Shrinking Dayling Hours/not wanting to go in duck house

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by newbyduckmom, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. newbyduckmom

    newbyduckmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2011
    Snohomish County, WA
    My ducks have always gone in the duck house at dusk with no problem. Even before I go out to put them in the house, they have gone inside as dusk approached. For the last two weeks, with the daylight hours shrinking, it takes a lot of effort to get them in the house to stay, even after it is dark they prefer to be in the run area. I have even started feeding them at night to encourage them to go in the house. We have lots of critters (coyotes, birds of prey, raccoons, opossums, etc), so it is imperative that they go in the house at night. (Run area in not secure enough for cover of darkness).

    They have been outside in the run for about 12-14 hours a day and now that time is shrinking due to darkness. This week they are out from about 8 am until a little after 5 pm. I know they prefer to be outside with their kiddie pool, grass, availability of forage, etc, however, it surprises me that they prefer to be outside when it is dark now, when they are so cautious otherwise. Is this typical when daylight hours get shorter?

    They are about 5-7 months, so I wonder if it is just them being less cautious/a little more bold as they get older?

    They do appear to be wandering a lot further from the house in general - even took off down our gravel road when out free ranging a couple of times. I have been gone past nightfall two times in the last week, and they have stayed in the outdoor pen, even though the light is on in the house, food is in there, and they have access to go inside, and they were seemingly quite frightened being out in the dark?

    Their house seems to have become less of a safety zone to them for some reason, and more of a, "ah mom, do we have to go in there?" No changes in structure, interior, etc in the house, so I am clueless. And no events, that I am aware of, that would make them frightened of the house for any reason. We actually have two houses one from drakes and one for ducks. Same problem with both. They seem to want to stay out and play, and, yet if a plane/hawk flies over during the day, they head for the house or cover.

    Granted, even I prefer the outdoors to indoors, but not at night!
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Quote:They don't know whats best for them. I usually dump the water out of their pool in the evening, it's kind of a signal that it's getting close to bedtime. I start emptying waterers take up food etc. all signs it's getting dark. They uusually start moving towards the house. The way our setup is I have fenced off areas with gates so if I have a stragler I just close the gates and herd them in the right direction. Ducks herd good so you might need to start by herding them into their house and shutting the door. You are their leader so you have to take control of this situation for their safety and your peace of mind. Good luck.

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