How do I round up ducks?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Okay,I'm new at this; and this may sound stupid BUT now that I've got my ducklings raised (I have only 3 muscovies...well, you have to start somewhere)and they live on and around our pond now, how the heck do I get them back up to their old pen that has a shelter? My husband says, "they're just ducks, don't worry about them". I mean it's going to get cold soon and I worry something will get them in the middle of the night. I feed them daily and they do wait for me. But if I try to herd them or tempt them with food they head for the water. Thanks, people. Robin in Kansas
-- Robin (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 24, 2001
can you give them shelter near their pond? I have a few ducks too- love them, but they are hard to herd. Impossible in fact-unless you have a farmcollie nad my daughter. she seems to be the only one able to catch them or the gander.
i aksed a friend who has ducks and she said that really all they need is shelter where they can get out of the weather-and they really are pretty good about fending for themselves.
-- sarah (email@example.com), September 24, 2001.
Maybe construct a duck tractor or use a wire dog kennel or some such, then accustom them to ONLY eating in the enclosure. Put the feed in there and leave. When they are used to going in there to eat, then start hanging around while they eat. If they're calm with you around, try walking up to the pen and see if they bolt out, but don't try to close it yet. If they're calm, you may just be able to close them in there, but if not, you might try rigging a string (maybe fishing line, less obvious and alarming) to pull the door closed from a distance.
-- Joy F [in So. Wisconsin] (CatFlunky@excite.com), September 24, 2001.
Forgot to mention, I agree that they are in danger. We had hawks, owls, raccoons after our ducks. If they sat out on the snow, they could freeze down and be unable to go into their house at night. It usually was a case of their body heat melting the snow slightly, which then refroze, trapping their feathers so they couldn't move. We "unstuck" them by CAREFULLY pouring very hot water around them until they were able to move.
-- Joy F [in So. Wisconsin] (CatFlunky@excite.com), September 24, 2001.
One thing you might try is fencing the pond. Just as a temporary measure until you can catch them. Or even just use a couple of cattle or hog panels (16' heavy wire type that you can get at most farm stores) to keep the ducks from getting to the pond while you get behind them to herd them. I agree ducks are hard to herd, and Muscovies are real stubborn minded in my experience. They are also the only ducks I've ever had that could fight off an owl, which is pretty darned good! But that's not something to bet on. It really pays to train your ducks to come inside at night when they are young. Most of the time mine are already inside at night and all I have to do is shut the door on them. If it's not too important to get them in immediately, you could simply wait for the pond surface to freeze so the water isn't there to attract them anymore, then they should go inside quite easily. I haven't been much help, have I? :)
-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 24, 2001.
I raise 'covies, and they are very hardy birds. They are actually tree roosting ducks, but if you don't want them to do that, then you do need some sort of shelfter for them, or at least a fenced area. Mine free range with my other ducks in my back yard. Since we have dogs, I don't worry as much about anything getting them. The only night predators we have in the bird form are owls, and the 'covies are too big for them to take.
I recommend dog kennels, or runs. They are easy to put up, moveable, and inexpensive. You can put a permanent roof on top of them too.
-- Wendy Antes (email@example.com), September 24, 2001.
Thanks, everybody, for the suggestions. I guess I'll be dragging their house down to the pond and then put up their pen in front of it. I sure am fond of them. Each one has such a different personality. One is almost a lap duck...but not the other two! Robin in Kansas
-- Robin (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 24, 2001.
Our ducks never go in a pen or shed even in the winter. They stay on the pond and keep a swimming hole open in all but the coldest weather. When it freezes over, they all sit on the spot where the hole was and thaw it out again. We tried keeping them penned for awhile, but the predator losses were much heavier when we did. Most predators do not want to take a swim in cold water to chase a duck.
But to round them up, all you have to do is start leaving grain where they will get it, calling them first every time you do, and then leaving. After a while you can call and they will come running! Then move the feeding area to wherever it is you want them to stay and close the gate.
-- Rebekah (email@example.com), September 24, 2001.
