Will my CRAZY ducks settle down?

Eggcellent Adventure

In the Brooder
8 Years
Mar 27, 2011

We've had numerous chickens as backyard pets/eggs over the years and added ducks this year. We kept the ducklings in the house until they were feathered out. My kids held them, hand fed them, the ducklings imprinted. We let them out to the coop and run (it was just ducklings at this point since no more chickens right now). The first couple weeks, things were ok. They went into the coop at night and my daughter could still hand feed them, etc.

Now they are down right crazy at 3 months old and in the run/coop. They spaz out when you go near them, won't come up to kids, etc. won't go into the coop so kids have to chase them, scoop them up and put them in. Maybe something spooked them and they are crazy acting now or is this a "teenage" duck thing that they will get over?

I remember my chickens went through a phase kind of like this and then when they started to lay it was like a magical transformation -- everyone was totally settled down. Will the ducks be the same? Or are ducks just more skittish than chickens (maybe just my ducks are?)

I have them trapped in the coop for this week, since they refuse to go in at night trying to reorient them to it again. But looking for experience from other people -- when they start laying will they settle down?


We have 2 swedish and 1 buff (2 girls and a boy)
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8 Years
Apr 2, 2014
I have owned ducks for a year and a half. I have found (and also read to confirm) ducks love routine. So, they know in the morning, I open and let them out of their duck house, and I open their pen doors so they can free range during the day (bad weather, I let them just pursue around their duck pen with no free ranging). Then at dusk, I use a sing song tone (don't laugh, it's true and has worked for me).

I say the same thing, with the same sing song tone, "Alright, Duckie Ducks, Time for nighty-night." I say it two or three times, and even if they are still out in the field they know it's bedtime and they march into the pen. As they come into the pen, I always say, "Good duckies. Mommy's good duckies." And somehow I think they know.

It's our routine.

Now sometimes, like a little kid, they stall for time before walking into duck house by grabbing one last bit of food or taking a swig of water from one of the bowls in their pen. But I say the sing song of "Nighty-night" and wave my arms out and they all like good ducks march into their duck house.

The gal I rely on for all things for duck advice, LaCrystol (name on Backyard Chickens), who seriously knows everything about ducks, has had discussions with me about how crazy it is that we hand raise these cute guys but when they get older despite us never doing anything but love on them, they act as we are coming at them with a kitchen cleaver. LOL I think it is just duck genetics for survival.

I do know ducks HATE being picked up when they are not babies anymore and so I am surprised your children can catch them to put them in. :) Not sure this helps, but try doing a routine and see if after a week they start getting it and aren't so much trouble putting to bed :)

PS Not sure what your set-up is, but I always keep in their duck house, a bowl of water and in the winter I set it on a water warmer. They don't have access to their food in their house at night but since ducks need water to swallow and not choke to death, I never let my ducks be without water--just in case they find a bug to eat in their house :) All food and also additional water bowls in their pen when I let them out of duck house in morning.

Good luck, or should I say Good duck. :)


7 Years
May 19, 2014
Georgetown, TX
Sounds like your are in those teenage years so to speak. Mine were very, very loud and were more stand offish between 12-20 weeks. Once everyone started to lay things got better. Sounds like you are doing it right and it's just a phase. Mine still don't like to be picked up but my kids still do and catch them with minimal effort. However if you have peas they will come in the house to get them and believe that you are the best thing on earth.


May 17, 2015
I think you're making the right decision to keep them in their pen for the time being. That will help them understand where "home" is. All the points raised in prior comments are valid, but I would add that you should try not to chase them too much but instead use treats / feed as your friend. Try to get them to associate you with food... it helps. Also, I'd like to reiterate the importance of routines. Ducks hate change.

Are they in with the chickens or are the three ducks by themselves? Do they have a coop that is large enough and with enough ventilation? Do they seem to spaz out only when your family / people approach them or all the time?
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Eggcellent Adventure

In the Brooder
8 Years
Mar 27, 2011
Thanks for the replies! I am going to try to get them into a routine again. I've had them in the coop for a week (and it's a big Amish coop -huge for only 3 ducks and no chickens) will try to post pic. I have food and a big water tray out there in the coop and also will keep trying to get them to hand feed again. Hoping its a teenage phase for them:)! Still too young to lay. I opened up the coop now for 4 days during the day and they refuse to leave it. First I couldn't get them in, now can't get them out -- go figure! I'm just waiting patiently for them to settle in and will keep working on routine and bribes! There is a coop ramp, but I don't think that's the problem because they were able to do it just fine for a long time before they started acting skittish. I do wonder if something might have spooked them when this all started. We do live in the country and have our share of foxes, raccoons, etc. Fingers crossed that they settle down. I love ducks -- so cute to watch, quieter than chickens, etc. but I am finding this aspect of them more challenging.

Thanks again!

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