How to Get Your Ducks to Like You/Not be Afraid of You

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by motherofmanyblessings, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. motherofmanyblessings

    motherofmanyblessings Hatching

    Jul 22, 2019
    Hello everyone,
    I just joined--this is my first post. We've kept chickens for almost 2 years now, but we just got some ducks. We started with 4 Khakis, then added 2 Runners & 2 Silver Appleyards this past weekend. My question is how to get our ducks to enjoy being around us and not run away from us?
    When we just had the Khakis, it was awful--they ran from us and quacked a warning quack whenever we came near. When we got the other breeds, they were not quite so scared, but still a bit timid--a couple will eat from our hands very cautiously, and the Khakis have become a little less afraid.

    However, the ducks still have a fear of us which we wish wasn't there. I know some people's ducks sit on their laps, climb on their backs, etc. We saw a video of a lady on YouTube who practiced holding her ducks everyday and didn't release them until they relaxed. She said that worked for her and that eventually they'd climb on her back, etc. But ours get more scared after we hold them it seems.

    Thanks for any help/advice you can offer.
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Addict

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado

    A lot has to do with the fact that ducks are a prey animal. They instinstually fear everything. Totally normal really.

    I try to be happy just getting my birds comfortable with my presence. If you can just spend time near them without trying to touch them they will eventually calm down. It is unlikely they will ever be "lap ducks". It is just not in their nature.
  3. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Ducks and I’d say the majority don’t like to be held or picked up. They are prey for so many animals I think it’s just built in instinct. I have Muscovy, Runners and Buffs and none even my young Runners I have brooded inside want to be picked up. I am okay with that as most that have had ducks for a while. We can get them to trust us and be less afraid just by being out with them doing normal activities like sitting around reading or working in the yard or garden A calm atmosphere is what they like. I only pick up my ducks geese and chickens if necessary. :welcome Please share some pictures.
  4. Callender Girl

    Callender Girl Crowing

    Sep 18, 2018
    North Central Iowa
    I agree with everything Miss Lydia said. Most of my runners have been with me since they were day-olds. All but one will eat out of my hand. NONE ever, ever wants to be picked up. One of mine, who has a bum leg and has been handled extensively, still resists every time I have to touch her.

    I, too, have been amazed by those who have "lap ducks." I don't think I will ever experience that, but I adore my runners anyway.
  5. PaulX

    PaulX Songster

    Nov 15, 2018
    If you can't touch them without moving slowly, don't.

    For those that stepped away when I tried to pet them, what I did was I tried to steal a pet when I was feeding them (and holding their food bowl). Either they then associated the petting with food, or they just learned that being pet was not gonna kill them, but it gradually became easier to pet those more skittish ones.

    Once they're comfortable with being pet on the front, try the sides, then try petting the side while circling your arm above their backs, then the next step is to hug them. Once I can hug them I consider them 'reformed'. I don't try holding them tightly or picking them up. Even young imprinted ducklings don't like that.
  6. shawluvsbirds

    shawluvsbirds "FAKE EILLEEN"

    Apr 17, 2017
    Treats like peas and meal worms are good Ammo for getting your ducks close to you. Sit on the ground and toss the treats to them gradually getting them to come closer. Some of mine will almost get in my lap for treats.
    Other than that they are suspicious of me and don't like to be petted or picked up. :)
  7. WannaBeHillBilly

    WannaBeHillBilly Crossing the Road

    Sep 2, 2018
    Big Chimney, WV
    My Coop
    One of my White Layers, Blanca Duck loves me to pieces! She is playing games with me during the morning meal-worm and cat-food time: I gently grab her bill and pull a bit, she grabs one of my fingers, pulls back and then she quacks with joy!
    But picking her up? - No señor! Fugetaboutit!
    Tickling her chest? Joyful quack! - Hugging her sides? Tail wiggle! - Moving the fingers under her belly? Angry quack!
    It takes time and patience. - And lot's of treats!!!
  8. Texag87

    Texag87 Crowing

    Sep 22, 2018
    @WannaBeHillBilly , I hope you always remember to put your pants on when feeding Blanca.
  9. WannaBeHillBilly

    WannaBeHillBilly Crossing the Road

    Sep 2, 2018
    Big Chimney, WV
    My Coop
    Where's my oxygen tank!!!
  10. shawluvsbirds

    shawluvsbirds "FAKE EILLEEN"

    Apr 17, 2017
    ROFL!! :lau:lau:lau
    No doubt. :gig:gig:gig:gig:gig
    WannaBeHillBilly likes this.

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