My ducks don't like being outside

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by jwood, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. jwood

    jwood In the Brooder


    So I bought myself 2 ducklings on Dec 21st. My Pekins are now 11 weeks old but I'm having a few issues with them. I'm not sure if their behaviour is just ducks in general or if its just my ducks.

    I live in Canada and we had a brutal winter this year with a lot of days in the -35 range. The ducks were kept in the coop which has a lot of space for just 2 ducks at 64 square feet. They had a heat lamp on all winter. Once they were feathered if it was above freezing I would take them outside in the yard for little walks to try and get them used to free ranging which they didn't really enjoy. They have an attached run to their coop but couldn't figure out the ramp for a long time. I think we have finally got that figure out though.

    It is now getting nice out (it's +7 and sunny today) but they just don't seem to like being outside. I want them out of the coop because they are soooo messy! They never go out on their own and I have to pick them up and place them outside. Now they just refuse and will walk right back up the ramp and into the coop. I put a large bin of water in their run for swimming hoping that would entice them to stay out but they are scared of it which makes no sense because I would give them one in the coop sometimes if it was warm enough and they loved it! I literally had to sit out there with them and show them that the water bin was nothing to be scared of but by the time they finally figured it out and wanted to play it was getting dark and they had to go back in.

    Why are they scared of everything? I've handled them everyday since they were 2 days old and they used to sit with me but now that they are older they don't really want to come near me unless I have food. They are scared of anything new which includes new treats. I was hoping these girls would be friendly and walking around the yard with us checking out what we are doing and just kind of hanging out with the family but I don't think this is how it will be now.

    I'm getting my chicks next week so I'm hoping the chicks will show the ducks that life isn't so scary...or my ducks will teach my new chicks their bad habits and then I'll be stuck with a flock of scaredy cats!

    My questions are:
    1. Do I just give them tough love and lock them outside on nice days so they get used to it?
    2. Are ducks just scared of everything in general?
    3. will they teach my chicks to be scared as well?

  2. Amykins

    Amykins Crowing

    May 11, 2013
    Young ducks often go through a phase where they suddenly become antisocial. They should mellow out over time, but in the meantime just be diligent, gentle, and calm with them, and give them lots and lots of treats!
    1 person likes this.
  3. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Crowing

    May 19, 2014
    Georgetown, TX
    Ducks are scared of things in general. Look at it this way, when you are a duck everything wants to eat you so out of necessity they are scardy cats. Give them time. Put out some treats and let them do their own thing.

    Also it is normal for ducks to not want anything to do with humans unless you have food. Again that goes back to being eaten by everything. Ducks are not like dogs and most don't really want the attention of humans. Some do but that isn't really the norm. My ducks don't follow me around unless I have food or I call them.

    I can't chime in about chickens because I don't have any. I do you that you will need to go slowly with introductions and watch for problems.
  4. jwood

    jwood In the Brooder

    Thanks for the replies! they seem a little happier outside now. There has been a lot of snow melt and I have a small "pond" forming in the middle of our yard. They were pretty excited last night when I took them out of their run and they figured out they were going to the pond. They "ran" after me quacking and went crazy once they got in the water. It was very entertaining :)
  5. buff goose guy

    buff goose guy Songster

    Feb 9, 2014
    Mississippi Y'all
  6. seashoreduck

    seashoreduck Songster

    May 6, 2013
    Ducks are slow to discover new things, but once they do it's a forever love. With my first set of ducks I lived on a lazy river and they wanted to stay in their baby pool for what felt like for-ev-ver! It took them weeks to figure out the river, but once they did the pool didn't look so fun anymore. The one I had to nurse to health was the only one ever interested in coming back in. Once they had a nest they stayed out all winter as adults, sometimes in -20.

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