My ducks are terrified of me

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by austroberta, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. austroberta

    austroberta Songster

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    I got 2 Welsh Harlequin ducklings in April, raised them since they were 2 days old, had lots of contact and handling of them since then and find that they run in terror with their mouths open (like a terror film scream) whenever I come around. I got them because they were reputed to be a 'calmer and more social breed' but these guys are more nervous than my runner ducks, who come running to me whenever I go outside. The WH's do the opposite. They run the other direction, as if I were about to stick them directly in the stock pot. Does anyone have any suggestions. Offering them treats (peas, worms, etc) doesn't seem to work as they are hesitant to accept even those when I have them in my hand. The only thing that does seem to work is if I crouch down on the ground and find bugs/worms with them. Then they'll come up and nibble at me and crowd around me.

    I'm so confused about their behavior. They do quack when they hear my voice and sometimes when they feel lonely. When I go towards them to see them, they act like I'm an ax murderer.

    Their nervousness is also making it difficult for me to take care of them. We're having a heat wave and despite their having a pool to swim in, they sit in the sun and pant. Then I'm forced to pick them up and physically put them in the pool, while they cry bloody murder the whole time.

    They're not happy. I'm not happy. If anyone has any tips, I'd appreciate them.
     
  2. Trimurtisan

    Trimurtisan Team flappy foot

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    I don't really have any suggestions on how to get them to like you, as I'm pretty much dealing with the same thing. I have four pekin I adopted and did not raise. Unless I have a food bowl in my hand, they don't want anything to do with me.

    In regards to keeping them cool however, have you tried using water hose with something like a shower nozzle? At first my ducks would run from the water, and then one of them got split off, and caught in the stream. She stood there for a moment, quacked a couple of times and the others joined her. I often find a couple ducks laying right in the middle of the sun during the heat of the day, with an empty (of ducks) pool.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  3. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

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    Maybe they're not ready for the pool and you putting them in is why they're running the other way. Put some feed/water out by the pool & leave them to get curious enough to try when they are ready.
    If digging for bugs they join you, that's the bonding part. They're young yet and need to get used to you. No matter what animal, standing over them is "scary", crouching to their level you're less intimidating. Put a stool out, sprinkle treats around you, talk to them softly, may take some time but bet they come around. Maybe do it close to the pool.
     
  4. 4theeggs

    4theeggs In the Brooder

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    Hi- Our ducks hate us too. We got 5. We have tried. We talk in a soothing voice, we approach slowly. I even sing to them. Apparently they saw the same axe murderer movie as your ducks. It takes two people to round them up to take them outside to the water. My dog looks at us reproachfully for scaring the ducklings. Don't take it personal. I just think they aren't very smart. I'm hoping in time they will settle down a bit.
     
  5. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

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    Patience ... Try finding some hand carry treats they like, hand carry don't use a food bowl. Have a low stool, sit & sprinkle some around you. As for ducks/geese vs water, I've found make it available & them aware it's there, toss in some lettuce or bread. Once they know it's there, they'll use it when they need to.
     
  6. austroberta

    austroberta Songster

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    Unfortunately I only have the regular hose and I think if I tried spraying it, it would only cement the notion that I am out to get them.

    For the life of me I can't figure out why they prefer the sun over the pool. My runner ducks are actually pretty smart. They get hot, they go in the pool.
     
  7. austroberta

    austroberta Songster

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    They've used the pool for about 2 weeks now and definitely know how to get in and out. The only thing I can think of is that sometimes when you get too hot, your brain goes on standby mode and you stop thinking and go into a stupor.

    I hope it's a question of their getting used to me. You think that after 7+ weeks they might have gotten over the getting used to me part.
     
  8. Knighstar679

    Knighstar679 Crowing

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    I have three that I got at 4 weeks old. They amazingly trust my dog more than me! And he has stepped on them. But through him they have gotten them to come close and lay by me. They even nibbled on me today several times. Sometimes just sitting and finding something that gets them closer helps. They don’t run as fast away from me in terror so it’s better.
     
  9. austroberta

    austroberta Songster

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    Yes, I definitely think these sets of ducklings are not the sharpest tools in the shed. I'm also wondering if it's their personality and it's something that's not going to change or get better with time. I had another duck (a drake) that was aggressive towards me from the beginning. He turned out to be generally aggressive and later on and was bullying one of my other ducks to the point that I had to re-home him. Time wasn't going to solve that one for me in that case.

    These little guys also do the same weird thing my drake used to do. He'd start to tremble and then would charge his beak into my arm, shimmying it up and down, when I was crouched down at his level. It didn't hurt me, but it didn't exactly bond me to him.
     
    Trimurtisan likes this.
  10. austroberta

    austroberta Songster

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    These guys do nibble at me when I am down at their level. Their initial reaction is to run, but when I am with them for a bit, they will come and nibble at my back when I have it turned to them.
     
    DuckyDonna and Trimurtisan like this.

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