getting free range ducks into a barn . .
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 predatorsÃ¯Â¿Â½we 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 morningÃ¯Â¿Â½around the houseÃ¯Â¿Â½maybe Ã¯Â¿Â½ 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 barnÃ¯Â¿Â½24X30, on a concrete slab. My husband is framing in the insideÃ¯Â¿Â½a 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 hoursÃ¯Â¿Â½check 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!