How old is too old to bond?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by ZooMommy, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. ZooMommy

    ZooMommy Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi! I am new here and after MUCH research have decided on ducks for my girls over chickens. I have an 8x14" dog run separate from my main yard that I will be using once they are old enough to be outside. I have been reading that the younger the duckling the better bonding with humans. A local feed store has some Pekin ducklings and they are 2 weeks old. Is that too old for a good bond with my girls? I kind of think it may be good thing that they are a bit "older" being a bit larger and stronger being able to handle a bit more handling from the girls which may help with better bonding? Oh I also wonder if I should get one too. I see they are very social and some recommend a min of 3 ducks. Do I have enough room for 3? I don't want to have just enough room I want them to have more than enough. They will have access to my larger fenced yard for playtime and only be in the 8'x14" when I am not home and at night. I am so excited to get going on this! Thanks and I am sure I will have many more questions. :)
     
  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    2 weeks will probably be better in your situation as too much or rough handling of day olds is dangerous for them. I would not recommend getting only 1, they are much happier with other ducks. You have plenty of room for 3. Ducklings all go through a stage when they are terrified of everything. They don't need to imprint on people as day olds to become friendly pets. Quiet time and gentle handling along with treats once they are a little older will help. I got my ducks at 3 months old and don't treat them as pets but they still come running when I have feed/treats.

    I would make sure that Pekin are the breed you want and not just choose them because they are available. They can be loud, they are very talkative. Drakes can be very rough on ducks. You will also need to decide what you would do if you ended up with 2 males and 1 female (if you get 3). If that were the case, you would need to rehome a male. Unless the ducklings have been sexed (unlikely at most feed stores) you won't know what you are getting for a little while.

    They will need a shelter or coop in the run and it will need to be covered securely unless they are in a secure locked coop at night to keep them safe from predators.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. ZooMommy

    ZooMommy Out Of The Brooder

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    I was between Pekins and Rouens. I think the Rouens are much prettier but ultimately it is up to my girls what they like better. Thank you for the advice! I will consider the noise thing though. I only have one neighbor but their enclosure will be right outside my bedroom window. I had planned on getting only 2, one for each girl but I would get one "for me" if it would be better for the ducks. As for their cover outside I am looking for an old dog house to "refurbish". I have big plans!
     
  4. ducksinarow

    ducksinarow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 in their night time run that is 9x18. They free range from 2 to 8 hours a day and are fine. Never get 1 duck. They are unhappy and won't shut up.
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    ZooMommy,

    [​IMG]

    It's is great to see you thinking ahead and asking questions now. It may be a wonderful opportunity for you to talk to your girls about their decision ahead of time. While you could end up with relatively quiet Pekins or relatively chatty Rouens, see if you can get the girls to think about more than appearance (I know many people just love those big white fluffy pillow ducks [​IMG]). Thinking ahead, and talking about possible outcomes ahead of time will be a good skill for your children to begin to develop. I am still working on the thinking ahead stuff, myself [​IMG]

    I agree with what has been said, sounds like you'll have plenty of room. Here are some other things for you to consider:

    Predators have surprised many people with how they can find the smallest point of entry into the duck pen. They are persistent. They will find the loose nail, the weak board, the fatigued wire. Is the dog pen chain link? Half inch metal hardware cloth, I would go three feet high, needs to be placed around the outside of the chain link. Think about how you are going to prevent predators from digging under the fence. They only need an inch of space and then (please forgive the coarse-sounding detail here, but I have seen the results) they can grab a sleeping duck and pull it out under the fence. 'nuff said, I hope.

    Another point where perhaps most of us stumble and struggle at first is water management. Ducks are waterfowl, and need plenty of fresh water. It will stay clean for less than a minute, but that's beside the point.[​IMG] Ducklings and ducks need to be able to wash their heads frequently, to avoid eye, sinus and ear infections. They do much better when they can bathe. Kiddie pools are great, and I also use concrete mixing pans (those seem to last longer). Where will the enriched water go when you dump it? What kind of slope do you have? Can you direct it toward a garden bed or compost area? Some Duck Forum members are brilliant engineers and have terrific ponds and pools. Many of us have the pans and kiddie pools that get dumped, rinsed and refilled. But if you don't have the right drainage, you could end up with a swampy area and increased risk of disease for your ducks.

    I'll take a breath, now, and ask if you haven't yet, you take a look at the stickies at the top of the forum. We try to compile some of our best knowledge there.
     
  6. ZooMommy

    ZooMommy Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2013
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    Amiga - Yes and thank you. I have been lurking this sight for over a week every night and have already learned a lot! I will include my girls in all of those decisions and it will be a wonderful learning experience for them as there are many different things to consider.
    Predators are going to be my biggest issue. I live in South Florida in a rural area with bobcats, raccoons, snakes, hawks, owls you name it. Yes the enclosure is chain link and I will certainly be adding the additional wire along the bottom. I haven't figured out how exactly I am going to keep anything from digging in. I will make sure I have a locking and secure "house" for them at night. The area is along the side of my house and slopes away from the house for obvious drainage. I plan on putting their "pool or pond" in the bottom corner so that the water isn't flowing the whole length of the enclosure when they play and splash. I am hoping that will help keep some of the mud issues down. It will also make it easy to clean as I can just dump the pool or pond and the messy water will flow right into the woods; or we may just plant our garden there this year! LOL I have a hose right outside the gate and it will all be very convenient. The house also provides lots of shade for the area. The space was originally going to be for my Redfoot tortoise but didn't provide enough sun for enough of the day and I had to relocate him to another area that got more sun. I haven't settled on a ground cover yet. At the moment it is a mixture of dirt, weeds and grass. I would like to do pea gravel but am worried with the slope it would all just wash away with the rain coming off the roof of the house or from me hosing it out. I will be posting pictures as I begin working on it for advice and suggestions.
    Thank you for the questions and keep them coming I know I still have a ton to learn!
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    For the Day Pen I sandwiched coated chain link between two 1"x6" boards that run along the outer edge of the pen. In fact, the vertical supports are bolted into the 1"x6"s. Since you have an existing pen, what if you laid a two by four on the outside of the bottom of the chain link existing fence, and then inside, laid coated chain link with three inches going up the existing fence, and then placed another 2x4 on that and screwed a four inch bolt through the whole shebang? I am pitiful with describing things, please bear with me. It would be like a sandwich on its side. A two by four, the edge of the chain link that goes across the bottom, the vertical chain link, and another two by four.

    That would prevent you having to dig a trench, and I always ask myself how deep the trench needs to be, considering that a quiet coyote would have all night to dig through?
     
  8. ZooMommy

    ZooMommy Out Of The Brooder

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    Would that be enough to keep predators out? I may not be getting your full visual but that would just keep them from getting under the fence right? There is still the potential for something to dig? If I am seeing this correctly in my mind the end result would look like base board around the pen
     
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I'm going to attempt a sketch . . . . hang on.


    [​IMG]

    nah,


    [​IMG]
    okay, that's better.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  10. ZooMommy

    ZooMommy Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 11, 2013
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    Okay yes I see that! I will show my husband and he can get to work. LMAO.
     

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