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What is the oldest ducks can imprint on you?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by TMarie, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. TMarie

    TMarie Songster

    Feb 28, 2013
    The duckling we got was already a week old and she was sick, so we took her back to the farm not even 24hrs later. Theyre giving her medicine and hopefully shell get better. Shes in a great home now, but if she gets better, i'd like to try to have her imprint on us. I'm just concerned shell be too old.
    Thanks in advance :)

  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop
    I believe the window for imprinting in ducks and geese is 24-48 hours old, so she's too old to imprint. Sorry :(
  3. DenverDucky

    DenverDucky Songster

    Mar 28, 2012
    Soleil was 5 days old when I first got her and she imprinted to me away. How long will Halo be at the farm? Is it a medicine you can find on your own? I would talk to your friends and let them know your intent.
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchi Wan Kenobi Premium Member

    Mar 27, 2012
    My Coop

    That's really interesting. When I was researching it awhile ago everything I read said 24-48 hours. I wonder if they really can usually imprint as late as Soleil did, or if it was an uncommon occurrence? Either way, goes to show that even with all the studies they do on this, we still don't know everything :)
  5. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    A duckling does not need to imprint on a human in order to become a pet duck. It is highly unlikely that any person is going to have the time to devote to a single duckling for the next 10-15 years. Yes, that is how long they will live. Personally, I think that raising single ducklngs is basically cruel. Nobody knows what the future will bring and nobody can say for sure that in 5 years or even 1 year they will be in the exact same living situation. Ducks need companionship and they do best with other ducks as that companion since the ducks will be together all the time.

    In order to get a people friendly duckling, time needs to be spent with it. Talking quietly, holding and handling. Breed often plays a large role in whether or not a duck is going to be seen as friendly by a person. Some breeds are just naturally more nervous than others. Just because there are 2 ducks does not mean that they will dislike people and not bond with their owners. It just gives them a companion to play with, sleep with and act like a duck with.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Crowing Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009
    They can bond with you at any age but she will be too old for imprinting on you especially now that she's seeing other people.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  7. AlohaDuck

    AlohaDuck In the Brooder

    May 29, 2014
    Contrary to all the studies on imprinting I will tell you from real experience of my ducks...

    My very first Peking was 1 week old when I got her. In fact, she was with her friend also 1 week old (Black Swede). They imprinted on me just fine.

    All my specialty ducks that I received by mail from the hatchery were all born on Monday and received on Thursday. That's obviously more than 24 hours...they all imprinted on me just fine.

    Therefore, all the studies that you read are inconclusive and should not be taken too heavily. The fact of the matter is that we humans don't know everything. Especially when it comes to animals in general...we do not know them 100%.

    The best thing to do in order to ensure that your ducklings imprint on you is to hatch them yourself. Talk to them while they are still in their shell and around that last days of the incubation period they will peep back.

    Regardless of what age you receive your duck, just spend as much time as you can with it. Earn its trust and be patient.
    2 people like this.

  8. ibarbidahl

    ibarbidahl Songster

    Aug 22, 2012
    Odessa, FL
    I would have to say that it depends entirely on the duckling.

    I raised 4 drakes this spring, and 2 hens this summer and none of them would imprint on me. The youngest was 1 week old when we got them. No holds barred. They would take food from me, but they were not my feathered friends. They were ducks that knew me. I have to herd them, and needed to from the get go.

    This month I am raising another... She was exactly 1 week old when I got her, she had lots of little duckling friends when I picked her up...she imprinted on me anyway. There is no herding this little critter. She follows us everywhere we go.
    Meet Baby.

    She's now also imprinted on my 2 girls, but will not hang out with or get near my husband or son. We spend about 8 hours a day with her and while it seems like a lot in a few months she will likely want to go hang out with either the drakes or the hens and be a duck. When that happens I'm not standing in the way. While I want a pet duck, I also want her to be her ducky self. I'm guessing that she'll probably bounce back and forth from humans to flock for a while.

    So from 24 hours to a week at least. I think beyond about 10 days that it's extremely difficult to get them to truly imprint on you.
  9. Jane Doe

    Jane Doe In the Brooder

    Aug 18, 2013
    I have a duckling that I got right after she hatched she imprinted on me. She follows me everywhere, climbs up on my lap, and sits on me feet if I stand still.My little hen thinks I'm her mom and she cries for me when I leave. She is will leave her ducky friends the first chance she gets in favor of people.

    I also have several ducks that I got when they were 3 weeks old. They also follow me around, but they are not imprinted on me. They follow me because they want predator protection while walking through the yard. The way they interact with me is totally different from my imprinted duck. They are friendly and they have bonded with me, but they are duck imprinted.They seem to see me as part of the flock and a great food source, but they know they are ducks and I am not.

    So my story is that even though it might be too late for a duck to imprint on you doesn't mean it won't be your friend. It just that the way they see you will be a little different. :D
    Raenh likes this.
  10. DuckLuver99

    DuckLuver99 Hatching

    Sep 8, 2015
    Thank you! .. Ok I am so glad I found this sight ~ I need some advise.. Ive been wanting to raise a pet Duck for sometime ~ but as you have stated, I have thought it cruel to not have a possible exit strategy for the duck should I .. ehhhum die... let alone all the other thing that can go wrong in life.. So ive been convinced that a pair of ducks is the way to go for sure.. I have been wondering though about imprinting and how important it is. So I've weighed my options, getting and hatching 2 eggs imprinting them to me and each other or as I live in a community with ducks running wild, were in litters of ducklings are born each month ~ meaning opportunities for orphaned ducklings happen all the time(THERES A MAJOR QUESTION COMING ~ PLZ KEEP READING NEED ADVISE).. Well it would seem mother nature made up my mind for me as I came across a mother with a compound wing brake ~ there is nothing I could or can do accept save her 2 of her 4 ducklings ~ a surrogate mother already got the other 2 as I went back to check on her today ~ shes dead. These Ducklings are the Yello and Black varity, highly domesticated bread. OK all that said I am estimating they are about 10 to 14 days old, as they are about 12 inch's long from bill to tail. My question was going to be is there any way they still can still imprint or change there imprint ~ some are saying yes but its rare and hard to accomplish? I see signs (Ive had them now for 4 days) after allot of intense handling feeding love and care that some "imprinted characteristics" are there.. That said though, I really see it when they are separated and rejoined ~ when separated they get very uncomfortable and SOS Churp.. There SOS churps change of course when they are re-united to a Gay 'A man im so glad to see you!! are you okay, let me check you out here, ok, how do I look?' type of chipping.. Luv it.. So They are imprinted on each other... What I did do though that's seemed to help quickly create a powerful connection (as in the beginning they were terrified of me) between me and the ducklings ~ was to separate them and rejoin them after 10 minutes or so but on my bare chest.. and talk very sweetly to them while doing so each time.. After a day of doing this about a dozen times they were sleeping on my neck by mid night.. I stopped that on day 2.. and after day 3 they give out a few dont leave me churps when I put them up.. :) So can anyone tell me whats going on here? Is it possible there is some imprinting going on here with them and me even after all this time? & OTHERWISE PLEASE TELL ME HOW IM DOING. Are these little guys good candidates for the ducks I always wanted even though I didnt hatch them? I WANT THE VERY BEST FOR THESE LITTLE GUYS. AWAITING YOUR RESPONSE'S.


    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015

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