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Ruddy Shelducks and flying

Discussion in 'Ornamental Fowl (Swans, etc.)' started by fancyfowl4ever, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. fancyfowl4ever

    fancyfowl4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 17, 2008
    Cranbrook, BC, Canada
    Hi everyone.

    I got a pair of juvenile Ruddy Shelducks from a good friend yesterday. They are 3 weeks apart in age. The supposed male(I can vent sex waterfowl but I am by no means 100%accurate and he had them sexed by another breeder who says it is male, I say female... i guess we"ll see) is the younger one and still downy but has feathers coming in on his shoulders. The Hen is pretty much fully feathered.
    Now my friends breeding pair have the run of his place, are unpinioned if I remember right etc. but he raised his pair from eggs so I think his are more attached to the property. Haven't seen them fly even once when we were walking around them and they seemed very calm. Now these juvies aren't pinioned and I hate doing it at this stage. Are they young enough to bond to this place, calm down and stay or do I have to play catch twice a year to clip their wings?
    I completely forgot to ask him when he gave them to me and he is working the next couple days and no reachable so I thought I better ask here. Ideally I would like them to roam our garden since I really like their looks and sounds.
     
  2. toejam

    toejam Never enough birds

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    Dec 21, 2009
    SW Ohio, Wilmington
    You really shouldnt free range them, they are wild and will eventually leave(98%of the time).Speically if they arent pinioned, or winged clipped. Build an aivairy for them. Your friend is very very lucky.
     
  3. fancyfowl4ever

    fancyfowl4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,283
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    Mar 17, 2008
    Cranbrook, BC, Canada
    I have an aviary already. My friend has had them for 8 yrs now together with various other waterfowl. Most of his birds are pinioned the ruddies and white mandarins are a few who are full winged and stay(the mandies got out by accident, a tree crushed their pen couple years ago).
    I just love going to his place and see everything. I am glad I only walked away with these ruddies. He offered me some barnacle geese and mute swans too(yearling males, super tame, carried them around all day lol)
     
  4. toejam

    toejam Never enough birds

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    Dec 21, 2009
    SW Ohio, Wilmington
    Ok when I 1st read it it didn't seem like it. My bad.

    Now I think you asking if you should leave there wings full or not. Correct?

    If that's the case it's a personal prefrence. Pinioning is not an option as you said due to age. Best done on day 1. Now I personally wouldn't trim there wings but that's me. If your worried about them flyin all over because they aren't used to the pen, trim the wings once, and by the time they grow back they will be used to the pen. If you dont spook em, they should be fine. It only take a few weeks to get used to the surroundings.
    Hope that's what you were asking,
    Justin
     
  5. fancyfowl4ever

    fancyfowl4ever Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,283
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    Mar 17, 2008
    Cranbrook, BC, Canada
    Now I think you asking if you should leave there wings full or not. Correct?

    Yea, basically, altho as calm and friendly as they are and I have seen their parents to be I was wondering if letting them free range with my geese sometimes would be an option without them taking off on me.

    These guys are unbelievably calm, i go up to their little quarantine cage and they are standing at the door excitedly peeping away at me. They are calmer then most of my domestics!
    If they stay this calm keeping them fullwinged in their aviary shouldn't be a big problem then. I just remember the full winged mandies I got who flew themselfs to death after about a year of just mildly bouncing of the walls on a daily bases.....​
     
  6. toejam

    toejam Never enough birds

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    Dec 21, 2009
    SW Ohio, Wilmington
    I personally wouldn't free range them,That's my opinion. but if you feel comfortable, then by all means do so. I think of it like a circus animal. They may be "tame"(in your case not skittish) but can go on a rampage(in your case decide to run off) cause they still have wild instincts.

    If they are as calm as you say you Definatly won't have problems with them full winged.
    Good luck!
     
  7. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 9, 2008
    Hahira, GA
    toejam has pretty much covered it, no you do not let any form of wild ducks out and expect them to stay. In time you'll end up missing them one day.
    Shelducks are kinda similar to geese in a way, they prefer to walk to their location as opposed to fly. They are heavy grazers, so this is just developed into part of their day to day thing, walk and eat along the way.
    Does this mean they wont jump ship on you...shoot no, they'll be gone in a heart beat if something spooks them or they just get that wild hair itching.
    Do not let them out if you want to keep them.
    One error I saw though was too old to be pinioned...while yes it's best to do as day olds, it can be done at any point in their life. I wouldnt do it right now though if the wings and all are feathering, too much blood flow going that way right now. Once they get hard feathered though, yes you can take a pair of shears and still pinion the wing tips, dont it a million times... yes it's a little more on them at an adult age, but they come threw it just fine. Just be sure to stay in the metacarpal joint only.

    Also shelducks, and the ruddy in particular are pretty aggressive towards other ducks, especially in breeding season. This is not a mine or his arent thing, it's a species thing, ALL of them are or have the potential to be. So keep that in mind when housing them in that aviary. Only large tuff ducks should be housed with them, actually 1 pair of shelducks per pen is the golden rule on them. Teal, wood ducks, mandarins, etc should be avoided. Geese, swans, and large ducks like pintails are o kay.
     

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