, "here is the scary person." I have definitely accomplished that. I can barely walk, as my ducks are so underfoot. They come when I call and eagerly eat from my hand. One of them puts her head in my lap when I sit down every day and gazes into my eyes!

1. I tried to not act like a predator. That means no sudden movements. No staring at them, no matter how adorable they were being. No direct eye contact. I looked at them in my peripheral vision. (I can look at them directly now!)

2. I taught them that I was not scary. Anything they showed me that made them feel afraid I stopped doing. If it made them startle or jump or run away I made a note of it and stopped doing it. They didn't like me walking directly at them, so I walked in big circles around them.

3. I got them to associate me with food. Every time they saw me I gave them their favorite treat.

4. I spent tons of time with them. Many hours a day, but not focused on them. I was between jobs for a couple months so for about 8-10 hours a day I just hung out with the ducks! I put a blanket on the grass and knit. I read books. I napped. I threw mealworms far away from me, and as time passed I threw them closer and closer until they had to come right next to me. Eventually those feral ducks were preening my hair and napping right next to me.

Some things still make my ducks scared, and I don't do. They don't like it when I reach for them. Occasionally I have to grab them to make sure they are okay, or to take them to the vet. They forgive me within a few days. I try to corner them, then get low to the ground and grab them as quickly as I can without making direct eye contact. The chasing part seems the most upsetting to them, so I avoid that.

Good luck!
 

Weeg

Crowing
Jul 1, 2020
2,605
4,281
326
Small town in Washington
Thank you guys so much! My biggest tissue right now, is that I am no tdoen treating bumblefoot, and I still need to catch them. How do I catch them without being super scary or having to run after them. I hate doing it, but it has to be done. Thanks again, Avery
 

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