Magpie Ducks & Herding

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by beardiemom, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. beardiemom

    beardiemom Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2010
    Western MA
    Anyone else on this list using Magpie ducks for herding? We got our first ducks this summer from our herding instructor. 8 males. Lovely boys. They have their own home and yard. We move 4 at a time in a dog crate into the fenced yard for practice. Right now we have snow fencing to close off part of the yard for training sessions.

  2. Hattiegun

    Hattiegun Chillin' With My Peeps

    Wow , sounds interesting. Never heard of it before.. more info plezzzz [​IMG]
  3. tia

    tia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2009
    Valdez, Alaska
    I have heard of it with Indian Runner ducks... There are a lot of clips on u-tube. I was going to try it with my border collie, but haven't. My border collie is such a goof ball.... and gets very excited... I don't want to risk my ducks getting hurt.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010
  4. beardiemom

    beardiemom Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2010
    Western MA
    People use a range of ducks - Indian runner are the most common, Magpies are becoming more popular, and some people really love call ducks. I have also seen Swedish Blue used.
    Our herding instructor switched over from Indian runners to Magpies because she thought they were smarter [​IMG]

    We have a very energetic and bouncy beardie. We also worried that ducks would get hurt, but we have been working slowly and carefully. On leash, ducks inside a pen. Then ducks outside the pen, dog on leash. Then dog on a long line... She is still energetic, but if she has to move a recalcitrant duck she licks it on the head to get it going.

    Would we leave them alone with the ducks? Probably not, at least not for a long time. But as they help us with the chores and see the ducks every day, the ducks are less like toys and more like work.
  5. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    That's cool! I'm glad to see magpies getting more attention.

    I've never trained a herding dog, but I have both Indian Runners & magpies. I've had requests for Runners to use for herding, but I can definitely see some advantages with either breed.

    1. Runners are faster, for sure--I don't know how important that is in herding dogs, but seems like it would be a factor. They're more agile too, so perhaps they'd be better for advanced training?
    2. Magpies are slower, but also calmer. They won't freak out if your young enthusiastic dog gets a little excited.

    Both are beautiful birds and good layers, so there's that advantage too. I love both breeds. I am thinking of thinning my flock down to one breed, but I really can't make my mind up which. I love them both so much.

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