I wait until a bit after dark before I put Lucky to bed. But any time I get home a little late, I dread coming home to a homicide. She never goes in after 8:30, but is that too late? When do you put them up for the night?
Mine have their own clock. They go into their duck house when it gets dark, and I mean almost completely dark. I have to go out with a flash light to close the door. I once came home late and they were in panic mode, because they were still in their free ranging run and could not get to the duck house from there. I opened the gate and they ran home as fast as they could.
Mostly a mater of training, when I was working they expected to be let out of their day pen at 5 to free range while I changed their pool water in the summer i would feed just before sunset and they knew the next step was nightly lockdown for their protection. In the winter the free range time was short as I hurried to change their water and feed them as the sun set but one thing didn't change, eat your fill and off to bed.
I put mine up between 5 and 6.. a couple times we have come home after dark and Daisy and stanley had gone into the night pen by themselves.. I pre fer to put them up before dark because raccoons etc. come out at dusk.. We are have them show up here around 10:00 on.. we are just a few blocks from the local lake.. Judy is learning to go to her pen.. DAisy and stanley still won't let her in the big night pen
Mine put themselves in for the night just before dark. With their new house, they were just camping out under the window on the deck, but last night I went out to push them in and they were already sitting in their hut waiting for me to tuck them in for the evening. They adjust as the daylight adjusts so far.
I put mine in right before dusk most nights. One time several years ago I went out right at dusk and saw this huge cat looking creature at the edge of the wooded path and I thought that's a weird looking cat and it's tail is HUGE. Turns out it was a fisher cat! Sheesh, if I'd gone out 2 minutes later it probably would have been in the middle of attacking the ducks and what a disaster THAT would have been.
Mine go in at dusk. They go and wait for us to close the gate. The pekin stands guard at the gate until we come tuck them in. We have solar lights and the ducks seem to go in when the lights turn on no matter what time that may be.
Dang, I must be a horrible duck mother! Mine NEVER go to bed. They used to go into the chicken coop with the chickens to their very own corner, but they started wanting to stay out later than the automatic coop door closed. So I kept an A-Frame coop open for them and closed it very late after they trundled into it.
Now they patrol the yard. They visit my land-lady at the "front house" on the property, and watch TV through her patio window until she turns it off. Then they come back home and check out the back yard, and the front yard, and they settle down in the tall grass by a solar lamp.
They're Cayugas, so they're quite the stealth ducks. I put them in the A-Frame a few times when I first realized they were not going there any more on their own, and they raised SUCH a ruckus! So now I let them be patrol ducks.