My ducks don't like being outside!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by RitaK, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. RitaK

    RitaK Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2013
    My ducks are almost 7 weeks old (WH) and don't seem to like being outside without me. They just lay by the door and quack to come in. If I'm out there, they will forage and swim etc.. They are living in my mud room bathroom and seem to like it there better. I was planning on kicking them out in a couple of weeks. They seem fully feathered now, but I want to wait to make sure, since it's getting cold. I have a house outside all ready for them. But I don't have the heart to make them live outside if they will be scared. What should I do?
  2. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Have they spent their whole lives up to this point in your bathroom or did you let them run around in the garden at times before? When I handraise ducks I make sure that they get soon familiar with the outside world so when I move them outside permanently they adapt to this without fuss. But then again I already own a flock of adults the younger ones want to be part of.

    I would advice you to leave them outside and lock them into their new outside house at night. If they are fully feathered they will cope with falling temperatures. As long as it is not too cold they will adapt far easier than later when it really starts to freeze. They will get used to a life outside once you don't let them inside all the time. Ducks love routine and as long as they do not get a new one forced upon them you might have your bathroom occupied by them for a very long time...
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    I think at this point, I would recommend an adjustment period. I respect Frank Phinster's knowledge and approach, and I am more of a gradual change person.

    If they are used to being with you in the house, I think that Frank's suggestion of taking them outside more and more frequently is good. Same for time in their outdoor house. Give them treats in the house, with your company. They will associate good things with being in the outdoor shelter.

    Also, do you know how warm it is in that house? I would get a min max thermometer. just to be sure. And pile that bedding nice and thick. Make sure the wind doesn't rip through the shelter.

    In short, I think big chances especially need to be gradually implemented, monitoring the ducks' behavior and overall health as you go.
  4. RitaK

    RitaK Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2013
    They go out everyday in their fenced area. If it's not cold, they don't quack too much when I'm not out there too. They saw snow and didn't like it at all! The bathroom is covered in hay and I keep swimming basins of water in the walk in shower for them. It's so nice to just rinse out the duck poop in the shower!

    More questions:
    So how do I know if they are fully feathered? They look like it to me, but I've read it takes at least two months.

    It's dark so early now, should I put them in at dark? Or wait until I go to bed?

    Sounds like no food or water should go in the duck house. Do I leave food out during the day, or feed them once or twice a day?

    Thank you for your help!!
  5. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia "I Believe" Premium Member

    By 8 weeks they should be fully feathered

    I would never leave my ducks out after dark, they are actually ready to go in by 4-5 pm now since it's getting dark so early. Predators start coming around at dusk.

    If you want to keep their house fairy dry feed and water them outside you can make a covered feed area with scrap plywood that will keep the food dry during the day then just put the feed up for the night. I always leave food and water out for mine during the daylight hrs. when as young as yours they need a lot of nutrients. Pics when you can. [​IMG]
  6. Frank Phinster

    Frank Phinster Chillin' With My Peeps

    They are fully feathered when they look like it - if you cannot see any baby fluff left on them but only firm plumage, they are fully feathered. As Miss Lydia stated at eight weeks they are usually free from their infant fluff, but at seven weeks they should also be about done with feathering.
  7. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2012
    LP Michigan
    .... But sometimes feathering *is* delayed. I had it happen this year. But it is not normal. If my ducks are outside, they put themselves up by dark. Typically I feed at dark, so they know to go in to get their food. Now that cold weather is here, they are not ranging. They are huddling in their houses and in the deep straw.
  8. denise91

    denise91 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 25, 2013
    They should adjust to being by themselves eventually. I had a duckling who would scream and cry if I wasn't with him but I was able to wean him just fine. As for the cold, sometimes I give them a heat lamp if it's going to get really bad. My ducks' outside pen is attached to their inside pen and they go inside by themselves when it starts getting dark. The only problem was that there's a ramp between the two pens and it took them a little while to figure it out. I'd have to shove them out in the morning and back in at night for about a week. I had their food inside initially but they ruined the bedding in record time so now I keep it outside. Just watch out for the water freezing.
  9. raspberrywaffle

    raspberrywaffle New Egg

    Jun 6, 2016
    My two ducks are 6 weeks old. They have been living inside their entire lives, but I have taken them outside to play, swim, forage, etc... They are very familiar with outside. For the past week, they do NOT want to be outside without a human. They sit at the door and "quack" until I bring them back in. I'm not too upset about this since I'm planning on them being inside ducks and I just ordered their diapers... But I'm still concerned about them not liking the outdoors. So I feel your pain. Lol
  10. cayugaducklady

    cayugaducklady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2015
    New England USA
    Is there a way that you could provide them "cover"? A box turned on its side or a pet play pen with a top?

    Or even some tall plants/weeds/bushes that they could stay under while they adjust?

    Ducks can be really nervous when they're exposed with no cover because everything likes to eat duck!

    I started getting my ducklings ready to go out side about a month before I moved them outside permanently.

    If you can make them feel safe in the outdoors they'll quickly fall in love with it. And at a certain point they'l lstart acting disappointed that they have to come back in. That's when I know they're ready to transition out permanently.

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