New Duckling Owner. Need advice.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Emmybear13, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. Emmybear13

    Emmybear13 New Egg

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    I just bought a baby duckling. I have no idea the age, sex, or breed of it. I know, it was foolish to buy one that I know little to nothing about. What I would like is general advice on raising a duck. I know I should get more to keep it company but I would like to try to raise this one first. If at any point it is unhappy I will get ducklings for it to live with.
    What I would like to know is the following:
    How much can you handle them without hurting or stressing them? What is a good way to bond with them? How is best to pick up and hold them? What treats can they have? Do they like music or anything? Does a lot of this just depend on the bird?
    Thanks for any advice. And I know I'm a fool but I'm already not regretting my impulse buy. This duckling is such a little sweetie. However, when I reach in to grab it, it opens its bill and stares at me. Is that an aggressive movement or fearful? I want to avoid stuff like that if I can so or can be as stress free as possible.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2013
  2. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't really handle ducklings much. I started my flock with 4 ducklings from TSC. They grew into adults and hatched their eggs afterward and as a rule, I would much rather that any duckling here has its own duck mother to raise it. I have not ever had a single duckling by itself either. I do know from reading that single duckling will imprint and bond with you, so I hope that you will be able to care for your duckling thruout its lifespan. Or you can get it a companion, which I would personally do. Ducks, IMO, will always be happier with other ducks. That being said, there are people who successfully keep ducks as pets and if that's the type of advice you are seeking then you will be better off typing your query into the search bar than reading what I type. In terms of "aggression"...
    ... Sorry, but that's rather comical. Ducklings are the least aggressive animal I can think of! They are fearful and skittish, and I think that's probly what you are seeing. You wrote that you "reach in and grab it" -- I think that is likely quite terrifying to your duckling. Slow and quiet is the way to go with ducks. I hope this is helpful.
     
  3. Emmybear13

    Emmybear13 New Egg

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    Thanks for your advice. I know I should probably get another duckling..but I'm aiming for a pet duck and I wish to try with just one first.
    I figured that the mouth movement wasn't aggression. I just want to learn what the little duckling's body language means so as I do something I can see it's reaction and know to steer away from movements that alarm or startle it. With only one duckling the new situation is sure to be at least a little more stressful than if it had companions so on my part of actions I want to minimize its stress.
    Last night I had picked him/her up and placed him on a towel in my lap. Somewhere online I read that ducklings bond with their moms through quite a lot of vocalizations. So I was singing to him/her and petting it on the head and back. A sudden movement startled me until I realized he/she was just putting its bill and head behind its wing and going to sleep. The funny part is that the tiny wing couldn't even cover his/her bill much less its big head.
    It was adorable and reaffirmed my belief that I didn't mess up too badly impulsively buying a duck. :)
     
  4. EeyoreD

    EeyoreD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Please get another duckling. I understand you want to try with one first. But what you don't understand is that you can gauge health and happiness by comparison. And if you get just one more duckling you can still bond closely with both but have your duckling be happy and secure when you're not around.

    With th exception of the exponential poop, two ducklings are as easy to care for as one. And all of you will be much happier. And won't two pet ducklings be better than one? It's a lot like having two dogs or two cats to keep each other company while you're gone and love you twice as much when you get home.
     
  5. HollyDuckFarmer

    HollyDuckFarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1 person likes this.
  6. Emmybear13

    Emmybear13 New Egg

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    Thank you all for your advice. I realize how hard headed I am being. I'm going to take some time to consider everything and try to use the ample logic you have provided me with. I just have to place the picture of a depressed duckling over the irrational want to have an imprinted duckling.
    If I decide to buy another duckling I'm not entirely sure how to find one. It took me forever to find the first one.
    I will however read over articles and posts and push down my want for an imprinted duckling.
    First and foremost needs to be the health and happiness of my duckling!
    Thank you for trying to knock some sense into me. I guess I've just been enamored with all the success stories of the people who have happily owned single ducklings.
    Away I am to do some heavy research and thinking.
     
  7. OldGuy43

    OldGuy43 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Many years ago OldGal and I raised a single drake in a studio apartment. We didn't mean to. He was supposed to be snake food but...??

    Anyway, if our experience is any guide; Yes, your duckling will imprint on you. Be prepared to keep him for his life. You cannot "return him to the wild".

    Do not teach it any tricks as a duckling that you will not want him doing when he is full grown. OldGal taught "Daffy" (Not a very original name, I know.) to sit on her shoulder and give her kisses. Cute in a duckling. As a full grown drake, not so much. [​IMG]

    Do let it swim. Start early. Once it's imprinted a pond would be best. It'll come back when called even if there are other ducks. If that's impossible you can always put it in the bathtub.

    One more thing comes to mind. A duck needs to be able to get it's head immersed regularly, and they aren't particularly neat about it. Puppy pads help.

    They do make great pets if you get them young enough, and handle them regularly. Once imprinted, they'll follow you around. No leash required.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  8. EeyoreD

    EeyoreD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know this isn't really funny but... it's really funny.

    As long as it's not you.

    Listen to OldGuy, it's a valid point. But still hilarious to picture if you have ducks and can picture the difference between duckling and drake.

    (my scovie drakes are MINIMUM 11 pounds. It's bad enough to train them to not screw your fingers off when you hold out a handful of food. I can't imagine them trying to eat your lips)
     
  9. OldGuy43

    OldGuy43 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yeah, and getting there big floppy feet on your shoulder doesn't work out so well either. [​IMG]
     
  10. EeyoreD

    EeyoreD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh come on, it's not like they've trudged through their own waste with their giant paddle poop scoopers.
     

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