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Supposed to be getting Welsh Harlequins May 25

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
And have to say I am more excited about them than I was my chicks. Can I say that on a chick site? I ordered 10 ducks and one drake from Metzer Farms. A friend may or may not split the order with me ....that depends a lot on how quickly and big we can get a pen built. My original intention had been to get two and put them with my chickens but after a lot of reading I decided against that. Also, even though I am excited....I am getting a bit of cold feet since finding out that my ducklings will have to come clear across the country since I am in WV. Scary. I already have two very large clear tubs for brooders and have Brewer's Yeast waiting too. I know to have water 24/7 available and will probably use some half gallon milk jugs for waterers. Hopefully by the time they get here all chicks will be settled in their new coop and pen and I can concentrate on ducks. smile.png Anyway....any thoughts, advice or encouragement appreciated since the jitters have now set in. smile.png
post #2 of 7

You have a lot of bases covered already. I'm sure you know that ducklings are very messy and you'll be cleaning bedding and food/ water trays often. Ducklings are harder to care for they chicks but they're worth it. I mix their food with water and make a mash for them to eat because it makes it easier for them, ducklings can't eat well without water which is why their water dishes need a lot of cleaning. They also grow like weeds, you look away for a second and they've doubled in size! You can actually take them outside on nice days for about an hour and let them play and explore. That's how I like to bond with them, I lay in the grass and when they get cold or sleepy them come over and cuddle. While they're outside you can take a pan used for paint rollers and fill it with water when they first start learning to swim, since it has a shallow end, it's safer for them when they first start. Ducklings are great and the bond you can form with them is well worth the work to care for them!

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you! Around here it seems most people don't want to keep ducks. If I have heard how nasty and disgusting they are once, I've heard it a thousand times. I keep reading everything I can here in the duck section and other places online. Someone(on here I believe) said part of the reason people don't care to keep ducks is they don't keep them smart. I get that. Hubby and I are thinking we will get a shed without a floor and set up a sand and pea gravel system. I keep looking over what others on here have done....and taking notes. smile.png I have always loved ducks....always. By the time they get here at the end of May, I am thinking they won't need much heat .....maybe the first week. I have two heating pads that don't shut off which I think I will use for them. I hate heat lamps with a passion and have used them sparingly with the chicks. I like the idea of making a mash at first too. smile.png
post #4 of 7

Most people use sand and pea gravel as duck flooring, I only have sand right now because I make they big fluffy nests of hay in the winter and haven't cleared in all out yet. And I've heard of a lot of people using barns to house their ducks, just make sure it's predator proof. I don't keep big groups of ducks, I prefer small groups that I raised from eggs so the bond is stronger, so I just use bottomless an A-frame coop with half of it covered and the other half wire. Most ducks don't roost like chickens and mine don't like having to go up different levels so the one floor coop works for them. I should also warn you that most ducks don't take to coops easily but since it's a barn that shouldn't be much of a problem. The heat pads should be fine. Ducklings need heat for about two weeks then they don't need much but they should still be kept in their brooder until they're pretty feathered out. I think I keep mine in the brooder for about 5 or 6 weeks before they move out to the run full time.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
We are thinking of buying a shed and installing the sand/pea gravel floor. We can't seem to agree on how to adapt a shed so that it can be predator proof and still have ventilation. If we spent big bucks we could get a shed with windows already in but I want plenty of money available to build the pen around them. We have to start from nothing for the ducks. The chickens already had a coop and partial fence. It only meant we had to reinforce the coop and build the fence stronger and more predator proof. Right now the spot where the ducks will be is just empty yard. Plus I want to be prepared in case all 11 ducks end up with me so it needs to be room for 11 ducks. Even if I do split the order with my friend I think I will be happier from the get go if the pen is built big enough for more ducks for the future. If that makes sense. After reading on here and seeing what others have done I know what I would like to see done but convincing hubby is a slow process. I pretty much have Fort Knox in mind! LOL To cut him some slack, I think he is confused as to how I went from two ducks housed with our chickens to a duck flock and new pen. smile.png
post #6 of 7

I can understand his confusion!:lau For ventilation cut a hole and attach wire behind it so nothing can get through it. To keep things from digging under we put wire about a foot out from the coop. Make sure it's not chicken wire. Oh yeah! Try and get them a tub and let them take a daily bath it it, or a baby pool if your willing to clean it often, ducks need at least one bath a day so they can oil their feather properly.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hubby is a scavenger ....LOL Sometimes that is really useful and sometimes a royal PITA. He scavenged/rescued (LOL) the thick plastic liner from a bucket on a bucket truck, (Hubby works electrical line work) because it was headed for a land fill. No holes, it was merely tossed because it tested as no longer being good insulation. So I have this huge white bucket liner behind the garage. My neighbor said cut it down (so it won't be so deep) and put it in the ground for a small pond for them. This might have worked for my original plan of two but now I have a couple problems with this.... how the heck to drain it once "planted" in the ground( need a pump?) and I want something bigger. LOL Even at the prospect of finally making use of that monstrosity I am not on board with the idea. Decisions, decisions. smile.png
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