Q: How do you pick up a duck?
A: Ducks are particularly prone to injuries to their legs and wings, so whenever you attempt to pick one up, make sure that you move deliberately and slowly, preferably not over rocky terrain. Ideally, you can slowly back them into a corner in their run area. If you have to, you can gently stop them using their necks as a "catching handle"--without squeezing--and once you've slowed them down, use one of these techniques:
- Lightweight and Bantam Ducks - Hook the base of their wings together behind their back with your thumb holding one wing and fingers holding the other. Then place your other hand under their abdomen and gently lift.
- Small and Medium-Sized Ducks - Put one hand on each side of the bird, holding the wings in place with your thumbs, your hands circling around the body, and pick them up.
- Larger Ducks - Catch them gently by the neck or with one hand over each wing as described in #1, then slide your other hand under their breast, holding their legs with your thumb and fingers, and lift.
Once you've picked up your duck, talk to them gently and calmly and gently stroke their back to help them relax.
Do not pick them up using their neck or legs; doing so will likely cause injury! Once you've picked up the duck, cradle it in your arms with the head either upright or under one of your arms. Aim the back end to either your right or left, depending on which hand is supporting them, immobilize the legs with your bottom hand as needed, and hold their wings down with your top hand, kind-of like one would hold a football.
If you are trying to pick up a large male Muscovy, do not attempt to try #1 or #2; just grab one wing in each hand behind its back, hold on tight and watch out for those scratching claws! They are very strong!
Safely picking up a strong-willed Muscovy can be a challenge!