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How to tame a pet duck?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DuckNoobie, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. DuckNoobie

    DuckNoobie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey everyone,
    So I finally got my 2 special appleyard ducks last Friday, they are 4 months old and came from a farm where they were raised by hand but then let outside to hang out with many other domestic ducks. They are currently a bit scared of humans and run away from me if im in their pen or trying to pick them up (they are not that fast and i catch them anyways).I'm wondering if there's any way to tame them that they come up to me on their own and let me pet them? Will they eventually not be scared of humans? I do try to get them closer to me by giving them lettuce, however they do not go beyond a certain distance (2-3ft). I'm attaching their picture, they are absolutely adorable!! Meet Daisy and Puff!
    [​IMG]
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] Ducks are prey animals. When you pursue and catch them, you are not 'taming' them - rather you are reinforcing that fear to run away from you. Move slowly and deliberately around them talking in a soft voice. Keep them a little bit hungry so that they come to associate you with feed. Be consistent in your approach and they will become more tame.
     
  3. DuckNoobie

    DuckNoobie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 7, 2015
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    Thank you!! The duck farmer told me to leave their food with them at all times during the winter (in Canada) so I guess they are never that hungry. Maybe they associate me with lettuce!! That's their favorite treat for now and sometimes they do brave up and quickly grab a piece from my hand. This is not very consistent at all
     
  4. Crazy4Fowl

    Crazy4Fowl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ducks loved meal worms. I bought the worms from my local pet store, bought some long lizard feeding tongs and they starting coming to me every time I had the tongs. But now they just come to me for company. They also (when I let them out to free range) are at the door wanting to come in! so cute!
     
  5. Jen1979

    Jen1979 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've found figuring out what their favourite food is helps tremendously [​IMG]

    For ours it is peas. Actually, they pretty much wont eat any snacks now except for peas. We've had ours for 6 months and it is only now that they are starting to really approach us.....but only if..... you guessed it - we have peas. haha
     
  6. PotatoWaffles

    PotatoWaffles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed! I went through lots of different treats when trying to make friends with the two adult ducks I adopted. I tried peas, greens, diced pumpkin, corn and even bread (I know it's bad but I was desperate; they turned their beaks up at it anyway), but it finally was the mealworms that won them over, the live, fresh ones from pet stores. They went nuts for them!

    I started the friend-making process by just sitting in their pen with a book and hanging out with them for an hour or so a day, talking to them quietly. When I got the mealworms, I tossed some in the pen and sat quietly nearby so they could find them while foraging and realize how delicious they were. Then I would lure them in by tossing them closer and closer to me. I would sit cross-legged and put a couple on my knees, and soon enough they were eating them from there (incidentally, this is now why my mallard nibbles at my jeans whenever I sit with them; he's convinced I have treats hidden in them). The first few times I offered them food by hand, they balked, but within a week or so of this process, they were eating out of my hand.

    Now I buy bags of dried mealworms from the feed store. They are much more convenient and easier to store. But I do occasionally give them the live ones for special occasions (like when they have to spend all day cooped up inside due to subzero temps; I feel so bad for them). I also toss handfuls of treats in their pen whenever I'm nearby, just so they keep associating me with positive experiences. They don't like me to reach for them or pick them up, or even walk towards them, and I doubt they ever will. I have to wait for them to come to me, but it's alright with me. I'm just glad they're not as fearful as they were. I'm going to hand-raise some ducklings that I hope will be a little more cuddly when grown, lol.

    Oh, and earthworms also make excellent treats, but they get them so rarely, especially now that it's winter and I'm not gardening. I've heard you shouldn't buy bait worms, though, because of the chemicals and stuff.

    I think everyone's advice is pretty sound. Spend lots and lots of time with them, even just sitting quietly with them in their pen. Find their favorite food. Give it to them whenever you walk by. They may never like to be held or touched, but it's worth a shot. Keep at it and good luck!
     
  7. Jen1979

    Jen1979 Chillin' With My Peeps

    @PotatoWaffles I'm starting to think my ducks are the only ducks in the world that don't like mealworms! They were going to be my 'go to treat' too! We even had a little mealworm farm going on (unfortunately a ridiculously hot 45 degree Celsius day a few weeks ago did all the mealworms in :/
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. PotatoWaffles

    PotatoWaffles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh noes! Poor roasted wormies =[ Ah well, all duckies are different. At least you know something they like. Maybe try different types of veggies or greens, since they seem to like the lettuce? There's an excellent thread on here somewhere about duck treats and what's safe for them to eat. Or just stick to what works and keep on keeping on, lol.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. Jen1979

    Jen1979 Chillin' With My Peeps


    I know, I couldn't believe it. We'd actually got them all the way from worm, to pupae to beetle and were waiting for them to lay their next eggs and one hot day ended the whole thing!

    I think I've come to the conclusion that they choose their treats by colour! Seems GREEN is acceptable, in pretty much any form. Red, orange, yellow or any other colour are completely horrible and need to be kicked (yes, literally, I've seen them kicking the treats) out of the Quack House! [​IMG] I just know the neighbours have heard me out there saying things like "Come on - look, it's corn! Just like a pea, only yellow..." [​IMG]
     
  10. PotatoWaffles

    PotatoWaffles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rofl! love how you made the best of the situation instead of throwing out the worms. Ducks don't like worms? Well then just raise them so they can have little worm babies, haha!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015

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