Thank you, that was really helpful. :)
How messy/appropriate are ducks? - Page 2
Ducks can be smelly if you don't keep on top of cleaning.
I live in the south and built my duck house to be hosed out daily. There have been only a few days in almost 6 years I couldn't hose due to freezing weather/frozen hose, so daily hosing probably won't work so well in Chicago.
a few things lead to duck stink:
duck food mixed with water
pool water that hasn't been changed enough
I do not put their food and water by each other - this was less of an issue as adults since it was mostly the crumble when they were in a brooder that made it stink. If the water isn't next to the food, any spilled food and spilled water won't mix and stink.
duck poop - haven't figured out a way to make them not poops, so their night house gets hosed daily. If they are penned up (fox season), then I hose down the pen a little every few days if we don't get rain. it helps. But mine are free range when it isn't fox season and they use the close back 1 acre (they have more, but don't venture out that far back) so they don't poop in the same spot all the time and it isn't an issue
pool water - I built them a 7x10 raised pond with landscape timbers and a pond liner. I also built a skippy type filter box. I drain the pond and filter about once a year. The filter box is vile, so I drain that first then let the pond water dilute the nasty. Once it has dried, you can't really smell it unless you are right over the dried nastiness. I didn't build a drain into the filter box - if I did, I'd drain the filter box monthly and it would be way less gross!
When they are in their pen for fox season, they get a kiddie pool. It's hot here, that pool must be changed by the start of day 3 or nobody wants near it and it will start to stink. Duck pool water is great for plants. I had a kiddie pool next to my garden the first year and it was a great garden!
I have runner ducks and a welsh harlequin. One of my runners will be 6 in August. She is still laying well. The WH and other 2 runners are 4 and also still laying well. I have a 3 year old chicken (buff orpington that likes to go broody at the drop of a hat) and she is also still laying well.
I enjoy my ducks more, but chickens are cleaner and easier (not that ducks are difficult, but not as easy as the chickens). My chicken puts herself to bed. The ducks usually do if we aren't home, if we are, they stay out until we escort them to their house and lock them up. Sometimes they are in their pond and don't really want to get out no mater how many peas I show them (that doesn't happen often, but sometimes).
The chicken house I can go a few days without cleaning. The duck house needs to be hosed out daily or I have 389232 flies and it is nasty and will smell.
My chicken lays clean eggs. My ducks like to poop in their nest box. I've recently given the ducks a smaller nest box and that seems to have helped so far, but who knows, they sometimes go in spurts, so they may start pooping in their new nest box soon.
Both my ducks and chicken can be loud mouths in the morning if I don't let them out when they want out (and they usually want out before it is light enough to not worry about any stray critters that might still want to eat them). During the day, it is usually the ducks that will chatter, but not often and it doesn't usually last for very long.
I'd get more ducks, but I don't like duck egg yolks when I'm eating eggs - not an issue when baking, but if I have eggs for breakfast, I don't use my duck egg yolks. I have chickens because I'm ok with chicken yolks. So I have 4 ducks and 1 chicken (and 2 new chicks out in the coop now as well to replace the chickens the fox took almost 2 years ago - chicken has been hanging out with the ducks since then)