Is there a way to get your ducks to be friendly?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Moochie, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. Moochie

    Moochie Songster

    Nov 8, 2010
    North Edwards
    Mine are almost 4 weeks old and they're so afraid of people, that, it's... I'm new to ducks so I don't know if that's normal but I had young chicks (barred rock light sussex crosses) jumping on my head at that age. They're crested ducks, if that has anything to do with the behaviour. Umm I do try to feed them from my hand but they are very reluctant. I can't pick em' up... Especially since their poop is like watery..
    I go in their enclosure everyday, feed them, change their water, and chill with them. Even if I just stretch out my arm they flee. I got them at 2 weeks old so I don't really know how they were raised, but the rancher kept them in a cage. Along with several of other crested ducks.

    So what else can I do to make them like me?

  2. michelle89

    michelle89 Songster

    Jan 11, 2011
    Give them peas and they will love you!! My two ducks are still afraid of me, kinda I cant pick them up or pet them but they will follow me around the yard, I'll be working outside and they are always by my side. Give it time, they will learn that you will not hurt them, that you are the momma duck! Don't get discouraged they will come around [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2011
  3. Totes Quackers

    Totes Quackers Chirping

    Apr 17, 2011
    I got my duck when he was less then 24hours old, hand raised him indoors until he was 6 weeks old. Even when he was indoors he still seemed afraid of me! Once I was holding him he was fine, I thought maybe because I'm so big and all he'd see was this hand coming down on him! He is now 4 months old and lives outdoors with my chooks, he will come to me but most times if I try to pick him up he will take off... if i can pick him up he seems to love it, it's just the initial picking him up he doesn't like. If I have food, usually peas!, he will come from anywhere in the yard... peas are your friend! [​IMG]
  4. bwmichaud

    bwmichaud Chirping

    Jul 19, 2010
    While most of my ducks have been friendly, none have liked being touched. They will hang around me as long as I don't make any sudden moves or try to touch them. My Cayugas and Pekins would never eat out of my hand but I can get the Muscovies to eat peas, grapes, apples and corn out of my hand. I picked up some geese this year thinking that they would be like big ducks. The geese love hanging around me and follow me everywhere. They even let me pet them. I guess geese are more like dogs and ducks are more like cats.

  5. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    Jan 11, 2010
    I also hand raise all of mine from hatching.. its so much easier when you start with them so young. I find that between 3 - 5 weeks is my favorite time with them and I often have difficulty putting them outside to live as they are just too friendly and responsive.

    Is there room to put down a towel and lay down in the cage?? I know it sounds funny- but getting down to a lower level will make you " less scary " Something you could try- is remove their food at night for a few days in a row. Each morning- go out with their food..lay down if possible with the food right in front of you . They will be hesitant to come for the food throw a little out towards them a they start to come forward closer throw the food a little closer to you each time until they will come and eat out of the container - but they will slowly over a few days trust you more and come closer.

    Try not to chase them when you want to catch them. Slowly herding them into a corner will be less stressful - and teaching them to trust you enough to eat out of your hands will further make picking them up and holding them less stressful for them.
  6. mandelyn

    mandelyn Crowing 8 Years

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    Treats are the best way, but it isn't an instant fix. It can take a week or better to have them seek you out for treats. First day, you'll have to throw it 10 feet or however far they run from you, then they need to get over their suspicion of the food.

    My ducks know who I am, I am the almighty pool cleaner and food giver and door opener. I interact with them as often as I can. For example, I stay squatted down by the pop door when I open it in the morning. If they want out, they have to walk past me, (OMG scary!) within 6 inches of my knee.

    Late evening when I put them inside, I sit down on a clean spot and hold them one by one and talk to them and pet them until they're calm and settle in, then I let them leave.

    Progress is slow but moving.

    Yesterday it was raining, and I went out in a hoodie. They TOOK FLIGHT and shot into the back wall of the run. They honestly thought I was a hooded beast or something. I dropped the hood and asked if they felt stupid yet. All I got was quack-quack, where's the food.

    They won't go outside the run through the people door if someone is standing 4ft away at the perimeter fence rail, my husband or brother. They will follow me out though, so that's progress. They like me and no one else. Unless I'm wearing a hoodie.

    They REALLY like peas. One time, I thought, how much fun would they have if I put the peas in the waterer, so they could actually find something in the endless sifting. They ate some peas from the ground. Looked at the waterer with the peas in the bottom with that crazy one eyed look they do and wouldn't touch it.

    The first time I brought the hose in to clean their pool, they didn't use it ALL day. It was sparkling clean when I went out there in the evening. Really, ducks? Really? I chased them into it, and they went grudgingly... and then realized... I didn't poison the water after all.

    They have a brain, but it's a suspicious one. Like they live in constant paranoia or something. Once you make friends, you won't be able to shake them. Then they'll start getting demanding.
    Goldfire7 likes this.
  7. Niss

    Niss Songster

    Apr 29, 2011
    Lots of treats have helped us. My 5 yr old ogres them endlessly, so they are still a little fearful. (He 'just loves his pekins too much to not hold them' [​IMG]) Mine will eat out of my hand and come to the back door and demand dog food from us. They follow the tractor and my mom, but I still have to herd them. They will quiet down and go in the coop when I sing to them at bedtime. Yet if I try to pick one up it is surely to eat it [​IMG]

  8. I have also been disappointed at how flighty my ducks are. Now that they are about 9 weeks old, they are much better. I agree that FOOD helps, any food, any time. Mine LOVE being sprayed with the hose -- the geese think they are nuts, but the ducks think it is the best thing since slugs were invented. I just had to take out my extra drakes, and they are all a bit jumpy now, but they'll come around in a couple days. A few of them will eat out of our hands now, when the geese aren't in the way. I'd just be as calm and as small as possible when they are little, and realize that they will come around as they get bigger. Mine do much better if we sit on the ground and feed them. The babies are probably too upset to realize that you have yummy food : ) I've heard the egg laying, lighter breeds are more jumpy than the bigger ducks like Pekins and Rouens.
  9. Moochie

    Moochie Songster

    Nov 8, 2010
    North Edwards
    They do seem to enjoy the dried mealworms I give to the chickens. I've had them nibble from my hand but they kinda go at my hand too hard.. They won't make me bleed right? [​IMG]
    I would love to have them in the yard but they have to stay in their enclosure, I have small roos and a few pullets that bother them, keep them from eating/drinking, peck, etc.

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