getting free range ducks into a barn . .

claraserena(4)November 24, 2010

We got 6 Pekin call ducks this summer, all from the same hatch. The only duck we had had before them was an orphaned wood duck who bonded with some young chicks and would go with them into the coop at night and perch with them. She would fly about 300 feet from the house then fly back.

We have a small coop. My plan was to have the ducks spend the night in the coop. All our chickens and ducks are free-range, dawn to dusk. House, garden and coop are in a large (about 3 acre) open area, tall grass, woods and a river beyond that. We have not, knock on wood, had a problem with predators�we have motion lights and, again, not much cover.

We started the ducks in a fenced area with kiddie pool. I decided not to clip their wings. It just seemed cruel to take that away from them. I was also thinking that it would at least give them a chance against a predator. They have been sleeping in one of three kiddie pools in the yard. They fly for 5-10 minutes or so in the morning�around the house�maybe � mile away. Then come back and spend the day in the yard or the pool. I have been negligent in getting them into some kind of shelter at night. And now winter ( in northeast Wisconsin) is here. I have a heating element in one pool.

We just built a small barn�24X30, on a concrete slab. My husband is framing in the inside�a large room for the chickens and I hope the ducks. I need some ideas on how to attract the ducks into the barn. My first thought is to put a pool (take away the other two pools) in the barn, food, nice hay on the floor, and open the large barn door to lure them in. Then, I would close the door and leave them in there 12-24 hours�check on them, of course, to get them used to being inside. I would rather attract them in than catch them and put them in. How long will it take for them to see this barn as "home"? They would still be free range during the day. I just want them in at night. Their favorite things to do are swim, fly, and slurp water from puddles. Would this be the time to clip their wings? That is something I do not want to do if possible. Any ideas on this, and esp. on how to get them to "come in at night," are appreciated!

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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I do not clip wings either. We asked my hubbys dad(an old timey farmer who had raised every animal) and did what he said.DO not feed them till you want them in the pen.
If they have never been in the pen you may need to lure them there with watermelon or tomatoes or corn or whatever TREAT they like. We have a bamboo duck stick ,NOT for beating but used like a shepherd would. We also find that coming behind them with airplane arms is great for herding them .The first few times get the help of some other animal lover to help in the steering process.
We did this and now if we DONT get them put away they come LOOKING for us!
Ours go in around supper time to the caged in area where they get watch me pour fresh( egg laying )food in a HUGE flower saucer and add FRESH water to another. Fresh straw is also something they LOVE and come running to! The straw goes in the duck house but we do not lock them into the house til WE are ready for bed or sometime after dark The fenced area has a chicken wire ceiling and is a giant dog kennel. This gives them time to eat .They get at LEAST two hours of eating and drinking time. We LOCK up the duck house for extra protection at night and FIRST thing in the morning let them out. Do not delay as they can get noisy!
Good luck and get Quacking!

    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 3:47PM
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I have surely jinxed myself with my "no problem with predators" statement. Since last post, we have lost 3 ducks. I found blood/feathers of one. The others I don't know but don't expect they are alive.
So we have 3 girls. The barn is not yet ready for occupancy (elec and water going in this week). We have done everything to lure them into spending nights on our front stoop (inches from the front door)--a pool with heating element, food, water and 3 bales of straw (this gives our house some unique curb appeal!). MOst nights they stay on there but tonight they are in the larger pool that thawed today.
I will try your suggestions Tanya--but as I said, they and chickens are free range so I hope they ARE hungry if we feed them only late in the day.
I love these ducks and don't want anything to happen to them.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 8:55PM
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