What made you decide to get this breed?
After combing the net for a couple months on the different breeds of ducks, I settled on the SA because it was:
1. Known for good egg production
2. Large Heavyweight duck with good flavored meat
3. Calm temperament
4. Was able to go in on a ducklings group buy from Holderread Farms with other several other individuals
5. Able to visit a nearby farm that had these ducks and get good feedback on the breed
Do you own them for fun? Breeding? Some other purpose?
I own them primarily for their eggs. I own four hens and now wish I had six.
What are your favorite characteristics about this breed?
Produce large eggs on a consistent basis. For my four hens, I typically get 3 eggs per day. Flavor is mild and creamy. Great to eat and bake with.
Post some pics of your birds; male/female, chicks, eggs, etc!
Will update this post with pics
Some additional observations:
1. Egg production for 4 hens = about 3 eggs per day
2. Ducks started egg laying @ 25 weeks maturity
3. Ducks are friendly and only seem to quack excessively when they are greeting humans
4. Four ducks eat roughly 80lbs of poultry feed/month (Southern States brand)
5. Ducks lay eggs within the coop rather than in the yard
Some additional observations regarding the yard design:
1. Ducks are doing well with using 5 gallon buckets for water/dunking their heads. They also tend to make a huge mess of it. I usually note half the water gone each night with a lot of sand in the bucket. Presumably they are jumping in and out of the bucket. Bucket contents must be emptied, cleaned out and re-filled each day. I have placed a garden hose/nozzle right next to the door to make this process easy. This will be more problematic in the winter due to freeze issues.
2. Watering cups have not worked out as well as I had planned. The ducks tend to clog it up easily when using it because of all the sand in the yard. After three months, all the cups are no longer working.
3. Sand is working well. Only issue is that ducks tend to spill a lot of water out near the buckets and also defecate primarily in that area. After two weeks, the sand in that area can no longer filter water/waste. After a month the top layer of the sand near the buckets has too much waste in it and must be removed and replenished (I add it to my garden as fertilizer). I also intend to purchase a tiller so that I can un-pack the sand that has occurred over time in the yard. I used construction sand so it should easily become unpacked once I re-till it.
4. Feeding bin is working well. Ducks tend to waste some of the feed when eating as there is some spillage around the bucket but it is not too bad. Also, some of the feed near the entrance of the feeding tubes gets wet during bad rainstorms and rain soaked feed needs to be removed.
Some additional observations regarding the coop design:
1. Ducks have taken to the coop quickly and will enter it on their own at twilight each night. They have no issues with going up or down the ramp. Coop is manually shut each night and re-opened each morning.
2. Ducks like to lay in the coop (near the door) which makes it easy to find and collect eggs each day.
3. Coop is very easy to clean out and refill. Soiled hay is added to my garden as fertilizer cover.
4. Coop needs to be cleaned out and restocked with fresh hay every 3-4 weeks. The ventilation holes do let some of the rain into the coop. If the rain is particularly bad, the hay may get overly wet and need replacement. I have gone back and increased the PVC roof overhang which should reduce the amount of water to gets into the coop during bad rain storms.
5. Added poultry light that turns on @ 5am - 8am and 5pm - 8pm giving the ducks 15 hours of light per day.
6. Ducks seem very comfortable in the coop and become immediately quiet when entering. Coop should stay comfortable in the winter since it was insulated under the floorboard and above the ceiling.
With your permission I would love to share this on our states thread. Many folks only reason for not keeping ducks is "the mess" and you really have that covered here!