I finally had to call it quits with accepting ducklings. I was getting 2-4 calls or emails/day with people looking for a permanent home for their “quarantine pets.”
3 here, 5 there…it adds up! I’ve lost track of how many we have now and those babies are hard to count. I split them into smaller ducklings and almost adults. The almost adults can hack it with the big birds, regular feed and no heat lamps.
It’s funny because they seem to have attached to the duck who has been sitting on her nest in the coop.
They lay around her in a circle like she’s their queen mother. It would be fun if she finally hatched some babies and they all become one happy family. She could teach the almost-adults how to go to the pond, etc, while she teaches her own young.
In the meantime, though, I’ve been doing the best I can. The last two days I’ve herded them down to the pond. At first it was like herding cats. I shooshed them over to the chicken door and lifted them up so they could see how to go through the door and out.
Then I inched them along the fence line down to the pond. The first day it took an eternity to get down the hill. They were so hesitant.
Finally we got down to the water and they were freaked out by that too. I had my boots on so I waded into the water behind them to push them out further.
After a minute or so they relaxed and began to splash and play. They dipped their heads under, dug their bills down into the mud and preened their feathers.
As they got more into it, I quietly walked away.
They stayed down at the pond for maybe an hour then the next time I came out they were laying in the grass behind the coop. They figured out how to get back to where the food is. They just couldn’t figure out how to get inside.
So I herded them back around to the chicken door and lifted them up onto the ramp so they could go inside.
Ducks are very routine based so hopefully they’ll begin to learn to go in and out on their own fairly quickly if I keep repeating this same process day by day. Patience and regularity are key!
Then we’ll repeat it all again in a couple weeks when the next set of ducklings gets old enough…