Shy Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Dirtygun, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Dirtygun

    Dirtygun Chirping

    Jun 20, 2019
    Sparta, TN
    I have three four month old ducks, I purchased them from a farm that let them free range. When we looked at them you could get within six feet before they would wander away. I placed them in their Quack House five days ago. I visit them four to five times a day. I call to them then give them fresh water and scatter about a 1/8th of a cup of meal worms in the hay and crumble some in their feed. They still run to their corner and stay their and if I approach they go a little crazy running around the pen. How long will it take for them to get use to me? I want to let them free range in the back yard but afraid they won't come back to the "Quack House". Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. DuckyDonna

    DuckyDonna Free Ranging

    Aug 26, 2018
    Dallas, Georgia
    If I were you I'd sit out with them in a chair, maybe hold some treats and scatter them around your feet. Let them get used to you not moving around much. Mine are much more apt to come around me when I'm sitting. I've got sweet potatoes growing next to their run so I'll pick the leaves, tear them up and hand-feed them. Just go slow and easy and they will come around eventually. It's not going to happen in a day.
  3. McChics

    McChics Songster

    Apr 10, 2015
    Try peas - mine won't touch meal worms.
  4. Callender Girl

    Callender Girl Crowing

    Sep 18, 2018
    North Central Iowa
    Mine adore frozen peas, especially when it's this hot. Eight of my nine runner ducks will eat from my hand, but NO ONE wants to be picked up. Ever. And, most of them have lived with me since they were a day or two old. They free range only when I am home and can regularly check on them.

    In the morning when I release them from their shelter, I rattle a container of pellet feed before letting them eat.

    When I want them to return to their shelter, I yell, "Duck, duck, house, house," and make sure to rattle a feed container again. Since part of the top of the shelter is covered in hardware cloth (the rest is solid metal and wood), I then drop the feed into the house, and the duckies follow. The way to my ducks' hearts is definitely through their stomachs.

    My best advice is to spend quiet, non-moving time with them and fill your hand with treats until they see you as the ultimate vending machine -- touch the person's hand, get a treat. Then you can use that accomplishment to teach them-- with some verbal and/or auditory signal -- that food will be in their Quack House.

    Good luck!
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Definitely will take weeks before they trust you. I sit and just watch my scared Ducks. Then I'll start tossing out some Romain Lettuce. Might take longer depending on their age.. you can free range them but always herd them back in slowly without chasing them.
    LilyLoo and sourland like this.
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    They are at that teen aged phase when they tend to become skittish. Couple that with their move to a new home, and they are doubly skittish. Poultry of all sorts hate change. I agree with @chickens really that it will take several weeks until they settle down. Keep them a little bit hungry so that know that your presence means feed is coming. For now I would discontinue ad lib feeding.
    Miss Lydia and chickens really like this.
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Well I disagree because I free feed all mine 24/7 because scared birds will gobble feed and can become impacted. I change nothing and never make eye contact with them either..I'm not a threat.
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Everyone has a right to their opinion - common sense is needed. Frequent SMALL feedings is the fastest way of acclimating 'new' /'scared animals of all breeds in my experience. No one is recommending starving and then free feeding. I should have been more explicit as I realize that common sense is an uncommon quality. To the OP I apologize for not being more explicit in what I meant.

    Edited to add: Move slowly around them, talk softly, do not try to catch or pick them up. Allow them to come to you. Good luck in the acclimation.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  9. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Oh my I definitely wasn't causing another debate or purposely hurting your feelings.. Anyways I do as we all do..What has been our experience...
    Callender Girl likes this.
  10. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    No debate, and I am entirely too old to get my feelings hurt. Just trying to help the OP with acclimation of her birds. What works for one does not necessarily work for the next.

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