Ignorant/ disobedient ducklings

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DuckTuckandRole, May 11, 2016.

  1. DuckTuckandRole

    DuckTuckandRole Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 1, 2015
    I hatched one of my ducks (pekin) and bought another (blue swedish). My ducks have been running away from me, biting me and worst of all i think they're scared of me. how do i discipline them? Just today i let them outside and they ran away from me into the lake. i got so mad i almost had to run into the mucky water to grab them. Whenever i use a higher pitched voice they move forward a bit and then back off and walk away. The Pekin is almost 3 weeks old (on thursday) and the blue swedish is almost 3 weeks too (on saturday). What do i do? i want them to be able to hang around at family gatherings with us and be fun and cuddly.
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire and Team Tube Feeding XO

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    You can't 'discipline' ducks. They are a prey species and won't respond to any type of yelling or hitting as anything other than you being a threat. You are a predator. You are bigger than them and you could kill them. You getting mad at them and nearly having to chase them into the lake isn't helping. Any kind of chasing is just going to reinforce their fear. They're not being disobedient. They're most likely biting you out of fear, just as any other animal would.

    You can try to win them over with treats, something like mealworms or maybe a little bit of bread (just a little, bread's not really good for ducks). You can spend time with them sitting calmly and silently and not reaching for them, etc. Just let them be in your presence and learn you are not a threat.

    If they don't come around, don't take it personally. They're prey. Everything wants to eat them. You are a predator. You are built like a predator. They are instinctually afraid of you. They will probably never be cuddly. Most ducks don't like being picked up at all. Even my friendliest ducks that come over to see me when I enter the pen and nibble on my shoes do not like to be picked up and will move off if I reach for them.
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    3 weeks is prime time for "everything is out to get me"

    As mentioned above, you are much bigger than them so their instinct is you are going to eat them. Spend time just handing around them at their level so you don't seem so big and threatening. Bribe them with treats. Peas are a favorite of many a duck.

    And maybe change your expectations with the ducks. They are ducks, they aren't a cuddly lap dog or cat. They may come to you and be willing to be near you, but they are likely not going to enjoy cuddling.
  4. DuckTuckandRole

    DuckTuckandRole Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 1, 2015
    what about being picked up? they run away even when i try to fill their food bowl. will they get any better as they get older with being handled?
  5. dotknott

    dotknott Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 11, 2016
    Rhode Island
    My Coop
    It's all about time and trust. Some ducks may never like being picked up, others may tolerate it because peas.
  6. Fawkes

    Fawkes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 8, 2011
    Just spend as much time as possible with them and they'll warm up to you. They're going to be more nervous as ducklings because everything is a threat. As they get older they'll calm down.

    Where do you keep them? If possible, have their brooder in a place indoors that gets a lot of traffic, so they can get used to people walking around them.

    At first it might be helpful if you have 'sessions' where you lay on the floor with them and let them come to you. When they come to you, don't reach out, don't make sudden movements. Act like you don't even notice. Have a book or something with you to do and keep your attention on that.

    Treats are also good for getting them to trust you.

    If chasing or grabbing is necessary in order to keep them safe e.g. when you let them outside and have to catch them again if they won't come back willingly, then don't do that until they trust you and will come to you when called. Chasing and grabbing at them will just lead to set backs.

    When I say spend as much time as possible with them, I mean literally. If you watch tv, have them on the couch with you. If you're on your phone/laptop, get the ducklings out and spread a blanket on the floor and lay down there with them. If you need to get a drink carry one with you to the kitchen with you. If you're preparing dinner then put some things on the floor that they can play with and let them free range the kitchen while you prepare your food (obviously be careful not to step on them and don't do anything dangerous like boil water etc). Talk to them a lot, ducks love to be talked to IME.

    It's like if you had a puppy, you have to get the puppy accustomed to everything. The puppy will be afraid of all sorts of things, from different sounds to different textures to people and so on. It just takes time to introduce them to everything. In your case, you need to get them accustomed to YOU.

    Biting isn't always out of fear or aggression - some ducklings just like to chew on your skin or clothes, like a kitten or puppy might. If you believe it's playful behavior just have a toy with you that you can give them to chew on when they start chewing on you. If it's out of fear just ignore it, don't give them any reaction at all.

    You just have to be patient and understanding. I've raised tons of ducklings and admittedly my ducklings (and subsequently my adult ducks) are always very cuddly because I usually get them very young, spend almost 24/7 with them and because a lot of mine have been muscovies which are very calm in nature (I've raised dozens of pekins and also some mallards too though). However, I've tamed many other animals and it just takes patience, understanding and acceptance for who they are.

    My adult ducks are extremely cuddly and friendly and love spending time with me, much more so than my dogs and cats. Not all ducks are like that but I personally feel that most are if raised with people who spend a lot of time with them. Especially breeds like pekins and swedish, who are generally calm and friendly.
  7. bethkitty

    bethkitty Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 24, 2016
    Spend as much time with them , even sat next to them or sitting by their food bowl while they eat ... patience is key .. be calm and wait until they come to you ... or feed treats by hand too xxx
  8. mommysducks4

    mommysducks4 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 16, 2016
    Mine are almost two months and just starting to come when called my pekins do however love cuddles but I've had them in the house with us up until last night because now their enclosure is. Finished more like a duck palace lol
  9. mommysducks4

    mommysducks4 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 16, 2016
    Spending the time [​IMG] is key they have to learn your not going to hurt them anyone can raise their voices in my house except me they can read how you feel even if it's not towards them
  10. PepperM

    PepperM Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 21, 2016
    Omaha, NE
    I had the same question when I moved the "two-terrible-toddlers" outside (now 6 weeks). All the new noises, and even me walking out the front door, would send them tripping over their big feet. I also cannot duck-wrangle on my own when I do let them out because the lil brats are way too fast for me! [​IMG]

    I did take the advise of sitting near them as much as I could. I read, drink a beer, play on my phone, etc, but always near them and half the time, talking to them. Within half a week, they stopped running (as much). I'm still working on walking into the run with them instead of being outside the fence, but I have noticed a huge difference.


    I have also started giving them treats so I think they KNOW I'm their food go-to person and that makes them happier to be around me. My neighbor has 5 ducks (about 1 1/2 years) and every one of them come running to her when she "here, duck, duck, ducks" them. Love seeing that!

    Good luck!!

    Last edited: May 12, 2016

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