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Runaway ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by CT, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. CT

    CT In the Brooder

    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    Some of my friends who keep ducks have said theirs ran away. I wanted to get WH this spring and let them free-range around the pond, and maybe in back in the creek. But, am I going to lose my ducks if I do? I could fence the pond and environs instead. Might be safer to keep the flock together, even if I can't put up predator-proof fencing (which really wouldn't be realistic/affordable around the pond).

  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    I've had ducks for going on 9 years Muscovy and have never had 1 run away, we had a few fly down to the river thats below us and after getting them back home started clipping a wing to keep them here. I'm sure they would love a pond, you would have to train them from a young age to come home before dark so you could lock them up safe from predators.

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Nobody "runs away" here.. [​IMG] They know where their food, housing and safety is, none of my birds are clipped.
  4. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Crowing

    Oct 24, 2009
    My ducks free range on a lake outside my house. They occasionally disappear into the rice fields when the farmers plant the new rice and the fields are flooded, but they always come back at 4pm as they know its food time!

    I had too many drakes once and gave them to a friend in the next village. (15 minute car drive away). That night they escaped his pen and 2 days later they were back on my pond! They are too fat to fly and must have walked and swam their way home alone the ditches and brooks. They even had to cross 2 busy roads and avoid lots of hungry street dogs. I never know ducks had homing instincts like that!
  5. clbarley

    clbarley Chirping

    Mar 14, 2012
    Clatskanie, Oregon
    I am really glad that this topic came up, I am a new duck owner and I have heard both side of this. Some people say their ducks run away each year and some people say they never leave ever. Some people clip and some people do not. I personally do not like the idea of clipping their wings....So we will see i guess....
  6. Ilovemyduckies

    Ilovemyduckies Songster

    Feb 21, 2012
    I don't think your ducks will run away. My ducks are not free range ducks, but they have found several ways to get out of their pen. Even when the found a mud puddle a few houses down, they still can back. So I think you should be fine as long as you let them know that your the one who feeds them. I think that is mostly what kept them from running away. They seem to trust me more than anyone else.
  7. m.kitchengirl

    m.kitchengirl Songster

    Jun 4, 2011
    I think some people get Mallards, which can migrate (I have heard, but the Mallards up the road waddle around all year just like my Anconas), but most domestic ducks stay right near where the food & the flock is. It is easy to train them from an early age to go to the coop at the same time. They like their routines more than they like freedom.

  8. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Ducks don't normally run away. They like to stay right where their food is easily available.

    However, lots of ducks that are allowed to roam loose get killed by predators. That makes me suspect that most of those alleged "runaway" ducks were really dinner for some fox or stray dog.

    CT, if you allow your ducks to free-range, you must be willing to accept the loses to predators. As long as you care for them well, provide good food, and don't harass them, it is very unlikely that your ducks will "run away".
    1 person likes this.
  9. CT

    CT In the Brooder

    Feb 19, 2010
    Great Lakes
    Thank you all! Yes, I realize that if I let them have the run of the yard, some will get eaten by other animals. I just lost a hen to (I think) a hawk. And while I was very sad, I knew that this was the possible price of their freedom. Since then, I've been valuing their lives a little more and their freedom a little less, but it's definitely a balancing act. It's easy to justify right now. I only have two hens (can't afford a loss for the sake of the survivor), and I need them doing the spring tilling, so they are confined to a 5x5' mobile pen whenever I let them out of their enclosed yard.

    But with ducks...giving them access to the water eliminates the utility of a mobile pen. I could set up a fence, but given where the water is, I doubt I could set up an electric fence without doing some brush and sapling removal first. And neither a physical not electric fence is going to stop hawks anyway. It's much to think about. I'm hoping that adequate numbers kept together with a physical fence may be something of a deterrent to predation. And if I have to occasionally tithe to the wildlife, I can be OK with that so long as the flock can absorb the loss. After all, I moved here only about 3 years ago. The fox and the hawks have been on this land for generations.

    I guess we all just have to find a way to keep our birds safe without making ourselves crazy nor inhibiting the natural behaviors of the flock.

    But it's good to know they aren't likely to just wander off.

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