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When can I move ducklings into duck pen?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by RangerMI6, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. RangerMI6

    RangerMI6 New Egg

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    May 29, 2010
    Since we live in the country and already have several kinds of pets, I had a wild idea this summer to hatch some ducks. Sort of an experiment with the kids. My husband humored my whims and built an amazing duck pen out of our old deck lumber. We have one white female runner, and one jumbo pekin drake that were hatched together in early July. They get along perfectly. Since we only had 2, we just hatched out 4 more "heritage" breeds last week. I have no idea what they are at this point, but I am wondering when I can put them in the pen with the older ducks. I know they need artificial heat for several more weeks, but I was more worried about the safety issue. The ducklings have been living in my classroom (6th graders) all week, getting plenty of human attention. Today when I brought them home for the weekend, I let them run around outside with the 2 adult ducks. The drake pekin is a BIG boy. Bigger than pekins I've seen at the state fair. After feigning disinterest for a while, he suddenly mowed them over like bowling pins, but I quickly scooped them up. Will he ever accept them? Do I have to wait until they are completely full grown before putting them in there? They will never be as big as him. My best guess is that they may be Swedish ducks and one Cayuga. Can I put a barrier between them in the pen (it's about 15' long by 8' wide) and let them get used to each other? I was surprised at how territorial he was. Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. newbiechickenowner

    newbiechickenowner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 28, 2009
    Georgia, VT
    I have found that when mixing my crew together, it really needs to be done when they are getting close to the same size (I know your pekin will always be bigger)...I would wait until the new crew is almost full size (another 2 or 3 weeks) before putting them together and then watch closely. they will not get along swingingly [​IMG] at first, but, it will happen. they are much better than chickens. They will shun them or keep them away for awhile, but, eventually, they will all accept eachother. I had two big batches, two weeks apart and wanted to integrate them....the 2-3 week older ducks were just much bigger. To answer the partitioin part, I found this very helpful. I put them side by side and they had their own house, but could see eachother and hear eachother, etc, for a couple of weeks. Then, I did the switcheroo.... about 4 out of 15 had to be moved to eachothers section. So, there were 4 new in each group. They were kept separate from the group and very upset and wanted back with there old group for about a week. I was so upset. I thought it would be a mess forever....however, time ran its course and in a week...they were all just fine. They just need to be a good size to handle the "bullying" that will happen initially. If the pekin can still "bowl them over" then they are not big enough yet. They can get squished easily and they can get damaged legs very easily that young. Good luck. It will work out soon....just a few more weeks.
     
  3. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    The ducklings can't fend for themselves. You should wait until they are 12 weeks old before merging with the adult ducks. There will be some pecking and biting going on, but that is normal. Perhaps you can build a temporary divider, so then can grow up seeing each other.
     

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