Originally Posted by johnfarr
Thank you for the thoughtful replies. Some more info: I'm in Toledo, OH. We get winters. We have had problems in the past with hawks and raccoons. As far as hawks, if the ducks take some of the heat off the chickens, I'm actually ok with that. Coons are another story, and I understand they would be vulnerable. There were some wild ducks that took up residence last year. There were originally 5 babies and a mama, then 4, then 3, then 2, then 1, then no mama. I don't know what got them.
After researching this more, one idea I had was to not keep the ducks through the winter. Just complete forget about raising them for eggs and go for meat ducks which we could butcher and eat in the fall. We seem to have more problems with the predators in the winter anyway, and limiting the length of time we have the ducks may decrease the likelihood that something besides me will eat them.
As far as the mess, from what I've read a good meat duck only takes a few months to reach maturity so we could hypothetically get them later in the spring which would allow us to keep them in the garage (instead of in the house) until they are big enough to put out. Do places sell ducklings late in the spring? We have bought our chicks from TSC in the past but I don't know how late in the year they continue to sell them.
Seems like it would be relatively easy, but I'm still not sure. Please let me know if I'm missing anything.
@Amiga- I love the idea of a food plot for wild ducks. What would be a good thing to plant for that?
There is probably a Soil and Water Conservation District in your county, and they or the state Department of Natural Resources likely have a Wildlife Specialist who can suggest appropriate plants to grow in a feed plot. The local feed store may even sell a wildlife plant mix. (c: Millet's probably a good choice, amaranth, those are probably pretty easy to grow there. Lots of people grow corn but really, I don't think that's necessarily the best or most interesting for the waterfowl. Buckwheat might be good, too, and the bees will love that. It goes to seed pretty quickly, within a couple of months.
Meyer Hatchery is in Ohio - they have always been helpful to me, maybe they can help you out with sourcing ducklings.