Tips on introducing ducklings?

Riley Adams

Chirping
Sep 21, 2017
77
62
91
Hi, I woke up to a bit of bad news this morning. My second duck this week was missing. I am working on identifying the predator and keeping it out of my yard, but I am also growing concerned about the future. My two remaining ducks are a drake and a hen. I fear that it won't be healthy for her to be his only mate. So, I'm assuming I'll be finding myself raising to female ducklings soon, and I had a few questions about how to introduce them to the flock. Should I wait until a certain age? What time can they be left alone with each other? Could the new ducks be hostile towards the current ones? Any advice is helpful.
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
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Are you leaving your ducks out side over night ? If so your finding out this is not a good idea. Ducks are just that sitting ducks for all manner of predators. Very sorry for your loss.

If your planning on getting ducklings of course you have to brood them till they are feathered and old enough to go outside but in the mean time if your having nice weather you can take your ducklings outside to meet your adults. Best way to do this is putting the ducklings into a dog crate or small fenced in area so the adults can see and meet the newbies but can't hurt them if they take a mind to. If you start this with your new ducklings by the time they are old enough to be with the adults full time they will already know each other and should be accepting of the new ones. The duckling will need to be close to same size as your adults before being with them full time. And of course all of this done with your supervision.
 

Riley Adams

Chirping
Sep 21, 2017
77
62
91
Are you leaving your ducks out side over night ? If so your finding out this is not a good idea. Ducks are just that sitting ducks for all manner of predators. Very sorry for your loss.

If your planning on getting ducklings of course you have to brood them till they are feathered and old enough to go outside but in the mean time if your having nice weather you can take your ducklings outside to meet your adults. Best way to do this is putting the ducklings into a dog crate or small fenced in area so the adults can see and meet the newbies but can't hurt them if they take a mind to. If you start this with your new ducklings by the time they are old enough to be with the adults full time they will already know each other and should be accepting of the new ones. The duckling will need to be close to same size as your adults before being with them full time. And of course all of this done with your supervision.

Thank you so much for your advice. Do you mean that I should always keep them in a pen at night, or that they should not be outside at all?
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
117,535
139,162
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Mountains of Western N.C.
They should be kept secure at night especially because even though there are predators during the day most are out at night. Mine are out on half acre Fenced property during the day but before dark everyone is in their house locked up. If we intend to keep our flocks for a long time of enjoyment then we have to keep them safe. Not having a way to protect them during the day with some kind of fencing can cause predation and even with fencing you can have some but having a fence between the preds and the ducks[poultry] can make a big difference. What is your set up now? How are you keeping your ducks> do they have a house for shelter? Not only do we have 4 legged preds after our poultry but there are the flying ones too Owls, Hawks eagles etc love to dine on duck. So if left out at night Owls are another concern. Coyotes during the day and night they will come in and snatch a duck and carry it off.
 

Riley Adams

Chirping
Sep 21, 2017
77
62
91
I currently an eight foot by eight foot wooden pen surrounded by chicken wire. There is a tear in the back that my birds have been escaping from. I'm assuming they escaped and came across a predator rather than the other way around, given that the tear is quite small. I am fixing the pen tonight so it can be more secure. I feel like I should mention that I live in the suburbs in the Midwest, so predators include hawks, possums, raccoons, and possibly owls. Thanks again for the advice.
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
117,535
139,162
1,962
Mountains of Western N.C.
You'd be surprised how small a hole a pred can get through a mink or weasel can get through 1" holes.

Besides what you mentioned in preds did you know coyotes and foxes live in the suburbs too?
 

kumquat

Songster
Dec 13, 2017
113
180
116
PNW
Sorry to hear about your losses! :hugs Your right, for the sake of your female duck you are going to need to add more females to your flock. I'd encourage you to fully resolve your predator proofing first, however, so you don't suffer more casualties. Someone has discovered a reliable place to snag a night-time meal, so your remaining ducks are now at increased risk.

Is your wooden pen covered? In order to be secure their night-time structure needs to be fully enclosed by predator "proof" materials (solid walls, hardwire cloth, etc...). They still need plenty of ventilation (1 sq. ft per bird is a good ratio) but venting needs to be covered with something like hardwire cloth (less the 1" square holes). Chicken wire serves alright for keeping poultry in, but is not effective for keeping predators out- the holes are too big to block small predators and it is easily torn by larger ones.
 

Riley Adams

Chirping
Sep 21, 2017
77
62
91
Sorry to hear about your losses! :hugs Your right, for the sake of your female duck you are going to need to add more females to your flock. I'd encourage you to fully resolve your predator proofing first, however, so you don't suffer more casualties. Someone has discovered a reliable place to snag a night-time meal, so your remaining ducks are now at increased risk.

Is your wooden pen covered? In order to be secure their night-time structure needs to be fully enclosed by predator "proof" materials (solid walls, hardwire cloth, etc...). They still need plenty of ventilation (1 sq. ft per bird is a good ratio) but venting needs to be covered with something like hardwire cloth (less the 1" square holes). Chicken wire serves alright for keeping poultry in, but is not effective for keeping predators out- the holes are too big to block small predators and it is easily torn by larger ones.
The pen wasn't covered before (big mistake, I know) but I'm covering it with hardware cloth for now. I'm also patching the hole and setting live traps all around the yard.
 

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