Hi! I'm new to ducks as well. I've had chickens for over a year & love them. Now I love ducks too! LOL! This is rather long, but I too have a lot questions! LOL!
We have 3 Pekin ducklings - They are 25 days old today. I ordered them from Murray McMurray Hatchery & they came to us as day-old ducklings. I ordered 4...1 male & 3 females, but 1 of the females didn't make it. McMurray refunded the cost of the 1 duckling. So, I would recommend them for purchasing ducklings or chicks.
Anyway, I've really enjoyed seeing all the pond/pool idea's everyone has posted pic's of. Right now our ducklings are running the backyard - not the entire backyard, just the part fenced off the chickens and garden. They have 2 storage totes & a standard 3-gallon chicken waterer...all of which has worked out very well. I was taking them to our larger 3,500 gallon pond in front, but then I read they can get duck botulism (among other things) from man-made ponds that weren't drained regularly. Algae = enemy. Oi vey. Now I'm working on a new idea for housing them, etc.
I'm currently looking into livestock tanks. Partly because they are a really heavy duty plastic, but mostly because they have the drain towards the bottom, which I believe will make it much more efficient to empty & refill as needed. From what I understand, this needs to be done a couple times per week!! I'm open to idea's...Anyone have any? LOL!
Here are my babies at just a few days old:
Donald at 1-week:
At 21 days old:
Donald & Daffy at 25 days:
Daisy, who is the biggest of the ducks, at 25 days:
It seems they grow at least 3" every day!! I'm afraid I'm going to go outside after a couple hours & not recognize them at all!! LOL!
I had them on 'approved' medicated chick grower/starter for the 1st three weeks. You have to make sure it's safe for ducklings, as some of the chick starter/grower has a toxic type of medication. This particular brand, which we get from our local feedmill is safe. They've spent this past week eating a combination of the chick feed mixed with layer feed. I also supplement a couple times per week with my 'special'. It's our chickens eggs, shell & all, cooked with romaine lettuce & tomatoes. They don't always get eggs, but they get romaine & tomatoes every week.
I have what is essentially 3 coops inside 1 large one. I have my Layer Coop, which houses my power layers - eggs I sale mostly. These include Wyandotte's, Jersey Giant's, Brown Leghorn's, Rhode Island Red's, Easter Egger's & 5 'evil' production birds (Red Star/Sex Link & Black Star/Sex Link). I don't I would put the ducks in the Layer Coop. My 5 production hens might kill them. Like I mentioned, they're evil. They have murdered 2 juvenile Rhode Island Red's and 1 full grown Black Star. I would be having some chicken soup if they murdered my ducks too!!
I have my Polish Coop, which includes the Silkie's at the moment...we haven't finished everything completely. The Silkie's will be moved to their own part of the coop/yard sometime this fall when the weather gets a little more cooperative. It's way too dang hot at the moment!!
The ducklings are running around outside the chicken yards for now. They have a large dog crate (think Great Dane) they sleep in at night. I've draped a heavy-duty tarp over it. I have to pull everything out each morning & clean, clean, clean. I put fresh hay (we have a neighbor who sales it to us for the same price as straw - it's softer & smells better - LOL) on top of the plastic pullout crate bottom each day. I also change their water, 'clean' their feed & add more - You must NEVER let wet feed stay with the ducks. They are susceptible to all kinds of disease from moldy feed. I also dump their 'totes' of water each day & refill with fresh, clean water. They are seriously more work than chickens!! LOL! But, personally, I think they're worth it!!
I must admit, I'm intrigued by the idea of putting the ducks in with the chickens. How do you prevent cocci with the ducks?? They are [img]extremely[/img] messy!! Right now, because Silkie's so easily get cocci, I feed one 3 qt. scoop of medicated chick feed per every three 3 qt. scoops of layer feed. I also have no bedding in the Polish/Silkie coop so I can remove any feces daily. They are on a wooden floor & have a large yard to be in all day long. What do you recommend for ducks? What if I were to put my ducks in with the Polish (once the Silkie's are moved)...with a wooden floor & no bedding so I can clean each day? The Polish are more interested in being up high & would have no use for being on the ground with the ducks.