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First-time duck flock in NJ

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm completely new to backyard poultry, but this spring I'd like to take the jump and start with a small flock (5-ish) of ducks for egg-laying only. I've read the duck-related articles here, and I'm working my way through Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. Wondering if any other duck folks in NY/NJ/PA have recommendations on breeds that do well in our area (I'm located in Hunterdon County, NJ) and are good for newbies (easy temperament, etc.). I'd love to find someone selling ducklings that I can pick up and avoid shipping, but if you have hatcheries you recommend I'm open to suggestions. Thanks!!

post #2 of 7
Hi and welcome to BYC- great to have you join us. Maybe try searching your state thread- more likely to get some joy there I hope.

Good luck
Ct
Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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post #3 of 7

Depends on how many eggs you want and how much noise you can stand. I'm biased because I have muscovies (in LI, NY) after having pekins and cayugas and chickens and I love the muscovies much more as far as ease of care compared to the mallard derivatives, but mostly I love how quiet they are. The pekins and cayugas were set an acre back from my house in their run, but I could still hear them every morning calling for me to feed them through CLOSED windows. My neighbors probably hated me when I had them, even though we're far from each other. Muscovies make pretty much no noise at all. The pekins and cayugas also ate SO MUCH FEED, even if I let them out to forage. If I let the muscovies out, they won't touch the feed at all--they're happy getting most of their diet from the wild things. I find them cleaner too in terms that they really don't bother splashing water around at all even though they have a large bucket as their waterer. The pekins and cayugas made a mess and their run was always sopping wet. I just had them start laying eggs and they taste just like chicken eggs, but jumbo sized. They're supposed to lay 200 a year. The mallard derivatives like the golden 300 layers can lay up to 300 or more eggs a year.

 

But I have to clip the muscovy wings once/twice a year because they can fly. Catching them and getting thrashed by their sharp talons is not fun (which I learned once and only once), so I really just end up pressing them into the ground once I caught them and clip while I've "mounted" them, so it's not so bad.

 

Anyway, I find that the pekins had more personality and were more bumbling awkward, so it made them cute and hilarious. My muscovies are just "sweet" but as far as having funny personalities, can't really say they do (but I got them as adults so didn't raise them from ducklings.) But the peace and quiet and the stress of bothering my neighbors more than makes up for it. We used to hide in the house and duck around the kitchen because if those dratted things saw us moving in the house or, god forbid, turn on a light, they'd start setting up a quacking storm. It look a long time for me and my husband to stop ducking around the kitchen window and start using our kitchen light. Must have been PTSD.

post #4 of 7

I agree with most everything jofanx said about Muscovies, they are quiet. The males wheeze and the females coo. They are neater than mallard types. They don't care for the water other than to preen once or twice a day. They are extremely friendly and curious. They are like dogs in the way they wag their tails. They don't lay as well as production birds, but their overall demeanor is better (in my opinion) than any other bird and I love all of my birds. I don't have to clip all of mine wings, just the girls who are preferred by the drakes. They will fly off during the day to avoid the stress of being mated, once they start flying off I do clip their wings. 


Mallard derived females are loud. The only way to limit the noise is to constantly interact with them. Some never let go of that quack no matter how friendly they are. The quietest andcalmest out of the ones I've had was the Rouen. I've had Khakis, Rouens, Swedish, Runners and Welsh Harlequins. 

 

Khaki Campbell's produce well and are decent enough birds, but you will have to put in a lot of work to get them to calm down. A lot of interaction and movement around them. Muscovies don't require that. You can only interact with them once a day to feed them and they will still great you and wag their tails. 

 

As for feed, ducklings cost more to raise than chickens, but only to raise. After they grow out (especially the muscovies) they don't require much at all. As long as they have grass and a place to drill they are perfectly content eating bugs and trimming the grass. 

post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by meredith0521 View Post
 

I'm completely new to backyard poultry, but this spring I'd like to take the jump and start with a small flock (5-ish) of ducks for egg-laying only. I've read the duck-related articles here, and I'm working my way through Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks. Wondering if any other duck folks in NY/NJ/PA have recommendations on breeds that do well in our area (I'm located in Hunterdon County, NJ) and are good for newbies (easy temperament, etc.). I'd love to find someone selling ducklings that I can pick up and avoid shipping, but if you have hatcheries you recommend I'm open to suggestions. Thanks!!


Welcome to BYC! I am from New Jersey too. Be sure to visit the New Jersey thread and say hi and ask any questions you may have there as well (Just type New Jersey in the site search bar). I do not have ducks, but as the above posters mentioned, muscovies are an excellent breed and I know people who raise and love them. I'm sure there are breeders around NJ that raise them (though I don't know any). I'm sure most duck breeds would do fine in NJ, but I'm sure other members who raise ducks could help you more than me.

4 rabbits and 5 hens
My hens: Dipsy the Polish, Raven the Silkie, Tulip and Opal, the Easter Egger bantam buddies, and Chicklette the Naked Neck
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4 rabbits and 5 hens
My hens: Dipsy the Polish, Raven the Silkie, Tulip and Opal, the Easter Egger bantam buddies, and Chicklette the Naked Neck
Reply
post #6 of 7

Welcome to BYC @meredith0521    you'll find your states thread here if you haven't already

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/f/26/where-am-i-where-are-you

 Western N.C ~ 17 chickens= EE's, Game, variety of bantams,1Light Brahma, 2 Black Australorps . 5 Muscovy ducks, 8 Indian Runners and 2 Buff Orpington Ducks, 1 Embden gander,1 Toulouse goose , 3 mini Dachshunds, 2 mixed breed, pond goldfish,  and a wonderful Husband who makes it all possible..

 

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God ~C.S.Lewis~

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 Western N.C ~ 17 chickens= EE's, Game, variety of bantams,1Light Brahma, 2 Black Australorps . 5 Muscovy ducks, 8 Indian Runners and 2 Buff Orpington Ducks, 1 Embden gander,1 Toulouse goose , 3 mini Dachshunds, 2 mixed breed, pond goldfish,  and a wonderful Husband who makes it all possible..

 

The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God ~C.S.Lewis~

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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks, all! I'll head over to the state thread and pick up the conversation there.
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