Training Ducklings to Go Inside at Night?

Scifisarah

Songster
10 Years
May 1, 2009
813
35
158
Rockford MI
My Coop
My Coop
I moved our three week old call ducklings into a tractor and am having trouble getting them to go inside at night. They are very clingy to me, and sleep right next to the chickenwire-covered door in the pen area hoping to see me or be let out. I am worried about a raccoon coming by and grabbing them in their sleep. I would like to just be able to leave the little door open and have them go in at night like our chickens seem to do naturally.

I have tried:

-leaving a light on in the covered area (they just stay up and "play" outside all night from the light shining out if I do this)
-putting food and water inside (they will go in during the day to eat and drink but ignore it at night)
-picking them up one by one and shutting them in (this is a pain to do every night and didn't seem to make them want to go in on their own any more)

Here is a photo of the tractor (yes, those are chickens in the photo, not call ducks). Any advice would be appreciated!

29943_p1010059.jpg
 
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Cetawin

Chicken Beader
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
13,752
136
333
NW Kentucky
If chicken wire is the only thing between them and the outdoors...a raccoon will get them..bank on it.

They need to be securely locked in at night and if wire is the only protection at least go with 1/4" preferred or 1/2" welded or hardwire cloth. If you have to put them in every night that is better than the alternative.

Also, it does not appear there is any protection for them from diggers...that would be the other problem in leaving the door open. Fox are especially bad about it.
 

Scifisarah

Songster
10 Years
May 1, 2009
813
35
158
Rockford MI
My Coop
My Coop
Quote:
I am putting them in, but it is getting more and more difficult as I get bigger from being pregnant
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We have not had trouble with any digging animals in the 3 years we have kept chickens so far. Our main coop has double wire for the bottom 2 feet, and burried wire, but nothing has ever tried to climb the fence or dig under. We have a collie dog that is outside frequently and our coop and tractor is close to the house so I think that helps.

Still looking for advice on how to get them to go in on their own though!
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Celeste

In the Brooder
11 Years
May 13, 2008
46
0
22
Lyndon
I free range my ducks and I find that during the summer mine never want to go inside their shelter. During the winter we only had to show them their house once and then at dark they would put themselves to bed. Sorry I couldn't be of more help, I just think during the nice weather they really just don't care to be inside. Good luck and hope some one else has some ideas.
 

Scifisarah

Songster
10 Years
May 1, 2009
813
35
158
Rockford MI
My Coop
My Coop
I guess I assumed they would act more like chickens and want to go inside at night. I'll stop worrying about "training" them and do more to the structure, like add a second layer of fencing at the bottom so they can't get grabbed.
 

Heather J

Songster
11 Years
May 29, 2008
955
3
141
Another possibility is giving them a special snack at night. I trained my birds to go to their run at night by giving them a little scratch in the evening. They can all be out running wild, but as soon as I start dropping the scratch into their dish, they hear it and come running!
 

BeccaOH

Morning Gem Farm
11 Years
Oct 3, 2008
1,287
5
161
east central Ohio
Mine are in their house most all morning, but they love to be out in the evening and even after dark. Maybe they are enjoying the cooler temps after the sun goes down.

Since my geese don't go in the coop at all, I just hope the geese act as a guard to the ducks after dark.

At least that system is currently working for me.
 

pirtykitty

Songster
11 Years
Dec 8, 2008
862
17
151
Waco, Texas
I use a bowl of chopped up mixed greens ( put in water)to get my 3 week olds into the little nignt pen .... so I can carry them into the garage... We are starting the main night pen today..
 
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Kats

In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
36
1
24
Finger Lakes, NY
I had the same problem with my Muscovy ducklings. Finally, I cut back on their food to the point that they were hungry by 5 o'clock. Then I could get them into the duck barn with food. They are definitely harder to bribe with food than chickens are, though.
 

DuckLady

Administrator
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
14 Years
Jan 11, 2007
35,207
10,790
1,011
NE Washington State
Ducks like routine.

Once a routine is established, they will get cranky if you deviate from it.

Ours head to the barn when we yell "BEDTIME" and it only took 3 years to get them to do that.
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However, if we are later than they are used to in herding them in, they go in themselves.

I agree with Cetawin about the chicken wire.
Ducks are active at night and will attract predators whereas night sleeping (and quiet) chickens will not.
 

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