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!