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SMALL scale duck keeping? :)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have a small garden (30 or so square meters if I remember correctly), and Id really like to keep a couple of muscovy ducks (2 females). Is this possible?  During daytime they will roam the garden, but what kind of shelter should I build for them for nighttime safety? How much space do they need if I want to make them say a little pen or something, where they are safe from potential predators at night?

post #2 of 6

Muscovies are originally from South America (I think but don't quote me on the exact location but their native climate is tropical).  So in the winter they'll need good protection from the cold.  We have a small female who lost a few toes this year due to frost bite.  Miss Waddelsworth gets along fine but she does walk a bit funny.  Depending on what natural predators you have in your area, you'll need something to protect them from those.  Where we're at in the US, we don't have much of a problem with day time predators but at night we have a real fox problem and the opossums are making their rounds looking for eggs and unprotected ducklings.  So everyone goes into a coop at night that I lock up to provide that protection.  Our chickens are in an enclosed run with their coop because of the hawks in the area are not shy about dining on chicken, morning, noon or night...  but they leave the ducks and geese alone; probably a size thing.  Chicken wire is cheap and serves its purpose, but it meant to keep poultry in a restricted place; not to keep animals out.  A dog or raccoon can easily chew their way through chicken wire.  So if that's a potential problem use a more resistant wire fence.  Hope this helps you begin to plan for your new feathered friends.  They are an absolute joy to have.  Greatest de-stresser ever invented!!!

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmorgan46 View Post
 

Muscovies are originally from South America (I think but don't quote me on the exact location but their native climate is tropical).  So in the winter they'll need good protection from the cold.  We have a small female who lost a few toes this year due to frost bite.  Miss Waddelsworth gets along fine but she does walk a bit funny.  Depending on what natural predators you have in your area, you'll need something to protect them from those.  Where we're at in the US, we don't have much of a problem with day time predators but at night we have a real fox problem and the opossums are making their rounds looking for eggs and unprotected ducklings.  So everyone goes into a coop at night that I lock up to provide that protection.  Our chickens are in an enclosed run with their coop because of the hawks in the area are not shy about dining on chicken, morning, noon or night...  but they leave the ducks and geese alone; probably a size thing.  Chicken wire is cheap and serves its purpose, but it meant to keep poultry in a restricted place; not to keep animals out.  A dog or raccoon can easily chew their way through chicken wire.  So if that's a potential problem use a more resistant wire fence.  Hope this helps you begin to plan for your new feathered friends.  They are an absolute joy to have.  Greatest de-stresser ever invented!!!

 

Thank you! (And I love Miss Waddlesworth name  :) )

 

I live in a norwegian suburban area next to a forest, but Ive never seen any sort of predators here.. no birds of prey, no foxes (though my dad saw a badger once hehe), no stray dogs.. its fairly safe I think, but you never know with a forest next door, so I think it better to make them something safe for nighttime :) 

 

Our winters here are not very harsh, but maybe youre right that its better to make a proper coop for them right away. I was thinking of a pen (I have some square shaped wire, its much sturdier than chicken wire) with a little house inside, but if I am to keep them through the winter I guess that might not be enough...

 

How much space per duck should a nighttime coop (or pen, or whatever :) ) have, to keep the birds happy?

post #4 of 6

Halkatla,

For two females you could get by with a large dog house.  The only reason ours ever go into the coop is for one of two things.  One is to sleep at night (sleep is probably not the right word cause I don't think Muscovies keep the same schedule like us humans do.) And the other is to find a protected place to build a nest.  Ours have access to their coops all day long and the only ones who go into it during the day are broody ducks.  The drakes only go in when they want to investigate what's going on or they are after a particular female.  With only two ducks, you don't have to worry about that.  I placed old straw bales around the outside of one of my coops and its surprising how insulated that made it.  You could do the same. If you have a game camera or another type of all weather camera you can set up, you'd get a great idea if there is anything coming from the woods and and just checking things out.  If you don't already have one, not sure the cost would be worth it.  And if nothing else, you could always check with neighbors  or family with knowledge of what types of animals might live in that particular forest. 

 

Keep us posted and let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

A dog house, thats a great idea! :)  Do you install roosting bars, like you would for a chicken, or do ducks sleep on the ground/in nests?

 

Thanks again so much! :)

post #6 of 6

No worries.  Muscovy have great claws for roosting on limbs or other types of roosts.  In the coops we have, I didn't install any roosts because I clipped their flight feathers which prevents them from flying up and using them.  We had three ducks who used to enjoy flying up onto our roof as the sun was setting and then refuse to come down on their own.  I finally got tired of climbing up on the roof to chase them down so we could put them in their coop.  :woot

Without that, they sit on the ground just fine and the broody females build nests on the floor of the coop as well.  if you're handy try putting in a roost and let us know how they like it.  I'd be interested to see.  The closest ours got was perching on the top railing of our chicken run, and then from there up onto the roof of our house.  

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