Im new to ducks and not sure what to do with them at night. We just got a few full grown ones (not sure of the breed, Muscovies?) and I can't talk them into going into their house at night. We have a two acrepond so there is no chasing them or hurding them they just swim out into the pond.
Does everyone put theirs up at night? Is it ok to just them roam? Any suggestions on how?
A pretty common design in the permaculture literature is to set up an island, floating if necessary, with the shelter/nestbox, etc. on it. A floating raft might be able to be pulled in with a rope to gather eggs, etc. Hopefully you aren't in alligator country though!
yeah i like the idea of a floating duck house. not sure how i would teach them to go into it though. I guess i could start it near shore and teach them to go into it then move it farther out. right now they just sleep on the pond shore. which unfortunately the owls seem to like this idea too.
I stressed about this LOTS last winter as the temperatures dropped. They did the same as yours so I just had to give up and leave them to their own devices. The pond area is fenced though not fox or rat proof. The Muscovies would rather fly out of the fenced area and perch on a roof or under a shrub. The other ducks sleep on the banks but go into the water if alarmed at something. They have islands in the pond but rarely use them. We have Muscovies, Pekins and Indian Runners. Good luck, I think ducks teach one to be chilled out!!!
Yeah, you want to lock them up at night or they will get eaten.
When you first get new birds, lock them in their coop for several days with food and water, so they learn where home coop is
with ducks (and geese) they take naps, you know how chickens go to sleep and sleep for the night? not ducks, they will be awake on and off during the night. So, you will have to work with them to get into the routine of going in at night- but start with a lock in
One thing I've noticed is that our livestock have a routine, and once established, pretty much stick to it. For example (bear with me, point will be made eventually), morning routine is 1. giving the dogs a biscuit to get them out of the way, then 2. putting out scratch for the chickens to keep them busy, then 3. feeding a bowl of cut greens to the geese to keep them calm and out of the way, then 4. going to the duck pen and giving them greens to keep them busy while I turn off the electric wiring and roll open the fencing. THEN I get to do the regular morning chores - gathering eggs, dog feeding, feeder refilling, water replenishing, cleaning, etc. Do any of these out of order, and the critters get confused and chaos reigns. At dusk, the chickens naturally go to their roost, the ducks (usually) waddle into their night pen (or I round them up), and the geese & livestock guardian dogs hang out together close to both coop & pen.
With that lead-in, what I'm wondering you could do is perhaps bribe the fuzzy butts to the shelter area at night for awhile, long enough for them to associate "dusk" with a "go to the shelter" routine. Do they like scratch? Or greens? (I get inexpensive packs of Romaine lettuce heads at Costco). Once you get them out of the water and on shore, it may be easier to herd them into a close-by shelter. Or if the shelter is close enough, you can put the bribe in the shelter, let them waddle in, and close the door after them.
Hope you find a workable scenario soon - I know what it's like to worry about predators...
My ducks are all about routine too. They are easier to get to go up at night than my chickens are. I built a hoop house for them out of cattle panels, covered in hardware cloth and put a dog house in it. They get fed in there, and their water is in there. They lived solely inside the hoop house for a few weeks until it became home, and then we started ranging them. When they range, we do not feed them in the mornings -- only at night when it's time to go up. Nearing supper time, they will follow us around the yard, wanting to have their food put in their house.