So we've had our 4 KC hens for a little over a month. They have a house and a fairly spacious (3x4 meter) run with sunken bathtub pond and also a little hutch. I shoo them out in the morning and shut the house, otherwise they would stay inside all day. The run is fenced with a 4 foot high chicken wire fence. They are about 20 wks old, and we get one egg per day from them. A friend has spare drakes, so we wanted one for possible duckling-making and also to teach our girls how to forage a bit better! Friend brought a drake over today - a 9 month old boy who has always free-ranged in the day and been shut in a house at night -, we put him in and it seemed ok, friend thought that the set-up looked good. I did ask, oh. he's not going to be off down the river is he? There is a river over a bank about 15 meters from the run, can't be seen from the run. I went out to check after half an hour, they looked good all waddling around together. Went out half an hour after that, and mr drake is strolling around outside the run. I tried to get around him to shoo him towards it, no luck. Got a bucket of grain, no interest. Then he took off, flew over my head and about for 10-15 feet, landed, waddled off towards the river and that was the last we saw of him. I checked all afternoon but no further sign. The river goes to a reservoir. There's a duck breeder up the road, she said they've had drakes fly off the the reservoir before.
My friend - raised ducks for years - was very surprised, he had no idea this one could fly so high or so far, he had thought that the pen would be fine or, worst case, even if he could get out he would be too interested in the girls to want to leave. But apparently no. He said he'll give us another one and we'll clip wings and keep him shut in the house with the girls for a while to get him used to it.
I feel so stupid to lose a drake after like 2 hours. but the experienced guy said it would be ok!
Is it just a matter of keeping them confined until he knows 'home' better, or should I be looking at putting in a higher fence or covering the top of the run (both being additional expenses i could do without right now!)
please help the woman with the worst duck luck, thank you!
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