Need suggestions on training muscovy to go in the coop at night

Muscovy-palooza

Songster
Oct 17, 2018
183
412
142
East Tennessee
We have three ducks nesting under our house in an inaccessible place. We have no idea what is going to happen to them. We can't protect them and we have no idea how many eggs they have.:idunno In a desperate effort to control the duck population around here, I spent yesterday morning trying to catch the last three females to put them in the coop. I discovered one had tried to nest in an old building on misc nuts and bolts and trash! What was she thinking? After she saw that I had found her spot she abandoned it and she and her fella set out to find a new nesting spot. He literally led her in search of the perfect place. Later I found the boys standing guard outside of one of our barns. I went up to the barn to look for the nesting place to find that rather than nesting inside the barn where I could access the nest, they had dug a hole under the barns foundation!! :thIt was my hope that if I could get the last 3 girls in the coop for a few days that they may figure out that there are perfectly good nest boxes available. No such luck! No matter how stealthy I am, and I'm pretty good, they totally know that I am after them. note: I have tried to come up with a treat to lure them with with no luck. They don't want anything to do with mealworms. :confused:
I got home after dark last night and our son was over for a visit. I discovered the three illusive females were at the pond. I had not given them much food that day in hopes that they may be more approachable if hungry. (They forage all day in the pond, streams and pastures and actually eat very little feed. But they do love cracked corn and black oil sunflower seeds.)
My son joined me on a walk to see if by chance we could catch those girls. Turns out that they were hungry and came to the area where we feed them, across the driveway from the pond. I set my flashlight down with the beam shining on one of the girls. She was eating and blinded by the light so I was able to grab her. My 6'4 son reached down and grabbed one and then with his free, extra long, arm grabbed the third and last female. They were surprisingly calm while we carried them up the hill, behind the house through the pasture gate and into the coop! :highfive:Hallelujah!! We placed each one of them in a nesting box just to show them that they don't have to go and find a nesting place because we already have that taken care of. Two of the ducks promptly hopped out. After I got them food and water I checked to see where they were. Two of them were under the roosting/nesting area while one remained in the nesting box. 1 out of 3 ain't bad :yesss: Also in the coop, in a dog crate, is a momma muscovy with her 2, three day old ducklings.:jumpyI bought a few totes with lids that I plan to make into nesting boxes just give the girls more choices of private nesting spots.
Now for the questions...
How long should I keep them in the coop in order for them to be trained to figure out that is where they should nest?
Are the tote nesting boxes a good idea?
I am feeding them purina layena and flock grower as well as cracked corn and black oil sunflower seeds. Their diet of choice is foraging in the water and pastures. Since they will be missing the natural resources in their diet, should I supplement with anything else? Before being introduced to corn or sunflower seeds our ducks, the past 6 months or so, they used to eat the crumbles well and in fact would come begging to be fed. Now they pass up the crumbles for the other and rarely come begging for any food. I guess that it's good that they are getting most of what they need naturally but the bad is that they are harder to lure to come with food.
Any advice would be appreciated
 

Miss Lydia

Drakes are Awesome
Premium member
10 Years
Oct 3, 2009
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Keep them in till they lay their eggs once they get a nest started inside they may just keep it up. How long that will take hard to say but don’t let them out today. It’s not going to be easy to stop them from nesting in other out of the way places since they aren’t contained inside fencing so you may never get this to work but it’s worth a try. As for feed give them the mix of what you have more crumble than the treats though. And oyster shell on the side for calcium. Maybe some chopped greens and tomatoes? Mine love them. Good luck and congrats on catching those girls!
 

Muscovy-palooza

Songster
Oct 17, 2018
183
412
142
East Tennessee
Gee whiz!! I can block off many openings but not all. They literally dug under the foundation to nest! Unless I catch them in the act I don't know what else to do. Do you think that keeping them in the coop a while would work? Also, do you think if I strategically place nesting totes around, they will not feel the need to search elsewhere and nest there? I have watched so many YouTube videos that show ducks laying in coops and even outside behind a building, etc. Is the breed a factor in this behavior?
 

Miss Lydia

Drakes are Awesome
Premium member
10 Years
Oct 3, 2009
103,955
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Mountains of Western N.C.
I think it maybe more so in Muscovy but I know other ducks do it too. Only problem I see in setting up totes out side is they will be so much easier for predation. My little OEGB hen decided to nest under the goose house up on the hill I finally found her but I could not get her out she was only up there 2 nights when something killed her. It had to of been a weasel or mink Icouldn’t fit a hand under. It’s just instinct for them to want to go off and brood in a quiet place but it’s dangerous too. Maybe try setting up the totes in the coop. Mine like to lay in the deep shavings I keep in their houses.
 

Muscovy-palooza

Songster
Oct 17, 2018
183
412
142
East Tennessee
I think it maybe more so in Muscovy but I know other ducks do it too. Only problem I see in setting up totes out side is they will be so much easier for predation. My little OEGB hen decided to nest under the goose house up on the hill I finally found her but I could not get her out she was only up there 2 nights when something killed her. It had to of been a weasel or mink Icouldn’t fit a hand under. It’s just instinct for them to want to go off and brood in a quiet place but it’s dangerous too. Maybe try setting up the totes in the coop. Mine like to lay in the deep shavings I keep in their houses.
Thank you so much for your guidance! :hugsI will try the totes to see if they take to them. I hope to go out this morning and find that they have taken to the nesting boxes. So shavings in the nest boxes, not hay?
One more question, for now anyway:D How long should I leave the momma duck and her babies contained? I have them in a dog crate in the coop. I have a crate outside that I used last year to let momma and babies get some fresh air and grass. So I can move them from one to the other weather permitting.
 

Miss Lydia

Drakes are Awesome
Premium member
10 Years
Oct 3, 2009
103,955
102,649
1,842
Mountains of Western N.C.
Only problem I see with mom and babies being loose is predators. When they are so tiny I usually keep mine contained in the smaller fenced area. But of course others on here probably let their duck and ducklings do what ever. I am more over protecting probably. If mama is protesting loudly maybe make her a temp fenced in area so they can move around but still have protection.
Use which ever you like as far as nesting material. I just prefer shavings. You may find they are using a corner in the coop too.
 
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