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Thread: Retrieving dogs and backyard ducks

  1. #1
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    Default Retrieving dogs and backyard ducks

    Is there a way to keep backyard ducks and retrieving dogs without conflict?

    I wouldn't mind keeping some ducks in my yard for eggs, etc., but I don't want to ruin my dog's prey drive or have my dog kill the ducks... I can't imagine this working, but maybe it has for someone...

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  3. #2
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    Duck pen ………………………..
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  4. #3
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    Back in the day before the neighbourhood had fences we had this American water spaniel. One day he disappeared from the back yard and returned a bit later with a nice big domestic duck in his mouth. Shortly the neighbor from down the road showed up and accused dad of sending the dog to steal his duck. Fortunately duck was alive and unharmed and returned to the owner. Wasn't long before fences started to go up.
    Time in the outdoors is never wasted

  5. #4
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    Let the dog know it's not acceptable. They can learn. My nut job bird dog is obsessed with feathered friends but he knows the chickens and pigeons are off limits in the yard even though we train with pigeons.
    "You don't own a cocker, you wear one"

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by finsfurfeathers View Post
    Back in the day before the neighbourhood had fences we had this American water spaniel. One day he disappeared from the back yard and returned a bit later with a nice big domestic duck in his mouth. Shortly the neighbor from down the road showed up and accused dad of sending the dog to steal his duck. Fortunately duck was alive and unharmed and returned to the owner. Wasn't long before fences started to go up.
    The same reason I cannot free range any birds, dogs are not fenced in and do not know boundaries.

  7. #6
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    Don't blame the dog if it doesn't know the boundaries, they have to be taught... or leashed.

    Story time. A number of years ago I was mowing my lawn, when I walked past a spruce with the old gas mower a Mallard then busted out from under it, my Boxer leapt into action and came racing down the yard to protect me. We found a nest with eggs under the Spruce, my dog was extremely interested in it. Not having any fencing material I drove some stakes into the ground then tied some string between the stakes... my "fence" was a piece of string. I walked my Boxer along the string and told him "no", and "leave it" (that being the most important command any dog needs to be taught). After that anytime I let my dog out, he would race to the "fence", lean in as much as he could, the Mallard would sit on her nest and look back. My Boxer could have simply stepped over the string; but he was taught, and understood his new boundary. The dog would lay on the grass beside the string, or on deck and not worry about the duck, I am sure that he had accepted/adopted the duck. After a week or so, a coon got into the nest one night, the hen cleaned up the destroyed eggs and stayed with the rest, the coon came back the next night, after the second visit the duck abandoned the nest. The coon came back for it's final visit to my yard on the third night.

    Can a dog and duck coexist? Yes; but can a retriever and duck? As you mention I would be concerned what it would do to the dog's training, can a dog be trained to leave a few specific ducks alone but at the same time retrieve all others. That would be putting his understanding of how to behave towards ducks into conflict. I think that the dog can be trained to understand that in your yard the ducks are "homefree"; but in the field the are free game.

  8. #7
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    With a few exceptions, it doesn't seem like anyone has dove into this too deeply. Because I'm a duck guy, I'd rather keep a few ducks over chickens, but I just can't imagine the birds standing much of chance after being trained so hard to track and retrieve birds.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by duckduckgoose View Post
    ….but I just can't imagine the birds standing much of chance after being trained so hard to track and retrieve birds.
    Exactly why I responded duck pen. As to size ….that would be dependent on the room you have available. Many HT / FT pro's maintain a duck pen to have birds at hand for training without the worry of a duck / dog issue.
    NMH GMH GMHR-V HRCH-UH Dakota Creek's Royal Navigator MH (AKC) (NAHRA 500 pt club)
    HRCH-UH MHR-I Dakota Creek's Royal Gem, HRCH-UH WR Dakota Creek's Wreaking Havoc SH
    Dakota Creek's Cute As A Bug WC

  10. #9
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    We have an 8' square duck pen which is up on 3' stilts. The floor is 1/2" hardware cloth. Three sides are puckboard with the 4th side made out of 1/2" hardware cloth. The raised pen keeps the ducks dry and clean. They get fresh water in a deep pan each day in their pen. It will hold about 6 or 8 practice ducks for the summer. If you want eggs, you may want to separate them into pairs and house each pair separately. I raised ducks for many years and found that the hens laid well, but would not necessarily brood their own eggs unless they were REALLY happy with their accommodations. I ended up just collecting eggs and putting them in an incubator. Ducks are very messy and in the winter they need housing which is above freezing so they have access to bathing water daily. Their pen ends up quite soupy by spring. I really like ducks, but got sick of overwintering them.

  11. #10
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    Oops, forgot to note that we have had many pointers and retrievers over the years, and they all learned to ignore the duck pen.

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