My Pekin ducks won't get on the pond! They love water of course, but only the large plastic tub that I fill for them in the morning. They splash and wash and preen, usually twice a day but especially in the morning after I've let them out of their cage. They're now 4 1/2 months old and I'm finally seeing some behavior changes that make me think they're feeling more confident and mature. For instance, they're now foraging at the back of my yard and they never did that before. From the age of 1 to 3 months, they would stay hidden unless I was out with them. So, for those first few months (April, May, June) I spent hours sitting outside with them so they'd go foraging, but they never really left my side. So, I'd walk them around the yard, offering them different varieties of plants and digging worms for them. But in July, when they were just turning 4 mo., it became too hot for me to stay out for long, but luckily they were beginning to come out of hiding and venture further into the yard on their one. Their food and water bowls are under a shade tree and they would hang out there a lot, but they still wouldn't venture out far, so I started making my dog, who is usually an indoor dog, stay out with the ducks to keep an eye on them for me. She and the ducks have a trusting relationship so I knew she'd keep a good watch on them. My backyard is fenced but I was worried about cats getting them. We also have hawks and coyotes in the area. But soon it was even too hot for my dog to stay out. I left more containers (with low sides) of water for the ducks to get into when they got too hot. Now at 4 1/2 mo., the ducks seem more confident and I'm seeing them at the back of the yard foraging for bugs.
They definitely feel more self assured. The other day I was petting Gertrude while she was bathing and she pinched me so hard (bite me) that it bruised my arm. She's normally very tame, but I think she was showing just how mature she now is and I was interfering with her bath time. She and Evie can both flap their wing spans and it's pretty amazing to see how big they are. They can only get a few inches off the ground when they try to fly, but it is impressive to see. They are so beautiful with their all white feathers. A little girl was visiting one day and Gertrude, the more dominate female, made an aggressive move of running up on the girl. The little girl didn't realize what was happening, but I immediately grabbed Gertrude and held her back so she couldn't do it again. Luckily she didn't grab the little girl, or it would have traumatized her for sure. So, I'm thinking they both feel much more capable of taking care of themselves, at least with little kids. The ducks never do that to my kids (age 10 and 7). They allow us to pick them up and pet them all the time. They just didn't know this little girl.