I'm thinking about adding Muscovy Ducks to our farm. After walking around our property for a bit, my thoughts are to put them in the backyard of the farmhouse. (The farmhouse is not our residence but is used as a guest house and also where I shower after working with animals). The backyard has a chain link fence (6 ft high) and is quite large (50x55). There is an old swingset in the backyard ( similar to this - http://www.buydepot.net/skyfort-ii-cedar-swing-set-play-set-with-slide/ ) except the swings and slide have been removed. I was thinking of using the structure to build a night-time enclosure. I plan to use a baby pool (rocked in) for water. If I situate it in a certain corner, it would be very easy to hose out and clean (we have outdoor spigots for hot and cold water). My thoughts were to let it drain (we're slightly uphill, so it would drain down) through a hose or out to the garden.
I had thought to start with a dozen ducks. How many could I keep without it being overcrowded? (I don't plan on having a bunch, but I want to know limits just in case). I have found with the goats and chickens that the bigger the yard, the less smelly. It's also easier to clean as I can clean a section at a time rather than the whole yard at once. So, I want plenty of space.
I would like to create a short run (maybe three feet) to connect their pen to my goat yards. I'm hoping that the Muscovies can help with insects that we see during the summer. We have Nigerian dwarf goats. The run would allow Muscovies out, but not allow the goats into the Muscovy yard. The goats are a bit messy with feed, so the Muscovies would probably have access to spilled feed. Other than messy water buckets needing to be changed, is there any problem with the ducks and goats being together?
I also want to move an injured chicken into the Muscovy yard. The chicken (named Trixie by my husband) has a leg that she drags around. She doesn't move fast and gets along quite well with the goats. She would have a separate nesting area, but would share the same yards (Muscovy and goat). Any problems with this?
My husband refuses to let me put them inside the farmhouse for brooding. Can I use a cold brooder system for them or would it still be too cold? Our daytime temps are upper 70's/low 80's and night-time temps high 50's/low 60's. I have week-old chickens brooding here at the house in one of our sheds. Currently we use nothing during the day and one heat lamp at night. (I can move the ducks to the same shed but I wanted to start out where I had plenty of space to clean them and I can't hose out that particular shed).
Thanks so much!