Why are my ducklings so afraid of me?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by GothChick, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. GothChick

    GothChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    451
    3
    129
    Sep 5, 2010
    Wisconsin
    I have 4 ducklings that hatched on Thanksgiving. I was there when they hatched and even had to help 1 of them out of it's shell. I let them dry off in the incubator and then spent a lot of time holding them and they would follow me around and eat out of my hand. I moved them to the brooder and now when I go in by them they all freak out and run away from me. They are terrified of me and just run away. I'm confused because I thought ducks imprinted and I was the only one with them from the time they hatched. Any advice on why they changed so fast and why they didn't seem to imprint on me?
     
  2. dumb_cluck

    dumb_cluck Chillin' With My Peeps

    923
    4
    131
    Mar 26, 2010
    Upstate NY
    Too young. Keep "imprinting".....it takes time.... [​IMG]
     
  3. duckyfromoz

    duckyfromoz Quackaholic

    5,583
    26
    241
    Jan 11, 2010
    Australia
    When you walk up to the brooder you look huge and scarey to them. Instincts may even make them think you are a predator- ( think bird of pray flying high in the air - swooping down to them ) Thy approaching from lower. Even get on your hands and knees and crawl the last few steps to them. Alternatively if you can raise up the brooder to waist hight it would have the same effect. They will learn you arent going to hurt them- and soon be jumping around your hands every time you replace a food or water dish.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

    22,982
    1,952
    471
    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    duckyfromoz helped me when my little runners went berserk. They seem to instinctively fear things way above their heads. My adult runners still walk away nervously when I set up or remove the cover over their day pen. I try to do it when they are not in there.

    But coming in low seemed to help quite a bit. Also, I found that my runners HATED feeling cornered, so I just let them out of the brooder (still in a room) when I needed to work in there. Having the ability to move to a safe distance while I cleaned up really helped.

    Giving them treats as part of the routine also helped.
     
  5. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    Talking. Don't forget to talk when you enter the room or get near them. They have to associate the voice. I even do that when I walk to the duck house so they know who is coming. Puree up peas and serve them in a tiny bowl. In about 4 days you can hold defrosted peas in your hand and have them take it out of it. You will be amazed how fast they catch on and loose the fear. They naturally imprint onto each other first. After that you have to work with them. Teach them a routine to put them at ease. I took mine daily into the bath tub for water splashing time. They had swimming lessons from day 2 in warm water. Just sit next to the tub and talk to them. Hold your finger in and have them nibble on it. Again peas will help. The more time you spend in the beginning the easier it will be in the long run. BTW will get another panic bloody murder phase when they hit 6-8 weeks. Again it will pass, just work with them. Salad greens (no spinach) will be your best friend besides the peas.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by