When to Free Range my new ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by KHoward, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. KHoward

    KHoward Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,

    I got new (new to me) 26 week old ducks two weeks ago, and they have been in a 8x16 pen during that time. I would like to let them free range with my chickens, but don't know how long I should keep them in the pen for them to know it as "Home". They came from a large farm and free ranged there, and are shy with humans.

    Can anyone offer some guidelines on how long I should wait?

    Thank you!
     
  2. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Are there any existing ducks or chickens there to show them the ropes? if no, give it more time and i would practice herding with them so they know to move to an area you request.

    I acquired a new female back in Oct, i kept her quarantined for 3wks, then i let her loose with the flock, they all free range she had been used to a large pen, i had already worked with her on herding while under her quarantine, she is now fully with the flock and knows to return and herd into the barn at night, of coarse having other ducks to copy helps loads.

    Best of luck! I should also mention at first i would start bringing them in just in case they don't return to the penned area on their own, all mine come back by dusk but newbies can get confused and may wander off to take shelter elsewhere.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  3. KHoward

    KHoward Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you!

    When I first got the ducks I put them in with the chickens for the first few days, then I moved them into an adjoining pen which is only separated by poultry wire so they can still socialize.
    In the morning I open the chicken pen and prop the gate so they can come and go as they please. At dusk they let themselves back in and I close the pen.

    The ducks move in a "unit" and seem to respond well to me moving them within the confines of the pen and they get a little excited but don't freak out.

    Do you think two weeks is "enough" time? I suppose I won't know until I open the gate, but I would like to hedge my bet...

    ~Kristen
     
  4. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    As i said i left my new duck 3 now i realize i had a slightly different reason, new stock young bird actually from SQ lines but still, i was nervous about letting her loose she was full flight and i didn't clip her(before anybody reads this a MAJOR risky move, not something i would generally recommend) the possibility of her taking off was real, i have chickens who free range with this flock too, that is good to hear they have someone to copy. I'd still lean more towards 3wks just to be sure but depends, it's not like something magically happens at that timeframe lol

    Can you grab a few people and watch them for awhile, just in case they scatter like rats, usually fear keeps them close to home, even weaned ducklings here take awhile before they actually step out past the penned area and explore on their own without mama's guidance but you can have bold ones mixed in, i have a few birds here who happily go about singularly often.
     
  5. KHoward

    KHoward Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great, thanks for the feedback!
     
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    Good luck! hope all goes well.
     
  7. jebber

    jebber Out Of The Brooder

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    one suggestion - everytime you give food or treats: make a specific sound (I use a rattle - gravel in a pill bottle), it shouldn't take long to teach them to come to the sound. Mine come running from wherever they are to the rattle. Maybe even rattle only in the pen. Putting them in the pen at the same time every day might help. Mine love a routine.

    HTH
     
  8. KHoward

    KHoward Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi everyone,

    I wanted to report back that I let the ducks out for an hour at a time for one week, and corralling them a little when they went some place they weren't supposed to. I do make a call sound when I give them treats as well. That was almost two months ago and after the first week they got the idea.

    Thanks for the tips!

    By the way, I love having ducks as much as having chickens and would highly recommend it!
     
  9. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Good news thanks for update.
     

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