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How to Free Range Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by latb611, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. claytonjoyner15

    claytonjoyner15 In the Brooder

    May 7, 2014
    what kinda ducks do you have and how many? and are you going to free range just when youre there to watch them or all the time?
  2. nayeli

    nayeli Songster

    Jan 18, 2014
    I have welsh harlequins. A male and a female that I free range all day. We have them secured within a privacy fence so they are just left open to flying predators.
  3. CluckCluck18

    CluckCluck18 Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    Largo, FL
    I just put my 5 week old Pekins out to free range with my chickens. The yard is enclosed and everyone gets along fine, including my cat and dog who also hang out with them. They have a nice, cute little duck house and I can't get them to go in for anything ! I've tried everything...calling, whistling, begging, pleading and bribing with peas and mealworms...no luck. So for right now I just pray that they are OK. [​IMG]
  4. littlefrog

    littlefrog Chirping

    Aug 5, 2013
    Lansing, MI
    I was hoping my newish batch of (30-ish) ducklings would learn from last year's seasoned veterans, but at 10 weeks old they seem to still be mostly separate flocks. What I do is have my ducks in a 'pen' (~300 linear feet of 'electronet' fence, whatever area that covers). They go into a 20x12' coop at night, and I let them out into the enclosure during the day. Ducklings stay in my barn (not the coop, but my big barn) without access to the outside for the first four weeks or so. Then I start letting them out into the pen during the day, and eventually move them to the coop at night instead of the barn. My ducks like lettuce, so for a period of several weeks I feed them chopped lettuce as a treat at night, out of a big white bowl. I can lead them anywhere I want them to go with a few scraps of lettuce tossed from the bowl. I toss the remainder of the lettuce into the coop, and they dive right in.

    After that first few weeks of training, I don't even need the lettuce, just the white bowl... :) But I do try to give them their lettuce treat several times a week, anyway, just to keep the reward pathway enforced. Since I have a big enclosure this year, I waited longer than usual to let them out. At 8 weeks I open the enclosure a few times a week to let them wander into my pond or into the pasture, or wherever they want to go. They get duck pellets only in the evening in their coop. If I'm good, an hour or so before dusk I go out with the bowl (and lettuce, if I think it will be hard to get them in), and they follow me right back to the coop. I walk slow, backwards, flinging a few bits of lettuce in front of them and they just move as a flock.

    I still don't let everybody out every day. If I'm home, I will open the fence in the late morning and let them out. If I'm not going to home, I keep them in. And on those evenings where something comes up and I can't get them inside before dark, when I come home they are all in their coop waiting for food. It works pretty well.

    Oh, and I also 'quack' at them when I open doors (warning them, they can't see through the doors...), and sometimes when I'm trying to get their attention to go to the big white bowl. I don't know if that helps or not. My wife thinks I'm crazy...
  5. fancychick1

    fancychick1 Chirping

    Jun 23, 2014
    Oak Grove, KY
    I have 3 Pekin ducks along with 6 chickens and I free range they are all 3 months. When I first started I had to herd them in but now I just go out once its almost dark and they have all gone to bed. The chickens will go to bed before the ducks but they usually have to get one last swim in before bed. I have a privacy fence around my yard so they really don't have anywhere to wander off but I still lock them up at night. It's good to get them used to a routine. I am the main one that cares for them and if I walk out in the back yard and they can see me they come running but if they can't or I can't see them I usually just holler out and ask them what are you all getting into and they all come wandering out. They know my voice because I talk to them a lot so it is easy to get them to listen. They act just like children.
  6. Duck mama

    Duck mama In the Brooder

    May 19, 2014
    We had a slow start introducing our ducks to the pond. We were concerned that we would not be able to get them to come home, so we just took a few at a time. We discovered that ducks going into a new situation are like women when they go shopping... they all go to the bathroom (or the pond) together or they don't go at all! Some dear friends who have helped us raise the ducks came to help.... Kayaks were in the water to assist if needed, but the ducks ran back to the coop as fast as we could get them in the pond. It was really quite comical!
    I am happy to report that after a week and a half of free ranging our ducks, we have been very successful in getting the ducks to and from the pond with no trouble at all. They will now follow us out of their play yard and right to the pond. We have even taken them a different route and have had no trouble getting them to follow us. I LOVE MY DUCKS!
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    [​IMG] be sure to make sure you haven't any snapping turtles in your pond they can really hurt or even kill ducks.
  8. Duck mama

    Duck mama In the Brooder

    May 19, 2014
    We have a few gopher turtles, but we have never seen snapping turtles. That would be sad... we thought we just wanted to see ducks in our pond, but we ended up loving these little creatures! My husband and I get up early every morning so we can take the ducks to the pond so we can watch them while we have breakfast on the back patio.
  9. Duck mama

    Duck mama In the Brooder

    May 19, 2014
    We have 5 Pekins and KC and 4 Rouens. We ONLY let them free range when we are home to watch out for them.
  10. I have a flock of 6 adults and 18 5 wk old ducklings. They free range at will during the day and get locked up at night to keep them safe. If we are not here during the day they get put in the duck run which is covered. We have issues with predator birds (hawks, buzzards and golden eagles) so we only free range at will when we are around. If something flies over our geese and dogs are on the mark with their alerts.

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