Taming my new ducks and building them a lovely new home

e2311

In the Brooder
Dec 9, 2017
15
9
18
Hello everyone! I'm a first time duck mama, I just took home my two Shetland Duck girls. The guy I got them from was re homing them as they didn't get on with the rest of his ducks and they would not let them get any food. They are not in the best condition and one of them is particularly scrawny but hoping we can nurse them back to health soon.

They are young ducks, hatched last year. I am feeling really sorry for them at the moment as they are very scared of us and won't eat what we've offered so far. I've spent time in the shed today throwing food in with them and talking to them but got nowhere. I am going to build a duck house for them and have an old bath we may put in the garden for them to use. For the time being they are in a large dog cage with bedding in our shed.

Any advice on the building of their new home is appreciated, as well as on keeping it clean. What do you all use to clean your birds houses and how often do you clean them? Is regular household disinfectant safe?

I hope they will settle in soon, start eating and get used to us. Really want them to be happy here!
 

Miss Lydia

Love is in the Air
Premium member
10 Years
Oct 3, 2009
103,602
101,295
1,842
Mountains of Western N.C.
Welcome to BYC and congrats on your new ducks.
It will take a bit of time to get them use to you and their new surrounding but the more your out with them moving slowly talking to them offering treats. They will gradually get use to the TLC. Ducks being on the top of the list as prey don't trust easily so it will take time.

For their new home you might want to go to the thread on coops design lots of ideas there but one thing you want to make sure of it is secure top to bottom and well ventilated. Ammonia and moisture are 2 biggies you don't want inside their coop. I use shavings for horse bedding for the floors in my houses it is so much easier to keep clean since their poop is so wet I just go inside and scoop out the wet fluff up the shaving and add more as needed I keep anywhere from 5-8" of bedding in their houses. I clean daily but I am retired so I have the time. Others can give you their routine and you can decide how often you want to clean up. I have quite a few more waterfowl and chickens so my houses get pretty nasty over night.
Enjoy your new ducks and please post pics when you can we would love to see them.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/forums/coop-run-design-construction-maintenance.9/
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/the-ultimate-list-of-duck-treats-and-supplements.242460/
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/category/chicken-coops.12/

I use a product called Oxine ah it's mixed with water and I add essential oils to this in a spray bottle that is what I mainly use for disinfecting but I also have used White vinegar and essential oils for disinfecting . Don't use harsh chemicals they can injure respiratory tract.
Essential oil of lavender. lemon and peppermint and orange oil
 
Last edited:

e2311

In the Brooder
Dec 9, 2017
15
9
18
Welcome to BYC and congrats on your new ducks.
It will take a bit of time to get them use to you and their new surrounding but the more your out with them moving slowly talking to them offering treats. They will gradually get use to the TLC. Ducks being on the top of the list as prey don't trust easily so it will take time.

For their new home you might want to go to the thread on coops design lots of ideas there but one thing you want to make sure of it is secure top to bottom and well ventilated. Ammonia and moisture are 2 biggies you don't want inside their coop. I use shavings for horse bedding for the floors in my houses it is so much easier to keep clean since their poop is so wet I just go inside and scoop out the wet fluff up the shaving and add more as needed I keep anywhere from 5-8" of bedding in their houses. I clean daily but I am retired so I have the time. Others can give you their routine and you can decide how often you want to clean up. I have quite a few more waterfowl and chickens so my houses get pretty nasty over night.
Enjoy your new ducks and please post pics when you can we would love to see them.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/forums/coop-run-design-construction-maintenance.9/
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/the-ultimate-list-of-duck-treats-and-supplements.242460/
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/category/chicken-coops.12/

I use a product called Oxine ah it's mixed with water and I add essential oils to this in a spray bottle that is what I mainly use for disinfecting but I also have used White vinegar and essential oils for disinfecting . Don't use harsh chemicals they can injure respiratory tract.
Essential oil of lavender. lemon and peppermint and orange oil
Thank you! We've had this since last night and they freaked out every time they seen us. I've been in to them a few times today and sat with them, they have eaten some pellets and the last time I was in they just stayed huddled together and didn't move or make a sound when I was in. So I think they're less scared already. I made the decision not to let them out today so they can at least realise that we are feeding them first. I was worried they'd just disappear if we let them out straight away, as they don't have a run or anything, they will just have free run of our garden.
 

