The ducks followed us around the house!! Now what?


8 Years
Mar 1, 2011
Over the rainbow...
We got 4 duckllings on Friday and it took all the way until today (tuesday) before they were comfortable enough to follow us around the house.
It was fun and exciting for my daughter who has been trying to be big sister, but now we have another hurdle to jump and i need some advice on how to go about it. I have looked at all the sites and i know that i am picking up and holding them correctly but they still struggle and want to jump down and will bearly let you pet them. I have tried to hold them for at least 10 minutes each but I feel like I am making them more mad in the process. we spend an hour each night as a whole family (husband, daughter, dog & cat included) with them and we all handle them individually as the day goes on. Is there anything else that we can do to make them more friendly towards us and let us pet or hold them?
If you really want that experience hatch two single eggs and imprint them to humans - Mrs Colby used to do this in science class, they were mallards and were later reclaimed by the farmer.
I hear the less ducklings you have the more they rely on you and not each other. My 1st I hatched out went every where with me and would climb up on my shoulder to watch tv. The 2nd one hatched a week later and was just as bad. The 11 I have now are a night mare and run away as a big crowd all relying on each other. My older 2 are now 8 weeks old and as big as my adult ducks but they still like to come and give cuddles.
They like peas. It will make them come running. Doesn't make them cuddly though : ) When the peas are gone so are they. I handle mine quite a bit. They don't like to be picked up too much, but once I have them in my arms they will cuddle.
we always separated our ducklings in different brooders. That way they bond better to a specific human. One Human per Duck seems to work best (though one human can have several bonded ducks to them. I have three

After the first week or two, they will begin to bond to each other rather than humans and can get wiggly and even scared of their humans they once were so lovey to. This happens often. If there are a few you guys especially like, I recommend moving them to their own brooder with a mirror and continue the lots and lots of handling... Big plastic containers make good individual brooders
I always have two to six ducklings at a time. I handle them daily just like you do and i socalize them with my border collie ( he's an awesome brother to all my birds). Once they get to be about six months I take them up to the barn and I put them in the coop. I don't know how or why but thats all I've ever done and my Pekins follow me down to the house, they sit on the front porch, they lay with my border collie in the yard when he's outside. When Rocket (my border collie) notices that I am packing the truck he comes over to investigate and the ducks follow. I bend down with an offering of bread and they squat down waiting for me to pick them up. In the crate they go and onto the passenger seat goes rocket.. All of my ducks are therapy animals.....or they are in training to be therapy animals
Actually after running data on that they imprint to a species, alligator, duck, chicken, human- not an individual- that's what Mrs. Colby's experiment proved every year for 15 or so years.

But instinct does take back over in some cases- but mallards and pekin are very good for imprinting- three days seeing JUST what you want them imprinting to for best results.

Many human imprinted waterfowl also will fail to breed-

Intresting thing, most ducklings (except the first born) are impreinted to ducklings--

That's WHY they line up, each one is imprinted to the next oldest, the oldest imprinted to momma duck (or broody whatever) - if you were to take 5 ducklings in shell and imprint them to -you- (humans) instead of lining up in a row each will follow your feet in a huge duck clump- (its hilarious) - they will also panic without -you- (human) in the room (not so hilarious at 2-5 in the AM).

So if you ever want a chain of ducks to follow you around incubate one egg (four days ahead) and have it hatch- imprint to you (first three days) then when the others hatch put your human imprited one back into the brooder (three days, make sure he sees you too, but the others don't see you as much). Then you will have a duck chain.
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Wow this is all amazing information! but what if they are already a week old? is it to late to seperate them so that they will better bond with us? I'm going to keep them all no matter what but I'd love for them not to be afraid when they are older and we had planned on ordering some diapers from you Nettie so that they can be part of our indoor family.
don't you think it would be cruel to separate them from each other, My ducks will come around our feet and will hang out with us when were outside. but they really don't like to be picked up much.. Offer lots of peas and a little w/w bread and you'll have friends for life.. they are the prey and it's just normal instinct for them to be a little leary at first. They will begin to trust you all and then the fun begins...
Its to late to imprint- that's done, that's the first three days - but they can be helped to be friendly -you have great suggestions already- way to a ducks heart -through its stomach.

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