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New to ducks - lots of questions!

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

My loving husband brought home three runner ducks. He got them from a friend who had bought them at Easter as ducklings for his son and now the son wants nothing to do with them. (Rant: don't buy unprepared children pets as gifts!!). They are living with our chickens for now. I think they are all females, but I'm not positive. I need to inspect them a little further. I only had time for a quick glance at them before I had to leave for work this morning. So here are my questions:


If they are all females, do I need a drake to go with them? I know groups of hens do better with a rooster to help keep everyone in line. Are ducks the same?


Our chicken run is a large fenced in yard with a shed sized coop. There is a standard sized door on the front that we keep closed and two windows on the side, about 3 feet high, with ladders that the chickens use to go in and out. Will the ducks be ok sleeping in the coop with the chickens? Will they need a lower entrance/exit?


We have a pond and usually let the chickens out to free range a few hours in the evening. Once the ducks are settled in and well oriented to their new home, I'd like to be able to let them free range as well. Is there anything I should be aware of or concerned about? Once they find the pond, will they be like the chickens and go to bed in the coop when it gets dark?


Should I worry about clipping wings so they don't fly away? (We bought some ducks a couple years ago and were told they were flightless.. they flew away within 2 days.)


Eggs? I've read that runners are good for laying but will just drop the egg wherever they happen to be. What should I do to encourage them to lay in one spot? Will I just have to go on egg hunts?


What about feeding them? The chickens have layer pellets in the coop and get a few hand fulls of scratch grains each day. They also get kitchen scraps. I know ducks shouldn't get bread. Anything else they shouldn't eat? Can they eat the chicken layer pellets?


Any suggestions or advice are welcomed!

post #2 of 5

Ducks don't need drakes and drakes could be bad for your chicken hens if they decide to try to breed them (anatomy doesn't match up)

The ducks should be ok in the coop with the chickens, but have a back up plan in case it doesn't work. The door for the chicks is 3' up? If so, if there is a ramp, the ducks might learn to use it. Mine suck at ramps and prefer stairs.

How big is your pond? sometimes ducks decide they like to hang out in the pond even if you don't want them to.

Goign to bed a night... they can, sometimes, if the mood strikes them  :rolleyes:  Mine are pretty good about going to their hut at night, but if I'm late going out to lock them up, into the pond they go to wait. If we aren't here, they usually put themselves to bed and I just close them up when we get back. I use peas to encourage them to head to their house at night.

Runners aren't going to fly very high or far, so no need to clip their wings

Ducks lay early in the morning. I have 4 and for the last 2 days, they have been let out at 6:30 and one duck lays outside the pen. But she normally has laid an egg before they are let out. If I let them out at 7, all eggs are typically in the house. I do provide a nest dish. They take the pine straw out a bit at a time each night and 90% of the time lay their egg in there, or with butt hanging over and just misses the bin  lol


Ducks can eat layer pellets once they are of laying age (~5 months). Until then, they should be kept on starter or grower or a flock raiser. My girls love peas, watermelon, cucumber. They actually will not touch carbs!!  I offer things to the ducks and when they pass, the chicken eats it for them. 

post #3 of 5
Hi, i have 24 runner ducks feeeranging on our smallholding as well as 16 chickens 2 cockerels and 4 geese. The runnersdont need drakes although i have a few as i bred a few of my own. They do lay anywhere in our field i find if i let them out too early i will find them in the field or even in the baby baths they drink from. They dont need there wings cliping i have never aeen my ducks fly highee than a couple of feet when being chased. My ducks love peas and greens ive trained them on peas and they eat put of my hand. I just give them some layers and in winter wheat and some corn but they love dandelions which are in abundance now. Enjoy i love my ducks!!!
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Very helpful! Thank you. I hadn't thought of them not being old enough for layer pellets yet, but that makes sense. I'll try putting them in the run with our chicks and see how they do. The chicks and ducks should be about the same age, 8-9 weeks. They are on grower feed and the door to their coop is just one step up. I have a disabled hen in with them also.. maybe they will all get along. The pond is maybe 1/2 an acre in a big pasture - big enough that I'd wait until I know they know where they are supposed to be and that they will come when I call before releasing them for field days. I'll get them a swimming pool or wash tub until then.

post #5 of 5
You will have great fun! All my chickens and ducks share a big shed and get on fine. My runners were in a plastic paint roller tray when tiny then a washing up bowl then a baby bath i got from charity shops and now they go in a pond in the field, i haveno trouble getting them in at night they just follow each other i just call them all puddles and they come running and they know they have peas once they inside at bedtime so its
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