When should my runner ducklings be out and about?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by BrianPB, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. BrianPB

    BrianPB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2011
    South Central NY
    I have 4 runner ducklings that were hatched by a broody muscovy (Betty), and they are now about 3 weeks old. The problem is, I can't seem to coax Betty and her brood to leave the pen and go outside—in short, to get some exercise. Every morning when I change their water pan I issue (chase!) them out of the pen—out of the barn—to the outdoors. But after 10 minutes or so Betty wants to return. If the pen is closed she sits with the runner ducklings outside it, waiting to be let back in.

    At this point I'm thinking that the ducklings should be out getting some exercise and foraging more than they are. They seem very curious (as runner ducks usually are), but mom Betty would rather keep them indoors. Is this normal? Will they all eventually venture out when they're ready? (And, at what age might that be?)

    And one more question: So far these runner ducklings seem to think that they are scovies. They've shown little interest in our adult runners, and vice versa. At some point will the ducklings realize they're runners and start "hanging" with the adult runners?

    Any response/suggestions greatly appreciated!
    Brian
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Hi, I'm just going to make some guesses based on my own experience with my flock of runners.

    I suspect that they are sure they're muscovies, and that they're going to follow their mom's lead. At three weeks of age, I think they still need to feel her protection - so if she's a little overprotective, that's not all bad. As they grow, probably in another three weeks, they'll start becoming more independent, and venture out to develop relationships with the rest of the flock.

    Some of this I am basing on having been the "mom" for my runners. At three weeks, they became much more apprehensive and skittery, much less trusting. I think it is a good behavior for young waterfowl. They then grew out of it, and over time became much more confident and less skittery.

    In short, I'd give them a few more weeks before pushing them about it.

    My runners did not get outside all day most days until they were over eight weeks old.
     
  3. BrianPB

    BrianPB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2011
    South Central NY
    Thanks much, Amiga! That's really helpful. I won't push them, then.
     
  4. stargazingmommy

    stargazingmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 19, 2011
    Spokane
    My male runner at about 14 wks is still very skittish and runs from us. We got him and a Peking at about 2 wks old and pretty much hand raised them. The Peking is friendly and loves being held, D'artagnan runs away as soon as he sees us
     
  5. BrianPB

    BrianPB Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 16, 2011
    South Central NY
    The skittishness is something I'm used to. I've got 4 adult runners, and they're fairly skittish—they pretty much run away from all people and animals (they share the barn at night with 2 goats and 2 horses, and steer clear of them when they're in common areas), but I've always just assumed it was runners' nature to do so. I was more worried about the ducklings socializing with the other runners and getting outside rather than being kept in the pen by their "adoptive" scovie mom. The adult runners hang out all day in the yard foraging with (and without) the scovies and the bantam chickens/game birds. I was concerned that the ducklings weren't doing the same, but I think I'm just jumping the gun—sounds like they will in time.
     

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