Putting up at night

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Missy60, May 22, 2012.

  1. Missy60

    Missy60 Chirping

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    Apr 20, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    Ok it's me again...I can not get one of my mallard duck to cooperate at all. He will be eight weeks old Thurs and I have been trying to let them out when we are outside to watch it (still not sure of the sex but Im thinking both are females). That isn't working at all I can not catch him to put him up. He doesn't herd very well either just runs and runs. This is to stressful for him and us. So my question is are they old enough to let them out and free range all day, or just leave them in their pen? He does follow us around and comes close but is not cuddly. He doesn't respond to food at these times either. So what do you all do when you can't put them up?
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life

    Until they have the routine down I would let them out to free range. I would be very worried if I had to leave one of my birds out all night. It has happened here when mine were younger, I had to leave 2 of my females out all night because they would not go in the house and we have a steep bank in back and I couldn't get up there to get them, Thank the Lord they made it through the night but I fixed them good by offering treats in a sectiopn of the lot where when they came in I could close it off and then I could herd them in. It may take a while but they don't know this is for their own safety so just keep working on it till they get it. Keep offering their food and water and treats in that one area so they associate it with their space. Even offering treats right before locking them in at night for more incentive to go in. Alot of folks don't like to give bread to their ducks and i agree that it's not a good thing to feed it to them as main food but if I want mine to do something they don't want to do I bring out the w/w bread and just give them little bits of it, they eat out of my hand. [​IMG]
     
  3. Missy60

    Missy60 Chirping

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    Hey I actually think that would work. We use to use that cardboard roll a lot that comes with the chick starter to let them out, but keep them safe when they couldnt have our full attention. We had a large pan we put in there and would float veggies in. I have some lattice I could make them an enclosure with. I could put my chair in there and wait for them to come in and give them treats and then close them in. I could set it up right in front of the pen door, that might actually work. I need to get their routine worked out soon just in case they can fly then it will be hopeless. Don't you just love people's gifts of live animals...I didn't want flying ducks.
     
  4. Nsampsel

    Nsampsel Songster

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    East Central Ohio
    I have Mallards but have to clip a wing on each as I am in town & if they were to escape I'd never catch them if they got in the trees or on a roof. Is there a reason you can't do the same? I know mine had a pretty good wing span & were trying out their wings by about 6 weeks or so, so yours may already be able to fly & are just waiting to finish filling in before they take off.
     
  5. Missy60

    Missy60 Chirping

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    Apr 20, 2012
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    Oh my I thought they didn't fly until around 10 weeks. I have heard some domestic mallards don't really fly so I was really waiting to see some sign that they could fly. I do free range so I was sort of thinking maybe being able to fly a little would keep them safer. I also don't think I could clip their wings, but I might be able to find someone else who could. Are your bird pretty tame? I will have to do more research on wing clipping.
     
  6. Nsampsel

    Nsampsel Songster

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    East Central Ohio
    Like I said, mine stay penned all the time cuz I'm in town, but I saw definite wing flapping & practice lift-offs where they got their toes off the ground almost a month ago. Mine were hatched around the 2nd week of March. Wing clipping is not difficult, but you will need a partner to help hold the duck. Let them secure the duck with it's head under their arm while you extend 1 wing out completely but gently. Take a firm grip so it can't pull it's wing back in or flap but not so hard that you will injure the wing. Use sharp scissors & cut along the next to longest row of feathers from the outside edge of the blue band to the wingtip. It's actually very easy to see where to cut on a Mallard as opposed to an all white bird as the feathers really stand out at your starting & stopping points. Recheck in a week or 2 until you know all feathers are fully grown in & then you don't have to clip again until they molt. I just watch when they extend their wings to flap & can see if they need trimmed again yet or not. Saves catching the bird repeatedly. I can go take some pix later today if that would help. Need my daughter home to help hold the bird.

    I will actually be doing some wing clipping this evening anyway as I am picking up 6 more ducks at noon today [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  7. Missy60

    Missy60 Chirping

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    Apr 20, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    Pictures would be great if you can manage it. I have seen the article on metzers website, but it really wasn't clear to me. Who ever try's to hold one of my birds will have to have some pretty good gloves on she's a real meanie...lol? Do they have to be really heavy duty scissors or are the feather pretty easy to clip. My pekin is molting right now so I will get one of her feathers and see if my scissors will cut feathers. Thanks for all your help.
     
  8. Apyl

    Apyl Songster

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    Mine free range all day and when the sun goes down they go in on their own. They've been free ranging since 4 weeks old for the mallards.
     
  9. Nsampsel

    Nsampsel Songster

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    East Central Ohio
    Yup...that's where I learned from. I clip all of 1 side like pic 3. I don't leave the 2 end feathers like pic 2.

    If you want pix of my actual birds I can get those.
     

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