Tips for raising a single duckling?

cheese17

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
29
1
22
NY
So from what I've heard, it's not exactly a good idea to raise a duck by itself, you have to have another duckling to keep it company. Unfortunately I don't have the money and resources for that, so I was wondering if there was any way I could make up for my duckling's lack of a friend?

The duckling is pretty healthy as far as I'm concerned and it eats like it's never gonna see food again. He's got a water bowl that he can easily step in and out of, and I clean it out every time he decides to use it as a bathroom. He lives in a big cardboard box with three little peepholes (he loves saying hello to people through the little peepholes) and the bedding is changed at least three times a day (there's a reason why I call my duckling my "super duper pooper")

He's got a mirror, it's firmly attached to the box so no worries about it falling over, and he's usually got some kind of stuffed toy. (Cut off all the tags and anything he could nibble off and choke on). He loves sitting in front of the mirror and cuddling with his stuffed toy.

I let him run around the yard at least once a day (or my room if it's rainy). He's intent on never leaving my side, and all we have in my yard is grass and the occasional patch of clovers (not the flower). And he loves music (which can be anything from the pop music on my ipad to me singing a lullaby or Vivaldi opera XD) and he loves being around people. He is a giant cuddle fiend, oh yes he loves cuddles.

The only problem is leaving this guy alone during school or when I have work or any other situation when I absolutely have to leave the house for more than three or four hours. Four hours is kinda pushing it, but anything before three hours, he's fine. I change the bedding before I leave, leave the lamp on, and he just chills with his mirror and stuffed doll. But anything more than that, this guy will squawk until I come home and it takes at least ten minutes of holding him and petting him to calm him down.

He doesn't quite sleep through the night either. I've resorted to using earplugs. I say not quite because it's almost like a cycle. Once the lights are out and he knows that I'm going to sleep, he'll be quiet for ten minutes maybe, shuffle around, then quietly peep, then rinse and repeat. I don't mind wearing earplugs but I'm a bit worried maybe he's having separation anxiety while I sleep. (He can't see me when I'm in my bed. It's in a different part of my room)
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
Jan 3, 2010
23,213
2,815
551
Southern New England
Yes, it is separation anxiety. There are some duck-person pairs who work it out, most of the time the person has flexibility and can be with the duck almost all the time.

While a single duckling is not recommended by most duck folks due to their flock nature, I acknowledge that some can make it work. You may want to contact @Amykins and get some insight. There are others as well - try the Indoor Ducks thread.
 

cheese17

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
29
1
22
NY
Normally would say say I'm pretty flexible, but I have to be gone six hours a day for school. I always let it nestle next to me though while I do homework or I'll place its box next to me while I'm doing chores around the house. I've got a week of school left, and I'll still be away for most of the day for prom and graduation, how detrimental do you think that might be to the duckling? I have plenty of family members here that would be more than willing to play with the duckling and take care of him while I'm gone (he's a very social duck), or do I absolutely have to be there since it thinks I'm it's mother?
Thank you for the recommendation though. i'll definely check out that thread and I'll try to see if I can contact amykins :)
 

Amykins

Crowing
6 Years
May 11, 2013
4,771
473
276
LOL I just saw this thread, thanks for thinking of me, Miss Amiga!

Unfortunately I think Ami's right, the poor guy sounds like he's got separation anxiety. :/ I successfully raised Wobbles on his own, but I also am home 24/7. I had an internship at a vet hospital, but I was allowed to bring him along with me. I got pretty lucky in retrospect! I got a second duck to try and bond with him. I highly recommend you do the same, if you have to spend so much time away from him. He's bonded to you, so he may react positively to your family members, but unless he has 24/7 supervision it likely won't be enough to stop him from squawking.

As for nighttime, Wobbles finally learned to sleep with the light off after several months. Bean's not quite there yet, so she has a night light. I also keep her box on my bed; they both sleep in large clear plastic storage bins so they can still see me. Otherwise it's Freakout City.

