A lot of people ask us how we got the girls to be so affectionate. I think for any animal, the key is showing them that they are part of the family, and that you love and respect them. Just like with human children, they need to be shown affection, feel that they are safe, and that you will be there for them when they need you most. That includes when they don't feel well, and if they are ever scared. We have treated them like our kids since the day we adopted them. As babies our attention was on making sure they were safe, comfortable, and well taken care of. This included snuggles, play time, bath time, a clean enclosure, and trips outside to explore. Just like human kids. As they grew up they grew more independent, but still obviously depended on us for safety and entertainment and always stayed fairly close by.
Most ducks are kept indoors until they are fully feathered and can brave the cooler weather by themselves, that's usually around 8 weeks old. Dusty and Otter were waiting for their Dad to finish building a fence and their custom duck house before they could move outside. So they lived in the house (our kitchen) until they were 16 weeks old. That's an extra two months of very very intimate interaction on a daily basis. They listened to music with me while I cooked, quacked us awake every morning, and went to sleep when we did. They were very tied into our world and I think this has shaped them as adult ducks, even after they moved outside into their own house.
The first few nights they slept outside in their house, we set up our tent in the yard so we could make sure they were ok, not too scared, and that no raccoons were going to torment them. They did great, no issues at all and their happy days as independent young ladies were off to a great start. Now that they live outside full-time they are much more independent but still have a great deal of affection for us. We spend a few hours with them while they forage everyday, let them come inside for a house visit every now and then and share our fruits and veggies with them.
They have turned into very sweet, animated, unique personalities. We respect them for who they are and they can sense that we would never harm them as we don't eat other animals or animal products. If they don't feel well we do everything we can to help them feel better, and I think that this respect and love is what keeps them open to us as their family. Everyday they show us what it means to live with joy in your heart, in return we keep them safe and warm and ensure they are as happy as they can be. This is sweetness and affection at it's best.
If you are interested in starting or developing a bond of love with a duck in your life, we recommend spending a lot of time with them. Especially quiet time, where they can just be themselves and do their duck things with you nearby. This is how they will trust you. You can share their favorite healthy snacks with them. You can tell them you love them and you will never harm them. You can show them practical love by making sure they have fresh food, fresh water, clean housing and pool, and medical attention should they need it. They do not ask for much just basic care, safety, and a loving family to call their own. If you'd like to go a step further, try skipping the animal products in your diet for a month and see if that affects how your animals relate to you. It's a small step that only brings powerful results, for our families, our bodies and our planet. Dusty and Otter send you all a lot of love and thank you for being a part of their journey on this earth.
Dusty and Otter Duck