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Adding ducks to our flock!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So, we have decided to add a couple or 3 female ducks to our flock.

I have been researching different breeds and have narrowed our choices down to 6.

 

Ancona

Appleyard

Buff

Golden Cascade

Saxony

Swedish

 

Would ya'll mind giving me pros/cons of these. Even though I've researched them, I'd like info from people with hands on experience.

 

Can I house them in a modified old dog kennel? I don't have room in the chicken coop so it's either that or build another (small) coop.

I've also read that ducklings need extra niacin until they are about 10 weeks old. What does everyone feed them to insure they get that?

 

Thanks!!

post #2 of 9

What are you looking to get out of the ducks? Do you want lots of eggs? Are they mostly for pets? Etc.

 

If the dog kennel is large enough and provides protection from weather and predators it should work.

 

I added brewers yeast to my ducks feed to give them the extra niacin. At first I had them on chick starter plus brewers yeast but changed to an all flock feed because one was showing signs of niacin deficiency. They all seemed to do better on the all flock.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I want them for eggs and pets.

 

The dog kennel is a VariKennel 500 (39"L x 26"W x 30"H) that we are going to modify with hardware cloth for security. It will be inside the run.

I don't have a problem with building a smaller coop for them but thought utilizing one of the many kennels I have could be a viable option.


Edited by DLC Eskies - 2/25/16 at 6:07pm
post #4 of 9

Dog kennels with hardware cloth will work.  Please consider placing the dog kennel inside another covered, fenced area for their protection. never underestimate a hungry desperate predator.

 

I don't have experience with any of those duck breeds so I can't comment on those.

 

I feed mine brewers yeast with added niacin.I forget the brand name but I got it from amazon. It was in a red foil bag and about a couple pounds  size-wise. 

 

I'm the only duck keeper in my town. Everyone else has chickens, pigeons or game birds so the local feed store only stocks chicken stuff.

 

I ended up feeding game bird starter because it was the only non-medicated feed.  I mixed it with Quaker style rolled oats  to  help reduce the protein percentage. Game bird starter is  around 24% protein!  I offered  free choice greens,  finely chopped/pureed veggies, brewers yeast with niacin & probiotics and I didn't have any  problems with angelwing.

 

Once they were a few weeks old I  moved them over to soy free  grower  food from scratch & peck.  They would not and still will not eat the TSC brands  dumor, purina etc.  took my a little while to finally find that they would happily eat the  soy free grower food.

post #5 of 9

Your kennel is a bit on the small side for three ducks. You'll only have about 2.3 sq ft per bird. If you are not housing them in the kennel for long periods of time this might be okay. However, most of the ducks on your list are on the bigger side so it would probably be best to consider constructing something bigger. Most people will tell you that the minimum recommended space is 4 sq ft per bird. I also believe i read somewhere to make it at least 3 ft tall.

 

All the breeds on your list are know for being docile so they should all make for good pets. Keep in mind that their friendliness and temperament will also depend on their upbringing. Ducks also have individual personalities so even if you get a duck from a breed know for being calm it might not be. The Ancona, Golden Cascade, and Silver Appleyard are the highest in terms of egg production. The Swedish is definitely at the lowest end with less than 150 eggs a year.

 

Don't know what you've considered but you could always get a mixed flock. Pick your three favorite or find a hatchery that sells different breeds and get one of each. If they are brooded together they will not have a problem bonding. They are all pretty close in weight too so it shouldn't be a problem when they are grown.

 

Whatever you end up getting, don't forget to share pictures of your ducklings. None of us here can ever get enough cute duckling pictures. :D

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks!

 

Using the kennel is no longer an option. I found the top on the garage floor this morning with a big hole in it. It slid off where I had set it and hit the corner of a metal filing cabinet.

 

So I guess I will be building a small coop. I'm thinking 4'L x 4'W x 4'H. That should give 3 ducks enough room.

 

Can I have it raised up a foot and have a ramp, like my chicken coop, or does it need to be on the ground?

post #7 of 9

That sounds like a good size. My coop is three feet off the ground. The ducks don't like going up the ramp but they can. One foot would be just fine. I have a ramp they can use to get into the kiddie pool that they use without trouble that I think would be about the same. Just make the ramp as long and as wide as you can.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

I ordered our ducklings last night. We have a hatch/ship date of March 28.

 

I got 1 from my list - Blue Swedish

1 from my daughters list - Rouen

And 1 from my DH's list - Cayuga

 

 

My DH and I built the duck house over the weekend. The only things left to do is attach the ramp and shutters, seal the joints, and paint/waterproof it.

 

How long should I keep our new babies in their brooder?

I'll be using the ducks house temporarily for baby chicks while I integrate them with the rest of the flock and the ducklings are still in the house.

 

Also, where is the best place to order brewer's yeast? 

post #9 of 9

That sounds like a great mix. I'd like to get a Cayuga in the future.

 

The amount of time they spend inside will depend on weather and how fast they feather out. If they are feathered out fully they can go outside whenever because they can regulate their body temperature. Mine were outside by week 6 but only because I ran into problems getting the coop finished. They would have gone out at 4 weeks if it had been done. You can start taking them outside for short trips right away if it is warm enough.

 

I got my brewers yeast at a health food store, kind of like Whole Foods. Not sure were to order it online.

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