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goat Kids
Premium member
Sep 8, 2015
60,354
104,343
1,637
The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
Congrats on the Ducks...Soon they will look to you as a friend and will enjoy your company...A extra large insulated Dog House works good as a Duck house..I think you might want to build a run though as it will keep your Ducks safe at night and when your not home..Best wishes..
 

e2311

In the Brooder
Dec 9, 2017
15
9
18
Congrats on the Ducks...Soon they will look to you as a friend and will enjoy your company...A extra large insulated Dog House works good as a Duck house..I think you might want to build a run though as it will keep your Ducks safe at night and when your not home..Best wishes..
Thanks :) The ducks will be locked in their house at night but roam in the garden through the day.. I am still considering a run anyway though so that when we are out they can still be outside and be safe. We live right by the sea and get a lot of otters around here - does anyone know if otters would be likely to prey on my ducks? Also would the ducks swim in the sea or do they prefer fresh water? Sorry if these are silly questions, i'm new to this!
 

Duckworth

Songster
May 15, 2017
671
1,754
222
U.S. Prairie
This is my first year with ducks, too, though mine arrived in the spring as newly hatched ducklings. Ducks need access to water at all times when food is available. They need water to avoid choking on food. Their water ends up with a lot of food matter in it, and, if they swim in it, a lot of duck poo. Ducks are very messy with water, so keeping their home clean and relatively dry can be a challenge. They need water deep enough for them to dunk their heads and clear their nostrils. We have cold winters here, so I have put away the kiddie pool my ducks swim in during the rest of the year and provide them with water in 2-gallon feed buckets that are of a height that allows them to dunk their heads. When they ice over, they aren't too heavy for me to carry outside the pen and dump or thump the ice out of.

Ducks are pretty cold hardy, but do need a place to shelter from the wind. At the same time, they need lots of ventilation to keep moisture and ammonia from building up in their living quarters. They do not roost like chickens do, typically preferring to sleep on the ground on some kind of bedding. They also don't generally use nesting boxes to lay in. I currently use straw in my duck house and pen, though I will also be adding oak leaves and pine shavings. Cedar has oils in it that make it an undesirable choice for duck bedding.

There are some good sticky threads at the top of the Ducks forum that discuss good duck nutrition and what makes a healthy treat for ducks.

Ducks definitely need good protection from predators, including birds of prey. I live in a neighborhood with a lot of potential predators, including domestic dogs, cats, owls, hawks, raccoons, opossums, and foxes. The risk of predation generally goes up at night, when darkness and less human activity make things easier for nocturnal and diurnal predators. My duck house is much more secure than my day pen, which is mainly protecting from dogs, cats, foxes, and birds of prey. A raccoon or opossum that could evade the dogs might be able to get into small high-up openings in the pen, but the dogs would be hot on their heels and raising a ruckus. I lock my ducks into their house each evening and let them out at dawn, at which point they come pouring out of their house into the pen, quacking happily. They are skittish of me, despite that I have cared for them from the moment we brought them home as new hatchlings. If I carry a new item into the pen, they shy away or run into their house.

This is my pen with attached house, before all the bedding was put in.
IMG_2327.JPG
IMG_2331.JPG
IMG_2335.JPG


I no longer keep a water bucket in the house and have all of their water in the pen instead. Our city code makes us use a solid surface floor for the pen instead of having it on the ground.
 

CarleeAnn

Songster
Apr 29, 2017
944
1,491
231
Louisiana
When trying to comfort the ducks I would sit with them with you back turned or just face away so they can check you out. If they come up to nibble at you don’t turn around, just let them do their thing to find out you’re safe. Maybe place your hands to your sides with food in them, I wouldn’t toss food at them. My ducks love me and still get frightened if I toss food the wrong way- ducks are so finicky!

Congrats on your new babies. Enjoy!
 
Top Bottom