how "tame" are mandarins and wood ducks

Discussion in 'Ornamental Fowl (Swans, etc.)' started by dainironfoot, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. dainironfoot

    dainironfoot Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2010
    woodburn, Oregon
    HI guys! I am currently working on my aviary(10'X23')and am still trying to figure out which ducks to get. I like mandarins and wood ducks and these seem to be good beginner birds according to most people on this site. My question is are they real "flighty"? I know they arent domesticated and will never be anything like a mallard but when I'm inside the aviary to feed them or clean the pond or whatever will they kill themselves to get away from me or just tollerate my presence? I would hate to see them bash themselves against the wire untill I left the pen. Also would there be any problem with keeping a pair of hooded mergansers in there with them. The pond is two feet deep and will take up almost half of the area. Would three pairs of ducks be too crowded in a 10'X23' aviary? Thanx in advance,

    -Tony
     
  2. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 9, 2008
    Hahira, GA
    Tony,
    Pen size will be fine for those 3 species in pairs. Wood ducks are the flightiest of ALL migratory species, they will tolerate you in there, but move slowly, do what you have to do, and get out. Watch them, let them do all the moving, do not crowd them in a corner or anything and they'll just move away from you. Mandarins are the next flightiest of them so same thing. You'll never be able to get them to let you touch them or anything like that, but they will be just fine in the pen as long as you "ACT RIGHT" while you are in there. If they feel you are trying to catch them or crowd them, yes they will fly. BUT, you'll ne surprised at how well they will know their surroundings after a month or so in the pen.
    Mine were all in 1/4 acre pens and they'd fly 60 miles an hour to the end, bank at the last second, miss the wire and do it again. They know where the ends are. So just move slow, be easy with them, and they'll all be fine.
    A lot of cover in the pen will go a long way to calming them down, bushes, tree tops, anything they can get into and feel hidden. an open barren pen with no cover equals jumpy scared birds and none will evern breed for you.

    Yes mandarins and wood ducks are about the easiest to keep, little harder on brooding, but good over all beginer ducks. The hoddeds will get along fine with them, they arent aggressive at all, they are a little harder to keep, will require you giving them floating catfish food or small pettet dog food for a protein boost to mimick their fish diet.
    The most agressive ones you will have are the mandarins. They can be a bit grumpy in breeding season, but never cause any real damage, will just run the smaller ducks away from their area of the pen..
    good luck with them, and by the way, all 3 are cavity nesters so you will need 3-5 nesting boxes for them.
     
  3. dainironfoot

    dainironfoot Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2010
    woodburn, Oregon
    Hey thanks for the lengthy reply! That answered so many of my questions. I'm thinking if I get the Mergansers it will be later after I get some experience with the mandarins and wood ducks, thank you again for the great info.

    -Tony
     
  4. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 9, 2008
    Hahira, GA
    no problem.
    Dont know if you have seen it or not, but I did start a Migratory waterfowl thread. It's in the "sticky" section of the duck forum.
    The first 5-10 pages are a basic step by step approach to keeping these. Feel free to look it over, kinda broke them down group by group in care.

    Smart to hold off on the mergansers til you get your feet wet. If you have trouble keeping wodd duck and mandarins, there's no need to step up to the much more expensive mergansers, as they are way harder to keep. And super hard to brood without live starter food.
    Good luck and if you have any more questions, feel free to ask here or on the migratory thread
     
  5. Speceider

    Speceider Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 4, 2011
    In my opinion, wood ducks are very difficult to tame. I have known 1 person out of hundreds I've met who raise wood ducks who had tame birds. He was retired, hatched and brooded them in his house, and fed 5000 crickets/week (I think it was most of their diet) by hand. He released them when they could fly, and 1 year later still would open the door and have birds run in the house waiting for their crickets. There is also the pic in Chris Savage's book of Earl Grey handfeeding mandies on a bench in England.

    It can be done, but I assume both were working with incubator hatched birds and hand-fed at an early age. otherwise, work slow and minimize disturbance and quick motions. I personally do not believe wood ducks are a good beginners bird. I would suggest cinnamon or ring teal as beginner birds.

    Clint
     

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