My ducklings are so afraid/flighty.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jenngeorge, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. jenngeorge

    jenngeorge New Egg

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    Feb 25, 2015
    tennessee
    Hi all,

    I'm new to raising poultry. We have ducks and a couple chickens. The ducks are about 12-14 weeks old. They have been held and interacted with daily since they were a few days old, yet they still run and throw a fit every time I get close to them. Is that just the nature of a duck? I'm a little disappointed. The chickens run to me, and the ducks run away. I have moved them to an outside coop within the last week. This has only made them even more flighty around my family. Does anyone have any suggestions to warm them up a little bit?

    Thank you!
    Jenn
     
  2. DucksnDaffodils

    DucksnDaffodils Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2013
    Michigan
    Ducks are just more independent and flighty when there is more than 1 of them. The nature of a duck, is an intense herd animal. So if you only have one they will imprint on you and follow you everywhere! But if you have a bunch of them, they tend to be happy with themselves and be skittish around humans. That being said.... have you tried treats?? I've treat trained all the different batches of ducklings I've raised, and while they've NEVER liked to be held or petted too much, they would come when I called, eat out of my hand, and even lay down next to me if I was sitting still on the grass. That's the other thing. NO FAST MOVEMENT. Just sit down near them and let them get used to you being around. No grabbing, holding, chasing or picking up. Ducks like friendship to be on their terms, and any pushing will just make them hate you. But if you lure them, and never try to grab them they will get comfortable enough to come up and maybe even nibble around your toes. [​IMG]
     
  3. Tevyes Dad

    Tevyes Dad Leader of the Quack Premium Member

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    Apr 22, 2014
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    You are at square one right now. They are fully feathered and are now ducks, no longer ducklings. They are going to do their own thing. The way ducks imprint, if there is only 1 they think they are a person and you are their "flock" (They will be so focused on you that unless you are in a special situation where you can spend 10 hours or more/day with them they will actually be quite sad) But in normal circumstances, they will imprint so that they think you are their mother. Once they are grown (now), they don't really care about their mother so much (it is different with geese and I don't know anything about chickens). So today, you are a person and they are ducks. If you spend time with them and as DucksnDaffodils said, let them develop the friendship on their terms (and treats will make them want to), you can have a very rewarding relationship with your ducks. I am swarmed by my ducks every time I go in my back yard but from 8 weeks to about 4 months, they were mostly scared of me. They went from not sure if they are going to eat out of my hand to now they will climb my legs and risk falling to get that treat and if I sit on the ground or on a very low step, some will even climb into my lap. They all peck at my feet and pull my shoe laces and nibble on the legs of my pants just to make sure I am paying attention. Even without treats. But now they are about a year old and they "know" me. They are so familiar that every once in a while (even though I am being very careful) one will get its foot stepped on. Even when that happens, they complain, but once their foot is free they don't run away. They know I wouldn't hurt them on purpose.


    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand..... [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2015
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  4. jenngeorge

    jenngeorge New Egg

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    Feb 25, 2015
    tennessee
    Thank goodness! I was devastated because I've shown them so much love and I thought I was doing something wrong. I will just keep doing what I'm doing. What types of treats are you giving them? I take them out snacks now, but I've been putting it in a dish and just leaving it for them to nibble at. It's mostly finely chopped pieces of scraps from making the kids school lunches and stuff - kale, strawberries, cucumber, etc. Thank you!
     
  5. DucksnDaffodils

    DucksnDaffodils Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 18, 2013
    Michigan
    Peas are a good treat (thawed frozen peas) and meal worms are good treats too. At this point since they're scared of you I would put the treats in a dish but stand as near as they'll let you and still come, and then slowly get closer and closer, then maybe hold the pan, and then work towards them eating out of your hand. Once they know you have good stuff they'll even follow you around if you drop peas behind you in a line. [​IMG]
     
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