Introducing young ducks to the rest of the flock

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by LuckyDucky4, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. LuckyDucky4

    LuckyDucky4 Out Of The Brooder

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    I was just wondering what a safe age would be to introduce my 4 female Welsh Harlequins to the rest of the flock? They are 9 weeks old... and I am so ready to get them out of the house [​IMG]The flock I will be adding them to has 3 drakes and 6 females. They have met through the fence, and no one really seemed to pay much attention to the new ones, but does anyone have any idea at what age they reach maturity? I don't want the Harlequin's to meet the boys if they are still too young.

    Here's a picture of them that was taken 2 weeks ago :)

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Take a deep breath.

    They are beautiful! And, I think, too young to be left unattended with the older ducks.

    Can you split the shelter with temporary fence? They need to be safe, as you know, but sometimes side-by-side helps integrate them with the flock.

    I think they could get hurt if you rush it.
     
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  3. LuckyDucky4

    LuckyDucky4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Amiga, I think they are beautiful too [​IMG] I'm thinking what I might do since they are still too young is put them out in the barn in a stall during the day and bring them in at night, or since I do have a divider for the duckhouse, I guess for night time I could put them out in the duckhouse with the divider (then at least that way they are out of the spare room!!). They have met my older ducks through a chain link fence already and no one seems to really pay any attention to them. Do you have any idea at what age they will be mature enough to deal with the drakes? I have looked all over and all I can find is at what age they start to lay..
    Thanks for the reply!
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I would start serious introductions after they reach maturity - laying age - maybe plus a week or three. Even when they reach that point where they look close to full grown, there's a lot of internal development still going on, including hormones, and I would try to give them as much of an edge as I could.

    Just make sure, if you put them in with a divider (ready for the worrywart that I am??) that the others absolutely cannot get at the younger ducks. I have had Bean wriggle through the tiniest little gap to get at Romy in the night shelter. A determined drake is going to find any chink in the armor and exploit it. And if it's in an outbuilding, you won't know there's trouble till it's too late.

    Can you borrow or otherwise obtain a large dog crate? I have one and it's a real blessing.

    I can fit it into the night shelter easily if I have just one or two who need to be separate overnight.
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    And remember, our runners were in the spare bedroom for three months. I understand about ducks in the house.
     
  6. LuckyDucky4

    LuckyDucky4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Ugh, 3 months in the house!! But I guess when I think about it I am half way there. I do have a large dog crate that I picked up at a yard sale a few weeks back. It would be ok for a couple ducks, but I'm not sure I would want to cram all 4 of them in it for long. The divider I have for the duckhouse is made of the plastic hardware cloth and is about 3 feet high. None of my ducks are flyers, but you're right I don't think I should chance it in case someone does happen to get over it. Ok, so it's looking like the barn during the day and in the house at night for another month or so. Lol, but on the bright side of that, Lacey who we call the "couch duck" loves to come downstairs and cuddle and watch TV with us every night...she loves the attention! I never would of thought!! So we will at least get to enjoy that for a while longer ;) Thanks for your thoughts, good advice as usual :)
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    It's definitely work to have them in the house, but my inner nine year old was thrilled [​IMG]

    My outer over-fifty-year-old does not miss brooder maintenance. I used to refer to myself as the charwoman.
     
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  8. chicken pickin

    chicken pickin Overrun With Chickens

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    Wow 9 weeks LuckyDucky and 3 months Amiga. Your both better than me lol I couldnt take it past 5 weeks The smell was horrible dispite daily cleaning.

    I was also wondering when it is ok to introduce new babies to an established flock. My older 4 ducks are about 2 1/2 months old. They have a temporary fence and dog crate as a shelter while we are still working on the permanent house and pen. Though they have free access to come and go as they please so they are pretty much fully freeranged. My 5 ducklings are 2 weeks old and im hoping in the next few weeks we have the permanent pen set up and big ducks moved in and the ducklings can move to the temporary set up. I was hoping to introduce them much sooner than after they start to lay eggs. Im thinking I will move the dog crate into the same permanent pen with the older ducks and separate it with a fence and let them live side by side for a few weeks until the little ducks reach close to the same size(which shouldn't be a problem for my Pekins). Then I will start free ranging them together and soon after I will remove the temp fence and dog crate and hope all is well. I only plan to keep one Drake so any ducklings that are boys will leave the flock.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  9. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    When there are adults, and ducklings, and drakes involved, my nightmare is a big pekin drake or drakes jumping an adolescent duckling. That could be fatal. So, that's where my caution rises from. I have this tendency to think of the worst possible outcome, then work my way back from there on preventing it. It is not a guaranteed method, things sometimes don't work out. But we are doing pretty well overall. No one has torn anyone else up yet. And I have not brought in ducklings, either. Just adopted adults.
     
  10. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    THE biggest problem is if you don't know your birds, and what i mean by that is whether they have been introduced to birds in the past so you know who is are troublesome ones and who is your whatever, new duck.. moving on.

    I am fortunate i have done this before, so i do know, fwiw, i have mama duck loose in the main part of the barn with her two 3wk olds so that means they mingle with 7 mature ducks and 1 drake, they also free range with the flock and no mama duck is not there 24/7 and when their loose that load increases since my 3mth olds(4 of them) are out there too, plus 1 more drake(16 birds total).

    In my experience personality plays a massive role in this, if it's a tight knit group, there could be trouble, being girls(lovely btw) the drakes will be more interested your females may not, it's funny everyone always thinks it's the drakes but often i find the females are the ones with the issues they have a pecking order. For instance my young duck chooses to go with her brothers right now vs staying in the main barn with the 8 females and 1 drake, since the females jab at her right now, she'll come into her own soon but i find that is closer to 4mths vs 2-3.

    Since you've always been doing the see each other through the fence game, i would get two people some sticks, and try a mingle and see how they react BE PREPARED to step in and fast if things go badly, i would observe the behaviour and study the reactions from each bird, and while this may sound completely opposite don't step in if there is some pecking, grabbing this is NORMAL and happens even in established flocks, it's important they realize their place in the flock but there is a point obviously where harm cannot be tolerated.

    It never is easy, i love when i can raise the babies out in the flock transitions go better, i have 4 very tame ducks i need to bring into this flock of 16 and i am sorta not looking forward to it but being only 3-4wks they are much to young, for now they see the adults as they come by during their outdoor time lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013

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