My mother-in-law and I began our poultry raising experience last summer with chickens. I raised all the babies and gave the first 7 to my mother-in-law (herein referred to as MIL) when they were ready to live outdoors in their coop, then raised the next batch of babies to keep in my yard. We have learned a lot and have really come to enjoy our feathered children!
My MIL has always wanted ducks and now is looking to order some babies from a hatchery. I've done some basic research and understand raising duck babies to be quite similar to chicken babies through the brooder stage. I also understand that medicated feed is a bad idea for ducklings as they can easily overdose and that the feed must be fortified with ample niacin for healthy growth of waterfowl. I hear that there must be ample water available for ducks while they eat in order to keep them from choking. And I understand that they suffer the same, or perhaps an increased risk of drowning if their water dish is too deep, especially since ducks naturally gravitate towards water and soaked down can pull them under water and drown them.
I'm interested in hearing about the experiences some of you have had while raising your ducklings. What is the number one thing you wish you had known before raising your ducks? How does it compare to raising chickens? Do you house your ducks separately from your chickens? Are predators as much of a concern for ducks as they are for chickens? If your flock is mixed, are there extra precautions you should take to inhibit disease? Is a kiddie pool really enough water for a pair of ducks? Is a pair of ducks enough? If you were adding additional poultry to your current flock, would it be ducks? Or would you opt instead for a pair of geese or perhaps some turkey?
I believe the arrival of ducks are inevitable, but I want to be as prepared as possible! Thanks in advance for any bits of knowledge you may have for me!