Hi, the vary first thing you want to do is post this question on The Poultry Connection General Waterfowl Forum. There are many experts on 'covies there and ducks in general. Then I would suggest you start feeding them something they really love(I use sunflower seeds, but ducks differ and especially 'covies, they are not true ducks but jungle fowl from South America)and only in the evening. If they have a favorite duck chow they love feed them that too. Feed them right at the pond every day. then start feeding them closer and closer to their overnight pen and pretty quick, feed them in it. close the door. Let them out to forage the next morning, bring them in and feed them every night. If you want eggs, usually(not always)ducks lay in the early AM so don't let them out until 9AM or so and you will get most of the eggs without having to look for them. This never fails and I have to watch out for the wild mallards here as they want to come into the overnight pen and have dinner too! LOL good Luck
-- Little Quacker (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 24, 2001.
I'm not sure how big your pond is, but this is what I do and it works for me. Get a pocketful of small stones and go down to the pond. Start throwing the stones into the water behind the ducks and as they keep moving toward shore and the land keep tossing another one behind them. They will head out, I suppose thinking something is in the water behind them. Than as they get out on land run between the water and them and herd them to their house with your arms out or a long stick or good dog. Afetr several days of doing this, you should only need one or two stones to get them out. And always have a little food in your pen area and they will associate you with good things to eat. Now I can go out and just bang on the feed pail and they come running into the pen. Good luck. Kate
-- Kate henderson (email@example.com), September 25, 2001.
When I used to live on a homestead in North Dakota I had 64 ducklings in the spring. One day in July, they disappeared (I think they went exploring down river). In October, the 30 that survived their excursion into the wild return one Sunday afternoon. I rounded them up with a 12-gauge and put them in my freezer.
-- Steve in So. WI (Alpine1@prodigy.net), September 25, 2001.
You know, Steve, I was just noticing how all the responses were from "duck women" and then there's your response. My ducks are way too dependent on me to galavant off somewhere. Well, anyway, how did they taste?
-- Robin (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 25, 2001.
Seen the pictures from Vietnam or China where a child is moving a "herd" of ducks along by driving them, with a long (bamboo?) pole with a scrap of cloth on the end in each hand? That "flag" helps the ducks see there's something there, and that the whole "something" moves when and where the herder wants it to, to extend their arms to a span of maybe five or six yards across. Well, it's an interesting idea - once you've got the ducks out of the pond (might even help to get them out of a small pond), and you've got yourself and your poles between them and where they wanted to be, and got them moving towards where you want them to be.
-- Don Armstrong (email@example.com), September 25, 2001.
I used to work on a petting farm and it was my job to round up the ducks each fall. We had a pond that was not in actually in the petting zoo area, but was down by the entrance where people could picnic and feed the ducks. The ducks were fed all summer, but were not actively handled and were not used to being penned in any way. Once it started getting cold outside, people would stop feeding the ducks and we'd have to get them in. The year that I started, the farm opened a store in an old barn by the pond. Before they opened the store, they used to feed the ducks in the barn and then just shut them in when it got cold. The year I started we had to find another way. We tried feeding them in an enclosure only, but there was still enough food around at that time of year that we could never get all the ducks in the enclosure at once. A few would go in at a time, but if we tried to catch a few at a time, they would get wise quickly and stop going in at all. Finally I figured out that if we fed them in an open area away from the pond for a couple weeks, three people could then go down to the pond, feed the ducks up on the grass away from the pond, then slowly but surely herd the ducks up the hill into a barn that was not in sight of the pond. Admittedly, the most difficult ducks to do this with were the muscovies and the runners, since they were such good fliers. When all else failed, I would do the feeding at about dusk, then keep them away from the pond until after dark, then herd or catch them in the dark. I even caught a canada goose that way (yes, we had a permit for him).
-- Sheryl in ME (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 25, 2001.
Wait until dark and herd them where you want them to go with a flashlight. I get mine to go into their shelter that way when they won't do it in daylight. Of course, if they're retreating to the water every time, you may need hip boots to do the job. When we erected our fence over the weekend for the chickens and ducks, we changed the shelter door the ducks come and go through. It now opens into a fenced yard. We had to scare them out onto the "playground" and then wait until dark to scare them back in with the flashlight. A couple of nights of that, and they are now doing it on their own, and not a moment too soon since some of the neighboring unleashed town dogs decided to come to our place for a visit. We got out the pistol to encourage them to leave. Think we may have nicked one, the other got away, but these are the dogs that killed our farm cats last winter, so I'm not too sorry.
-- Claudia Glass (email@example.com), September 26, 2001.