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Herding ducks and geese

Linda Sefcik

Joined: Feb 17, 2013
Posts: 72
Location: Central Oklahoma
There aren't many videos around about how to herd ducks.
The few I have found use a herding stick to tap the ducks
from behind, and to keep them in a group.

I was thinking... isn't this backwards?
Wouldn't the proper way to get ducks from one area to another be...
to walk in front of them... and to slightly wag the stick down low...
as if saying, "come this way, come this way" -- ?

Maybe I've been reading too much about animal enslavement.

If we were really the masters around this joint
wouldn't we be able to figure out how to herd and control our animals
without FORCE ?? without INTIMIDATION ?? without CRUELTY ??

It seems to me that domesticated animals just need to know
what it is that is expected of them. So... we should not be so confusing to them.
We can train our animals... and they will get joy from being part of your joy.
We just have to train ourselves... to know how to train THEM.

"The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time."
--- by Terry Tempest Williams, naturalist
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 7375
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate

How works

What is a Mother Tree ?
Linda Sefcik

Joined: Feb 17, 2013
Posts: 72
Location: Central Oklahoma
That is a beautiful thing... a beautiful thing.
Alder Burns

Joined: Feb 25, 2012
Posts: 1197
Location: northern California
The easy way to move any animal is to have some yummy food around that they're really hooked on....for most livestock this will be grain. Give them a little every day or few to let them know what it's about, shake it in a bucket, etc. Then you just get out your bucket with some in there and shake it and they will follow you wherever you want them to go. Anything else is a pain in the butt.....

Alder Burns (adiantum)
Kitty Hudson

Joined: Feb 12, 2013
Posts: 33
Location: SW KY--out in the sticks in zone 6.
LOL, when I saw the title I was going to say that herding is best done from in front--with a bucket of munchies--but Burra beat me to it! Love that those are muscovies...they're a laid back breed of duck, and very food oriented.

Living the good life out with the wildlife
Iain Adams

Joined: Mar 30, 2012
Posts: 24
Our ducks and geese come sprinting and honking when I break out the corn scratch. If there are stragglers, our english shepherd pup is more than happy to tell them where they need to go
Matthew Farnsworth

Joined: Jul 11, 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Northern Michigan
+1 to the ES pup, invaluable homestead partner.
Landon Sunrich

Joined: Jul 09, 2013
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
Okay so meaning no offense - but since you bring it up - yes I think you have been reading a little bit to much about animal enslavement. I've worked with alot of poultry over the last five years - let me use my current situation to explain

so I have about a dozen birds (chickens geese and a duck) on a little less the an acre. They free range - no fences - and they more or less stick around. Generally when I want to move them anywhere (say they are hanging out to near the road) I just walk in a 'loop' and get myself behind them - which is to say the way I DON'T want them to go - a flanking manuever - you understand? and then just walk towards them 'steering' them the way I want them to go making gentle shoeing motions with my hands - it works - Now my flock loves to hang out and comes when I call - so yes you can get you're birds to do that.

But here's the deal. Birds are not rational and the world is a scary place. If you are trying to move your flock (and I've dealt with 3 or 4 dozen birds at a time) and there is some condition that makes them not want to go (a dog - the confinement of a crate so they can be moved) there's no way you're going to get them to go against their instincts without triggering an even more visceral response.


Using two bambo (or similar) rods you can extend your reach and steer a flock virtually anywhere. With two or three people doing you can wrangle any number in virtually any condition (flash storms anyone? yeah = I've done that and this method works). Just make shoeing and waving motions to tell the bird which way not to go. Slow sweeps and quick snaps. Lean into your actions with your entire body if its necessary to move the flock. Do it calmly but purposefully and without hesitation. The flock moves as a flock - you can steer them anywhere.

Like I said, my birds trust me - they will follow me - but I would never rely on trust alone to manage them. Hope that helps

Freakin' hippies and Squares, since 1986
Tokunbo Popoola

Joined: Mar 19, 2013
Posts: 197
Location: Sacramento, CA
Linda Sefcik wrote:enslavement.

If we were really the masters around this joint
wouldn't we be able to figure out how to herd and control our animals
without FORCE ?? without INTIMIDATION ?? without CRUELTY ??

it's easier then that.. our little ducks have eaten all the snails.. in the area's they are in.. so we setup a snail farm (basically couple of logs we wet down).. and a couple of worms.. in a box. when we shake the box. the snails make a clack clack clack sounds... the ducks go batcrazy for snails and follow we drop the snails in the wake and they move to the area we want

find the food that makes them go crazy.. they follow you anywhere .. mind you they can get very annoying if they dont get said food but no system is perfect
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree

Joined: Apr 03, 2010
Posts: 7375
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
Just saw this and thought it belonged here...

jack spirko

Joined: Dec 28, 2010
Posts: 138
Like most things "it depends".

Geese are easy, MOST of the time. Our Toluse can be moved anywhere, we may have to push them at first to get momentum, then you walk though the gaggle and call "goose, goose, goose" and they pretty much follow anywhere you want to take them. Stop where you want them and give them time to get interested in something like lush grass and sneak off, they will stay in that area for us for hours with no fences or anything.

Right up until our Girl we call #5 had babies! The gaggle who are pretty mean to strangers even turned on me. I had to be paternal to regain control (in goose management you be paternal by picking up and hold aggressive geese like a football, yes I am serious, by like a football I mean cradled in the crook of one arm). They were a-holes for two weeks, jerks for two more, now the goslings are in the ugly ducking phase and they are mostly back to normal.

I have actually trained all our birds with goodies to respond to their own name, goose goose goose, chick chick chick, duck duck duck, etc. This way if I have my chickens and geese free ranging in my west pasture I can go to the gate and say "goose goose goose" the gaggle will come form the furthermost areas, right though the gate and as long as the chicks are not right at the gate no worries of them getting out, they are NOT ALLOWED on the main property without containment, too much damage to allow uncontrolled chicks. But the ducks and geese I let roam, they are soft on the land. I just need to fence one garden pond they keep pooping in.

Ducks? Well we are working on that, we have to push them places but they always get yummies when they get to the point we want them at. We are trying to get them to associate being moved with "good things" but good things are not always treats from hand. It might be a fresh stock tank of cool water on a hot day, a fresh sythed area teaming with lush low grass and easy to snap up hoppers.

So far if 1 is super easy and 5 is impossible, I would rate leading geese a 1 if started out right and if they don't have babies under wing. Ducks are a 3! They do exactly what you want at times but if they have a place they want to go stuck in their little heads, you can offer all the treats you want, they eat what they want then 180 and hall feathered ass!

I will say this now keeping chicks, ducks and geese. I prefer ducks and geese. Dorothy wants to sell eggs, if we can build a duck egg market in time, there may be few to any chickens here long term. I don't dislike chicks mind you, ducks are just more fun and do a LOT less damage on the land. Sure you can harness chicken power with scratching but that seems to be best done with tractoring/paddocking and can be done on a 3 acre property quite well with two or three meat cycles per year.

Jack Spirko,
The Survival Podcast
subject: Herding ducks and geese