My ducks won't forage!!!!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by AprilMayAndJun3, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. AprilMayAndJun3

    AprilMayAndJun3 Just Hatched

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    Jun 17, 2016
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    Good morning (or evening) everyone, I have a situation with my 6-8 month old Pekins. We recently had a tragic loss, a dog broke into my backyard and chewed up 1 of my 3 ducks and injured another pretty severely. With my ducks injury, I had to keep her inside in a large basket with towels because she was heavily sedated thus separating her from her sibling. Well good news everyone is back together but they won't forage! They've gotten so used to me hand feeding them that they don't go out and forage in the backyard! Now I know the obvious answer is "Stop feeding them whenever they start getting loud!!" Well I can't!! I'm very scared my neighbors are going to snap one day because my girls can get so loud and I'm in such a close proximity to my neighbors that I can't risk using the independence, or "cry it out" method. I don't want to lose my ducks because they're squawking at 7am. It's only a matter of time before a neighbor files a complaint.They just don't go to the yard and forage like they used to since the attack. Help!
     
  2. Blackdodge89

    Blackdodge89 Just Hatched

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    Aug 19, 2016
    They are probably scared still. Ducks are very finicky when it comes to tragic events. How long has it been since the attack? And have you fixed the way the dogs got in? They may just feel unsafe or uneasy still.

    Now as for food... what are you hand feeding them? There are many different opinions about hand feeding, but as long as it's nutritious, I don't see a problem with it. I hand feed mine baby tomatoes, green beans, peas... They love it. And it helps create a bond between human and bird. Avoid bread at all costs; they eat it because it's soft, they can make it soggy with water and it's easy to swallow. But it has no nutritional value for them. They get full on bread and don't forage or eat the things they need for nutrition and can become weak or sick. When I feed them, (I use all-flock pellets) I fill their feeding tin and sprinkle some around their pond and in grassy areas. Try doing that if you already don't. It triggers their natural instinct to forage.

    And finally, the squawking... Ducks are very good watch dogs. They alert each other when someone or something comes near. This helps during mating season, not only to protect each other and their eggs, but any other who may be brooding nearby. So you feeding them may or may not have anything to do with them squawking. I wouldn't come running to their call because while you're there it may work, but when you're not at home, they will continue doing it. Try conditioning them a bit, wait longer and longer in-between going to them when they honk.

    To summarize, give them time to start foraging again. They may just still be scared a mean ole' dog will attack again. Hand feed them healthy things, and try to slowly ween them from knowing that you come running when they make noise... besides, they may not even be squawking for you anyway. Good luck!
     
  3. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put out a bowl of feed in the morning and they also forage. Just put out a smaller serving so that they are still hungry. They'll forage.
     
  4. AprilMayAndJun3

    AprilMayAndJun3 Just Hatched

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    Jun 17, 2016
    Tampa, Florida
    @Blackdodge89 I'm aware that I can't feed them bread, I made sure to do extensive research when I adopted them. Although I've never known what feed to give them since theres a male and a female so I've just been giving them cracked corn which they've grown SICK of. I hand feed their favorites, peas and corn, string beans and apples for April, strawberries for June, etc. I throw their fresh veggies in the yard and they run around and eat it all up but they come right back into the lanai when they've finished. The gate has been fortified, I have no idea how it was opened that night. It's been almost 2 weeks since the attack. I honestly don't want to push my luck with the neighbors. My landlord doesn't know I have them, it's not like I went behind her back and already had them. I actually found them wandering on my street and they wouldn't leave my driveway. Apparently a neighbor had them when they were chicks but his house was foreclosed so he up and left, leaving them behind. I'm not sure how comfortable I am with letting them squawk and not attending to them. I'm fairly certain they're squawking for me since the moment I step outside they get rowdy.
     
  5. AprilMayAndJun3

    AprilMayAndJun3 Just Hatched

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    Jun 17, 2016
    Tampa, Florida
    I'm just going to stress this for future responders I really do not want to get either EVICTED or have my ducks taken from me because a neighbor files a complaint about the noise. Please take that in to consideration.
     
  6. Blackdodge89

    Blackdodge89 Just Hatched

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    Aug 19, 2016
    I understand that, I'm worried my neighbors will complain too. My ducks squawk when they see me too. It goes back to that alert response I said earlier. I'm not saying they aren't squawking for you, I'm saying they squawk for many different reasons. And I'm not saying don't go to them when they do, just try adding 5 minutes between each bout of rowdiness until they learn that squawking won't get them food or attention. These are all just suggestions keep in mind. Do what you feel you need to do. You asked for help so I gave my opinions/suggestions.
     
  7. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You need to buy FLOCK RAISER duck food and put it in a bowl and let them eat that. Set out a separate bowl of oyster shell for the girl.
    Put peas or veggies in the bowl so they know that is the food bowl. Then cut down on them over time.
    You have trained them to squawk for food.
    Perhaps you can go out very early - before they start squawking - and put out their food bowl.
    Only feed them when they are quiet.

    However, I have the feeling that you are so worried about the noise, that the second they yell, all of that will go out the window because you want to keep them quiet so you'll toss out treats when they yell.

    You either have to ride it out for a week or so, til they figure out the new routine, or find a new home for them or yourself.
    I hope others who have had this issue will chime in.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. AprilMayAndJun3

    AprilMayAndJun3 Just Hatched

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    Jun 17, 2016
    Tampa, Florida
    Thank you both for your suggestions, I appreciate them very much. Sorry if I came off brash or rude, that definitely was not my intention. I'm just very nervous for my ducks, I love them dearly and I want them to be happy and healthy. If I was living back at my family home they would have been perfect there. Plenty of land and space to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted.

    In regards to the flock raiser, from what I've read and heard flock raiser isn't always the best for some ducks? I'm by no means an expert but that's just what I've read. June hasn't layed eggs at all so will oyster shell stimulate something in her to get her started laying eggs? I don't really want them seeing as how I wouldn't eat them and since they won't be fertilized I know we won't have chickies (not that I could handle them! I can barely handle my babies now)
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  9. Blackdodge89

    Blackdodge89 Just Hatched

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    Aug 19, 2016
    I know you are scared, it's stressful. I didn't want you to think I was forcing you to do anything. I'll leave that up to @Cherib603 . I've researched the food I feed mine pretty intensively and am satisfied with it and how healthy it keeps my ducks, so I haven't researched food in a while. It definitely sounds like they know a lot more about feed than I.
     
  10. Cherib603

    Cherib603 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Flock raiser, maintainence feed, whatever. Just a good duck food for their ages. Cracked corn doesn't supply a well rounded diet.
    Pekins will lay eggs whether they are fertilized or not, and their bodies need the extra calcium to make them.
    Are you sure your pekins are girls?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
    1 person likes this.

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