I want to love our Runner Ducks, I really do...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kjmcallahan, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. kjmcallahan

    kjmcallahan New Egg

    Jul 9, 2011
    We have been chicken owners for years, and decided to try runners this year. Other than being charmed by how cute they are, i can't say there's a lot of chemistry. i've accepted that they aren't going to be as handle-friendly as our chickens, and I'm going back to square one with teaching the kids how to be around them (calm, don't chase, offer treats, accept they don't want to be held).

    I can live with that. But i need to know that we can work with them, for example, i can't get them in at night.

    We house them with a new flock of layers and all just recently moved from a small tractor to a bigger coop house, surrounded by a fenced yard. None have figured out yet to put themselves in at night, which is fine. at dusk, we go down and the chicks are mellow and we pick them up and put them in. But the ducks! good god- we can't get near them! we've ended up having to net them, which is terrible because i know its freaking them out and not helping our cause. its taken 2 of us to do it as well. tonight my husband is out and i was only able to get 2 of them, so 5 are out, in the dark. they're fenced, but it's not predator proof.

    so,- any ideas? the coop is off the ground, and there is a ramp to get up to the door. they dont' seem to get that at all. the chickens have gone up and down. should we just build them their own small house at ground level?? I'd love to let them roam in the garden, but i'm afraid i'll never get them back to the chicken yard again...

    veteran duck keepers- help!

  2. gofasterstripe

    gofasterstripe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ducks dont like ramps and they slide on it, plus if its not wide enough they wont go up. You need to make a little corridor for them to go down to get them up. Dont rush them, just walk slowly. Ive had new ducks that dont know how to get up the 4 steps to get up into the house, if youj ust give them time and space and dont rush them they will get the hang of it. You have probably scared them to with the net so now they think every time oyu try to put them up they think you are going to net them and they run.
  3. critterranch

    critterranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2010
    Red Creek, New York
    having a small light in coop helps them go to bed and doing it at the sametime everyday till they learn how to do it. it should only take a week or less.learning how to herd ducks will help too.. stand back about ten feet from your ducks they will naturally flock together if startled. walk slowy and quietly at the sametme raise your arm up. left or right. use the arm of the oppsite direction you want them to move. slow is the key when you get right to the door raise both and they will go right into door. this may sound a bit funny but it works. i use for everything. i trained my geese this way too. i use this on ducks as young as 5-6 weeks.
  4. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Either a new space for them to snooze in or give them doable steps to get in with the chickens.
    Then add peas or other irresistible snacks. Try to herd them to the duck house and snack them there. Get in house, get yummy snacks. Get in house, get yummy snacks. Get in house, get yummy snacks. Eventually, they'll think getting in the house for bed is a good thing and yields yummy snacks and do it willingly.
  5. speckled_egg

    speckled_egg Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 31, 2009
    If you want to herd them into their cage (maybe a lower one, or make a fluted chute up to the door of your coop), you can try circling (more, half-circling) them, walking in the direction you want them to walk away from. It's odd to explain... but when they see you walking one direction, they will want to run the other way, and as you go back and forth behind them, you sort of walk back and forth in a half-circle behind them. If they're going a direction you don't like, you walk that direction as well and they will turn around. Hopefully that makes sense. [​IMG] If it doesn't, you can check out Temple Grandin's videos. It's her basic concept. It works with feedlot cattle, and it works with my ducklings who are only 3 weeks old, so it may be worth a shot.
  6. fourpekinducks

    fourpekinducks Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 4, 2011
    I have ended up buying a duck house for mine - because they wont go up the ramp (I am using a chicken coop). But they do go to the coop and dusk [​IMG] - Your ducks just need to learn where home is [​IMG]

    Stick with them - I have had my ducks a week and well and truly in love [​IMG]
  7. gofasterstripe

    gofasterstripe Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG] Sounds like we are all master herders in here. Yep after a while it just comes natural and you have to learn by your mistakes on how to get them in. The only ones I havent had to train was the last batch that just moved outside. They were so used to getting their veg of a night that when they saw me coming across the yard with their bowl they knew it was time for bed and jumped, stumbled, flopped and tried again untill they all got up the steps to get their veg. It was so funny, but as soon as they were in and ate their veg, I said its bedtime and they all went quiet and settled.
  8. goosedragon

    goosedragon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Central NC
    Master herder? The runner duck is the most simple of Poultry to herd . They have been bred for herding for centuries, Thats why they have such a different stance and gait than other ducks. they were herded out of the village in the morning after they had laid their eggs (usually by a female child) and herded home again in the evening for protection. There are stories of duck stampedes to get home but no human injuries.
    One fine point that I didn't see above is that there is usually a natural leader duck (drake) that the rest of the flock follows. Keep an eye on him and get him headed right and the rest is a bit of cake. ~gd OR get a Muscovy duck they seek their roost when night falls like a chicken does.
  9. lovesgliders

    lovesgliders Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2011
    Quote:Yup! I love this approach and it totally works! My ducklings are only three weeks old but they already go scrambling back to their brooder (puppy playpen) after I've finished cleaning it because they know I will have treats in there for them. Before I "trained" them (more like they trained me! LOL) it used to be a pain to put them back in there; why go back in that little space when you can roam the whole house and poop on the floor? [​IMG]

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