Introducing a new duck to your flock

4 Apr

Introducing a new duck to your flock

Recently, we acquired a new duck which we wanted to live with the rest of our ducks. Here we recount the way we did it with minimal pain to any of the ducks. You might find it useful if you are considering introducing a new duck to your flock.

Like many humans, ducks are a little bit wary of change and can be territorial, so when it comes to introducing a new duck to your flock, it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s likely to be a bit of animosity – to begin with, at least.

We have introduced new ducks to our flock on two occasions recently and the last time we did so, we learnt a bit from the first occasion. On both occasions a bit of patience and a little intervention helped create a positive outcome.

introducing a new duck to your flock

Our new Indian Runner duck

The last duck that we introduced was a black runner duck. We inherited her from a farm where she had been living with chickens, following her losing her mate.

Duck and chickens can get on together very well, but the farmer thought the duck would be happier sharing space with other ducks.

We went to collect her one afternoon armed with a big cardboard box containing straw. We think it is best to introduce a new duck towards the end of the day so that there is less time for fighting but still enough time for the existing flock to make their new member’s acquaintance.

Once home, we put the new duck in an enclosed area within sight of the flock but with no way for fighting to occur. We left them like this for a couple of hours, in which time, they saw each other, quacked and went up to each other.

The new duck was very active exploring the new surroundings and the existing ducks were not particularly happy to see the ‘invader’.

A little before sunset, we opened the enclosure to let them all mingle and this is when the fun began. Much quacking, chasing and pulling of feathers then ensued, which while not pleasant to watch, didn’t seem to be too dangerous for either party.

The new black duck was then put in a duck house on her own for the night.

Day two.

The new duck was let out first in the morning, partly so she could get some food before being chased by the others, partly to let her get used the area and partly so the flock would see her as belonging there when they came out. One of the existing ducks in particular was keen to make sure the new duck understood the pecking order but the runner duck managed to steer clear in the most part.

The new duck again was allowed to sleep in her own hut for the second night and was let out first again on day three.

During the third day, the black runner duck seemed fairly happy but was still a little bit harassed by one of the other ducks.

Ducks seem to be very placid in a dark environment, so for the third night all the ducks were closed in together. A little flapping was heard which quickly subsided.

On letting them out on day four, it was noticeable that there was less harassing going on. The new duck was still a bit wary, but she was much calmer, spent more time foraging near to the other ducks and started going into the pool for a good wash.

By day five, the new duck was seen to be washing in the pool at the same time as the other ducks and there was no pecking taking place.

Day six was probably the day when it’s correct to say that the new duck was fully integrated.

So if you are introducing new ducks to your flock, be ready to keep an eye on how it goes for up to a week and if pecking gets very bad, you might need to intervene but hopefully they will all become accepting of each other.


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