What exactly does "nervous" mean for a duck?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by KimM, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. KimM

    KimM Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 9, 2011
    I am new to the forums, and new to ducks but I really want to order ducklings for the spring. My daughter and I have been spending a lot of time researching breeds and yesterday we were looking at the comparison chart Metzer has, where temperaments are listed...she is very concerned that we don't get a breed listed at "nervous" because she equates it with "non-friendly".

    What do you all think? I've got four young kids who will definitely want to visit the ducks, help feed them, etc. Should we avoid those breeds listed as "nervous"? (I love runner ducks, for example, but they are listed as nervous). And what exactly does a nervous duck mean? Startle easily? Not appreciate the company of loud children? Latch onto your leg as soon as you come into the yard?[​IMG]

    Thanks in advance-
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England

    I have ten runner ducks. If you'd like to see them in action, go to youtube and search for amiga350. All my videos are there. We don't have a bunch of videos, maybe seven. But you can see the ducks napping in the brooder, swimming in the tub, foraging in the garden, and their first experience of snow.

    I have spent extra time with them since they were a day old, making sure they like people. There is a time, from about three or four weeks to about seven weeks, when they are particularly skittery, but if you can avoid coming toward them from above, and if you can avoid cornering them (I let them leave their brooder when I cleaned it, for example), and bribe them regularly with frozen non-salted peas, you will likely have some very sweet birds. Time spent just sitting with them is well spent.

    Please, if you can, check out my videos (especially the snow ducks video) and let me know what you think of how they act around me.

    Six of the ten come up to me for hugs, all but one (a hugger) will eat out of my hand. The more time you spend with them, being gentle and patient, the less "nervous" they will be. If they are startled, they will duck (had to say that), but then in a few minutes they are back to normal easygoing noodling around.
  3. AdamD77

    AdamD77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2010
    Bedfordshire, England
    I think it can vary quite a lot really - it could mean they won't come near people at all, are friendly but get spooked easily etc. like you mentioned, but I think it all comes down ultimately to the individual ducks and how you raise them.

    There are quite a few factors I think which can contribute:

    1. Number of ducks - If you have 1 duck I'd say it'll almost certainly love you, if you have two they will be really friendly (my two boys are like that), three quite friendly, four pretty friendly (like my four girls) and get less and less friendly the more you have unless you work on it.

    2. Quality time - The more time you spend either directly with your ducks or just around them, the more used to you they'll get and the more they will trust you and like you.

    3. Bribary - As will all animals (humans included!) a little bribary can go a long way. This could help them trust you and make them actively want to come up to you.

    4. Set-up/Living Arrangements - Having ducks in the house will give them more time to be around you and get used to you, so if just putting them out as soon as possible then it is possible that they won't be as friendly as if kept inside for a bit longer. We kept our boys and girls in the house for months, which is more than necessary, but they're probably really friendly because of it!

    5. Age - The younger the ducks are when you get them, the more time you'll be able to spend getting to know them and letting them get to know and trust you. If you buy adults birds, they are more likely to be nervous and not want to intereact with people, although it depends how they have been raised before buying.

    I wouldn't say rule out a breed because it is listed as Nervous, after all my six ducks are all Runners and are friendly [​IMG] If you're willing to put in the time and effort and be patient, it'll pay off in friendliness [​IMG] Hope that helps!
  4. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Quote:I have 3 runners and like above, spent a lot of time with them from the day they arrived. I consider mine quite friendly. 1 of the 3 does not like to be picked up at all, but she's one of the first to run over to me when she sees me. Doesn't mean the other 2 love it, but they aren't quite as bad about it as they are. I consider mine friendly.

    I think if you have all your kids spend time with the ducks each day as they are growing, you shouldn't have an issue.
    I just sat out on the porch with them and sat in front of their kennel with the door open (their brooder was our large wire dog kennel on the porch in August in the south) and hung out with them a few times a day and then would bring them in to run around in the bathroom before/after some swim time, so for an hour, I'd be on the floor with them running around/on me.
  5. KimM

    KimM Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 9, 2011
    Thanks all, I am much reassured. Spending more time getting to know/bond with the ducks will not be an issue around here, considering the amount of attention the chickens get :)We would be getting them as day-olds, so that will help too. Those videos are fantastic amiga- I really think I need runners now. I'll be showing them to the kids!

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