How to start Free Ranging?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Britesea, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Britesea

    Britesea In the Brooder

    Jun 3, 2013
    My 10 Khaki Campbell ducklings are just over 1 month old and currently living outside in a coop with enclosed yard. I would like to allow them to free range, but I'm nervous about getting them to go back into their yard and coop at the end of the day. Right now, they still won't go into their coop easily- I have to trap them in a corner of the yard and then pick them up one at a time and place them on the ramp. Once they are on the ramp they almost always go into the coop.
    They want me to be around,but not closer than about 8 feet away. How can I make sure they won't run all over my 1/2 acre property instead of going into their yard?
  2. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Songster

    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    I hope I can help you. I have KCs, along with a mixed flock of other ducks. My KC are a bit more challenging, because out of all my ducks past and present, the KCs are the only ducks here that do fly. Not long sustained flights, but they do fly a bit, either to get away or to leave my open roofed pen. That being said tho, my Most of my KCs are going on 2yrs old and they are pretty used to the routine, so the flying is not really much of an issue anymore.

    Do you have any temporary fencing that you could use for a week or so, just to help you while you're training them to stay close? I have done that. The other thing I did that worked great was I used 2 really long tree branches to direct traffic, just to get them where I wanted them to go.

    Someone on this site told me that with ducks, slow and quiet is the way for humans to move around them. Always keep an eye on the direction their heads are pointing, that is your clue which way they're going to go. Some of the best advice I ever got right there! Of course that's easier when you're only wrangling one duck, when you're dealing with a whole flock, they might all be looking to scatter all different ways. In that case, I would back way off, allow the flock to regroup, and then try again. A lot of that herding ducks stuff takes time, sometimes too you might need a kid or DH or even a trusty dog to block a potential exit path.
    I have found food to be the great motivator here. So when mine start getting hungry, I will offer food inside the pen and they come a- runnin. They will learn quickly. Try these things and post back. :)
  3. cosbackyard

    cosbackyard Songster

    Feb 20, 2013
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I use two long sticks, one in each hand, and spread them wide to herd them in. Works like a charm.
  4. Britesea

    Britesea In the Brooder

    Jun 3, 2013
    *GULP* I guess I will give it a try this weekend, when both DS and DH will be available to help. They are getting their routine a little better now- half of them voluntarily go into their coop when it starts to get dark- but I still have to at least put them on the ramp. I've been using a long piece of bamboo to herd them into a corner and then put a board across the corner to keep them from running away and then lifting them onto the ramp, so they are getting used to the bamboo pole too.
  5. Carcajou

    Carcajou Songster

    Jul 3, 2012
    Delhi, New York
    I let them eat all the feed I give them in the morning (inside their enclosure) and feed them inside their enclosure around 4 PM or so. You may have to stand aside to let them in but they should go to the feeder. Until they get the routine of going into the coop on their own, you might try placing a few treats in the coop. Good luck!

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