Do you have any photos of the lil' cutie? <3
 

cheese17

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
29
1
22
NY
Trust me, I'd love to get another duck so that my little Peeps is happier, but I don't have the money to take care of another duck, and my parents have said on several occasions that "one duck is enough." If I ever raise ducklings again though, once I finish college and have a place of my own, I'll definitely raise more than one at once.
Actually I read something similar on the forums too. I'm gonna put his box next to my bed while I sleep (still using earplugs though). And I've found that the music on my iPhone or iPad is quite soothing for him. He'll just sit in his box next to his stuffed toys without a single peep. Currently testing to see how well that works when I'm not home.
Oh and lol my icon is my duckling Peeps, but unfortunately I can't add any photos on my phone right now, currently acting a bit glitchy ):
 

cheese17

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
29
1
22
NY
Well the good news is that the music worked, I've only been gone about two hours, and when I came back into the room the duck was calmly sitting in her favorite corner. There's no poop in the water either and the water hasn't been spilled (when she gets nervous she runs all over the place and splashes water everywhere and poops in her water dish)
 

cheese17

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
29
1
22
NY
But here's a picture of Peeps in his box, I just replaced the bedding :)
400

It's not a palace but he likes it. I was thinking of making the water bowl smaller though in order to reduce splashing and to give him more space
 

Amykins

Crowing
6 Years
May 11, 2013
4,771
473
276
Trust me, I'd love to get another duck so that my little Peeps is happier, but I don't have the money to take care of another duck, and my parents have said on several occasions that "one duck is enough." If I ever raise ducklings again though, once I finish college and have a place of my own, I'll definitely raise more than one at once.
Actually I read something similar on the forums too. I'm gonna put his box next to my bed while I sleep (still using earplugs though). And I've found that the music on my iPhone or iPad is quite soothing for him. He'll just sit in his box next to his stuffed toys without a single peep. Currently testing to see how well that works when I'm not home.
Oh and lol my icon is my duckling Peeps, but unfortunately I can't add any photos on my phone right now, currently acting a bit glitchy ):

Unfortunately, the only two options are to get a second duckling, or adopt lil' Peeps out to someone who can give him a better life. I know that sounds harsh, but please believe me, once he gets bigger, you'll realize just how much time and work a house duck is. There's a LOT of poop, a lot of diaper changing, and you just can't keep him alone in a box his entire life, now matter how many mirrors or CD's you play for him. Just because he doesn't squawk doesn't mean he isn't lonely. You're still a student, and you simply can't devote the time and energy to him that he's gonna need. :/

I thought I could raise Wobbles alone too. But when he hit adulthood and began 'mating' my hands, driving my neighbors nuts with constant quacking and plucking his feathers out due to stress when I left him alone, I knew I'd made a mistake.

For the time being though, I recommend not keeping his bathing water in the box. A simple bath in the sink or tub once a day is plenty. Keeping the place clean and dry is enough of a hassle without it, hehe!
 
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cheese17

In the Brooder
May 23, 2015
29
1
22
NY
Once a bath once day? Huh, but then where would he get his drinking water? Would I have to but a water feeder of some sort?
The box was only for infancy, the little guy's only a week old. We're in the process of building an enclosure in our yard for him, he would move there once he's matured, and I've been trying to play with him outside once a day so he would become adjusted to the outdoors. However, I'm beginning to realize that once he's fully grown (7 weeks) I would be heading off to college. I had been hoping to visit my duck when I came back home during breaks and that my parents would take care of him while I was gone, but I can see he's not going to get the necessary affection and attention that a single duck would need. (As of now Peeps is solely my responsibility).
I only want the best for my little Peeps, and as much as it pains me to say it, perhaps you're right, I should start looking for someone to adopt him once I leave for college. It's not all the work that this duck makes that's making me say this, believe me I've been able to easily fit all of his needs into my schedule, I just don't want him to undergo the stress of not having me around for months.
 

AmandaVirginia

Songster
Jan 24, 2015
965
108
146
Laguna Beach, FL
Peeps is adorable!
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Also, my house duck has no problem sleeping at night and never has. She is completely imprinted on both my dog & me. Her first couple weeks of life, she too slept in a clear bin on my bed with me, my three Yorkies, & my boyfriend. Now, at 5 weeks she sleeps on the floor in a pin where she can still see us. She does wonderful. Only time she squawks is if we leave the room without her. I guess we just got lucky
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You seem to be doing wonderful. Peeps is adorable!
 
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