our ducklings are terrified of us....

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by MollyDora, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. MollyDora

    MollyDora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 31, 2012
    Crocker, MO
    Hello fellow Duck-lovers,

    we are new Duckling owners, we brought home the ducklings from the Hatchery on Tuesday last week. 2 Cayugas and 1 Pekin.

    they are soooo scared of us, it's sad.

    We try to spend a lot of time with them and take them out and let them sit with us, but I'm not sure if I'm hurting more then I'm doing good.
    As soon as we just walk close to the brooder they start running around scared.

    What is a good way of getting them used to us?

    Thank you in advance for advice.

    Here they are, we had the one chick with them for just a few hours, because it had poopie butt and the other chicks were pecking at it, so we gave it some time to "dry". The ducks did not seem to mind, but no worries the chick is not permanent with them!

    [​IMG]

    and this is the duckling brooder

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    So cute! love the brooder, wish i could do that but i'd have 3 cats sitting in it lol

    Honestly, it's normal.. food is your best bet and Patience, time. There is a treat list on here that will tell you what you can give and what ages, ducks are real food creatures.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/242460/the-ultimate-list-of-duck-treats-and-supplements

    You can even start by trying to encourage eating out of your hand with just there starter/feed what have you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  3. JohnnyxRex

    JohnnyxRex Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would start with dipping your hand down in there with food. It helps if they are hungry. (In my case they covered the food tray with newspaper shreddings and didn't realize that there was still plenty of food in there) Give them some patience

    When they trust you or if that doesn't work, gently pick them up, but SUPPORT THEIR FEET or they will panic. Bring them close to your body, one hand under them and the otherat their side or petting them. Hold them close enough so that they are touching your side to theirs. Talk to them to get them used to you.

    If they continue to freak out hold them out (be careful not to drop them) and make them look at you. They might tilt their head or something like they're confused, but normally this stops mine from chirping.

    Mainly just make them get used to you. Spend time with them. As soon as they realize that you=food then you'll have them.
     
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Give them time. You are a huge scary thing, at least from their perspective. Sit with them so you aren't as big. They will realize, eventually, that you bring good things.

    I, personally, advocate quiet time spent with them instead of forced physical contact. They need to realize that you aren't going to eat them. If it is warm enough outside or in an inside area, you can let them out of the brooder and sit or lay down and talk quietly to them. Let them do their thing and explore and just move slowly. Offer age appropriate treats. I always start by tossing the treat to them so they realize that it is good and then they will usually start eating next to you or out of your hand soon. I think it is easier to get them used to you and then start with more physical contact. Having to chase them around the brooder to pick them up is not going to start the interaction off on a good note.

    Cute babies. Make sure you research their care (if you haven't). Get yourself a duck book (always good to have info available immediately).
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. lovesgliders

    lovesgliders Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maine
    I like jdywntr's tip. That is what I do with my ducklings. Chasing them around, grabbing them, and holding them really doesn't seem to tame them like trying to forge a mutual trust does. Sit by the brooder and read or play on your iPad. They can only maintain an elevated fear response for so long, and soon they will be acting like you aren't even there. That's good!

    Mealworms are irresistible to them. I have tamed all my ducklings over the years with mealworms. They will get so excited to see you! And once they are scrambling to climb into your hands, *that's* when you can initiate the physical contact. I start by just petting them on the breast with a finger or two. They will be so eager to get the food or check your hands for food that they won't even notice. If they leap into your hands you can gently and briefly hold them.

    I have some of the tamest ducks in my small town and everyone always wants to know my "secret." It's no secret, seriously. I just have no kids, so no little ones mauling the ducklings every day or undoing my progress, and I raise the ducks underfoot in the house but do not force myself on them. I let them come to me.

    My friend held her ducklings every day as babies, even as they protested, and her adult ducks are nowhere near as tame as mine.

    Oh, and I have a variety of breeds! Don't put too much stock in "this breed is calmer" or anything. I have found that each duck is an individual. My very sweetest ducks are a Mallard hen and a black east indie hen. Neither of these breeds are known to be lap ducks but mine are. My Welsh Harlequins, on the other hand, are very nice but a tad shy. However read any breed description of the WH and most swear they are the friendliest ducks in the world!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. MollyDora

    MollyDora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 31, 2012
    Crocker, MO
    thank you so much for all your advice, first thing in the morning I will get out the mealworms!
     
  7. MollyDora

    MollyDora Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 31, 2012
    Crocker, MO
    HA! Genius!

    This morning I walked in, convinced to have these ducks starting to trust me... and just like it was meant to be, their food was empty - hungry duck = brave duck!

    so I gave them fresh water and fixed up some fresh food, then put my hand just by the food bowl... they did not trust it but were hungry enough to eat anyways.. then I put some meal worms on my hand and a just 2 or 3 in the food bowl, and guess what? - Butterball grabbed one from the food bowl and 3 from my hand!!!!

    YAYAYAYAY [​IMG]

    I'm so excited. I think this is a HUGE step for us.


    Thank you for your advice!

    I will keep working on them.
     
  8. kada6305

    kada6305 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So glad it's working! That's how we got our 3 mallards to trust us, took about a week now they love being handled. But just bought two khaki lastnight and they are just terrified so they might take a bit longer.
     
  9. blumoonduckmama

    blumoonduckmama Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2013
    How cute your new family is! I am brand new to raising ducklings as well! I cannot keep them in an open brooder because I have cats but Before I do anything with them I start speaking softly to them. I have 2 Flying mallards that are almost 3 weeks old now. Before I enter their vision area I speak to them softly so that they know I am coming and I continue to speak softly while I do what I need to do with them. They are warming up to this approach well.

    As a side question........do I feed them live meal worms or the dried ones?
     
  10. kada6305

    kada6305 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2013
    Kersey, Pennsylvania
    I would do the live meal worms... It's be be fun for the ducks! Especially if you put them in water for them!
     

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