Just adopted 3 ducklings. Never raised fowl before!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by mandapandabear, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. mandapandabear

    mandapandabear New Egg

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    So I have been wanting chickens for a while, but after some reading I went with ducks. They are cute and fluffy still, but absolutely terrified everytime I reach in to get them into a temp space while I clean their quarters or take them to "swim." I know it's selfish, but I really want them to be friendly and manageable. I'm excited to go on this adventure and hoping I didn't take on more than I can chew.
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Hi and welcome to BYC and congrats on your ducklings.

    Since ducks are a prey species, they get particularly freaked out when a huge (to them) hand comes at them from above - just like an ariel predator. If you can kinda introduce your hand from a lower trajectory it may help them to freak out less. They are likely to become more friendly with age, and will become accustomed to you if you sit and spend time with them (maybe reading, or listening to music) and feed them treats (first on the ground, then from your hand) and keep a gentle and quiet tone in your voice. Thats the theory, at least [​IMG].

    All the best

    CT
     
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  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    You could try sitting down with them in an enclosed space and just having your hand, palm up, with some treats in it and see if they will check it out.
     
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  4. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    The previous greeters have made some good suggestions for getting your ducklings used to you. You might get additional ideas from the members on the duck forum.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/42/ducks

    Good luck!
     
  5. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC [​IMG] I'm not familiar with ducklings, but I know from chick raising that they are easily spooked by hands reaching into the brooder and need careful handling and care when they're little.

    @Amiga @Miss Lydia should be able to advice you more.
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    @mandapandabear

    That sounds so much like what the Runner babies and I went through!!! Thanks to some loving, kind BYC Duck Forum people (you know who you are), I figured it out.

    First, it helps to decide that you're in it for the long haul. It does sort itself out - at least, it did for me, and has for many people.

    What you've been told about them being fearful of large critters coming at them from above is true in my experience. And I had the same issue - it was like a scene from a horror movie when I tried to come into the walk-in brooder to pick them up to take them to the tub, or clean the brooder. Mercy. And it happened overnight. One day, I could clean the brooder with them in it, the next day, it was screaming and mayhem.

    Whew. Flashback.

    So, I got creative. The brooder was in our spare room. Took up the entire room, just about. So I blocked off a section of the hallway, put down an old sheet to protect the floor, opened the door of the brooder and let them "escape" into the hallway while I tidied up. At first they huddled in the hallway. After a few days, though, they felt less threatened and started following me around - at a distance. Eventually, they were following me up and down the hallway (to the bathroom where I rinsed and refilled the waterer) and even to the brooder.

    After room service was done, I'd grab a bowl of thawed peas, sit in the hallway, and toss a few peas at a time toward the flock. I'd place the peas closer and closer to myself. The more bold ducklings would actually crawl over me to get to the peas, and as long as I kept my hands to myself, all was well.

    Providing a carrier that they can walk into on their own made another huge difference.*

    Fast forward a couple of months....the ducks once again were friendly, and have been ever since. If I go out and dig holes so they can get at worms, I literally have ducks leaning against me, standing on me, shoving me out of their way. A few of my ducks like pets and hugs - no one likes being picked up, but they don't panic, either.

    Hugs. - Oh, and please join us on the Duck Forum (c:




    * I wanted to add this note to anyone reading... that carrier they can walk into has made a HUGE difference in handling skittery adopted ducks. It keeps them much more calm. It is easier to pick them up, too, for vet exams if they are already in the carrier. Ours is a large dog crate that I covered with one inch diameter gap plastic poultry fence (the nightmare was a duck sticking her neck out in transit and having it broken. That has not happened, because we covered the "Limousine" before carrying duckies). I cannot emphasize this enough - having a nice sized crate they can stand up in fully (with Runners this can be an initial challenge), that can accommodate a food and a water bowl, that is easily cleaned, and where I can toss peas to entice them to enter (I do not need to do this, they'd rather go into the Limousine than have me too close), makes managing nervous ducks so much easier.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
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  7. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    Great advice as usual Amiga!
     
  8. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
     
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  9. mandapandabear

    mandapandabear New Egg

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    I'd love to join the duck forum! I'll keep your advice to heart, and everyone elses. It seems like common sense. If a large hand reached down to me booming "don't worry, I'm ok!" I'd poop and run, too! They're so cute and are becoming accustomed to me I think. I feed them, clean the cage, give them "bath time" (swim time) and today we went outside and I loomed over them to make sure nothing got to them before me. I'm hopelessly in love.
     
  10. mandapandabear

    mandapandabear New Egg

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    A pic of my new babies
     

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