Update on the Appleyards

Quack head

Jun 20, 2019
Sparta, TN
As some of you may remember I have three Appleyards (5 months old), one Drake and two Ducks. Started to let them free range and enjoy our 1/2 acre pond. It took them almost a week before they would even go near the water then another week just playing in the shallow end only venturing a few feet in the water. During this time I would shake the bag of mealworms and they would respond within six feet of me. We even got to the point they would hear the bag and come running. THEN they discovered the total pond area, and the mealworm trick was out the window. The first couple of evenings they would not return to the "Quack House" without several trips around the pond and me splashing the water.

Currently in the evening I just say the works "Quack House" several times and they start back and go in on their own.. BUT, they will not respond to me shaking the bag of mealworms. I do place some mealworms in the water in the Quack House for an evening snack. They also eat very little food at night, I can only assume since they eat all day they aren't that hungry.

Anyone have any timeframe for them to become sociable to humans again. They were not handled as ducklings and was left to free range before I got them at three months.

Image is with them in a standoff with our local deer. They also have taken ownership of the pond and chase the wild Mallards.
View attachment 1885724
No picture came through. I'd say to just sit by them, talk softly to them and give them treats. That's the main thing to make them love you. I don't put food or water in my duck pen at night and they are fine and I'm happy because it's way less mess. If it's super hot I'll but a bucket of water in the house but only then.
I keep my duck's food inside the coop. They eat in the evening/night & are outside foraging/playing during the day. The ducklings get free access to the coop during the day.

I open the coop door and they run on in once i get out of the way.

I have 3 sets of ducks - 1 pekin who is 1yr4m, 7 khakis at 4m, 3 mixed at about 2m
The ducklings as of now were very coddled and will come to me for bill rubs and mealworms. The ducks will approach if they see the mealworms hit the ground. The pekin is like a honeybadger; she doesn't care.

But they all learn coop=food
I have heard that some ducks like humans, but mine seem mostly to tolerate me. Their level of tolerance is directly related to their hunger and to the quality of treats I offer. If your ducks are finding live "meal worms" in the pond, and fill up on these live ones, then they are not interested in the dry mealworms you are offering later in the day. Therefore, they ignore you. You could try peas, or some other treat that they do not find in the pond.

If they are simply not hungry, I doubt it will work. Perhaps on the weekend you could not let them free range in the morning, and only offer boring duck food. Then, a bit later in the morning when you show up with peas or mealworms, they may be hungry and very happy to see you with treats!

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