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So I think we're adding Ducks to our Flock

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

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!  

post #2 of 4
I don't have a ton of experience and haven't had chickens, but you sound like you read a lot and have a good idea about what you're getting into (which is how I am).

Speaking purely to the duck side, the things I'd wish I'd known were how messy they are. I read and knew it, but there's no way to fully appreciate it until they are in your house. But 2 won't be a huge mess. Also, they have claws. Which is logical and i should have known that, but got scratched a lot in the beginning. But even if i could I would not change my decision. They are delightful creatures.

A kiddie pool is sufficient, but we empty ours and refill at least every other day. I have read you should get at least 3, so if something happens to one they are not alone, but 2 is fine. We lock ours up tight in an overengineered fort Knox at night because I'm paranoid about predators. We have a pair of hawks that live on our property and are constantly flying over, but have not had an issue yet. They supposedly won't hunt anything larger than they are, and so far we have found that to be the case.

I have researched other fowl and ruled out pretty much anything other than ducks, unless I do meat chickens. Ducks are a delight!
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much @Kangasox for the information!  I have read and heard that ducks are pretty messy.  I don't believe this will be a dealbreaker to my MIL and I'm prepared for it.  I think I'm prepared for it.  Lol.  I love watching my chickens and am excited about the prospect of having another species to watch.  Where did you get your ducks?  Is there a premier hatchery we should be ordering from?

post #4 of 4
I have Ancona, which are really wonderful but not sold my big hatcheries. I have ordered Welsh Harlequins and Cayugas from Metzer Farms and been happy both times. Easy to work with, good shipping, and nice ducks.
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