Originally Posted by HappyPlace
I actually don't plan on having house ducks (or ducks at all) until I have my own place, so this may be a while... I believe in doing research and preparation before the project, though. I appreciate everyone for their advice. This is exactly what I'm looking for - the good and bad.
I have always loved Cayugas since the first time seeing one at a fair when I was younger. I had no idea that there even were black ducks until then. I also had a friend that had a Pekin for a pet. Her duck was almost as big as her Sheltie. I have always known that I wanted an indoor duck, though I didn't know that it was as common as it seems to be. I'm considering a pair for the ducks' benefit. It would either be two females or one each.
I have two cats, one that is constantly playing in her water and creating puddles and one that is aptly named Crybaby. They both get into things constantly. Those factors aren't really an issue for me and I have already accepted that the mess/noise/curiousity would go up. There are things that I was worried about - wires, small objects like hair pins, cat toys and the like. I'm pretty good at keeping my things put up, but my cats' favorite toys are those little mice that rattle. Would I have to worry about a duck going for something like that? I imagine they would choke on them if they tried. I also use alpine wood shavings for cat litter. I'm worried about the ducks not only "shopping" in the litter but also digging it out. Anyone else with cats - how do you keep your ducks out while letting your cats in? Does using a covered cat box help? As for introducing the ducklings to my cats, they would be constantly supervised until they got older (full grown). I'm only mildly worried about the one cat with them. She plays rough but doesn't have front claws. Teeth are something else, though...
It seems like most people are using a tarp covered with towels in their pens. Just how gross can the towels get and how often does anyone change/wash them? Would using a large rubber mat work? Under towels? Or better yet, rubber bottomed bath mats? Are the ducks pretty good about being in their pens? Especially while you are gone?Getting back to toys - What do indoor ducks like to play with (besides everything they shouldn't)? How bored will they get if I'm not playing with them/am busy/they have to stay in their pen for a while?
I apologize for all the questions. There will probably be more after this, too. I would just like to know what I'm getting into and how much I will have to do and figure in when I do get my ducks. Again, I truly appreciate the help.
The pens are a matter of habit outdoors and indoors its ALL on you to get them in and keep them in. If you are the least bit relaxed in your effort you can wake to a substantial mess as I did one morning. My 2 ducks followed me everywhere I went as they grew up. When I pulled the shower curtain back and reached for a towel....there were 2 ducks standing there waiting.
I woke one morning as usual except that I opened my eyes and spot Buddy sitting there next to me on my pillow....he was a kid of about 6 weeks and seeing him did'nt register for a minute, until I rolled my head over and felt WET on my left ear.....uh-huh.
I sit up and see Squeek sitting by my legs looking up at me. Thats about the time I notice that they had pretty well "decorated" the bed spread AND pillows. SHocking to wake up laying in a litter box of sorts, but hey, nobody made me have ducks as pets. They had escaped their inside pen and come to see dad. (its got to be payback for the friend that passed out drunk face down in a litter-box....and I gave him his new nick-name...CatBox,.)
They CAN jump a lot higher than you would think and once they get wings...they will go where they please. Ducks are the only bird that can fly straight up. Most domestics are not strong enough to fly any distance but they can still fly enough to get out of enclosures IF they want to.
As far as the towels and tarps....change towels at least once a day depending on size of pen and size of ducks. They poop proportionately to their intake and the diet can effect how much and what kind of mess you deal with. I roll up towels and shake them off outdoors, then drop in washer with a good dose of detergent and bleach. fresh as a daisey afterwards....Their linens are THIER linens and not gonna be found on MY towel rack anytime soon...in case anyone is wondering. So get some cheap bath towels, or some pillow cases with a high nylon or synthetic fiber content as those let the poo fall off easier. The tarp gets rolled up and washed once a week, and the area vacuumed and "freebreezed" while the kids are in the tub. I have 2 tarps cut to size, and throw them in the washer as well. One set is always ready to go. Contain the food/water mess by placing bowls inside something larger as someone else described....thats taller than the bowls....Something thats heavy enough that they cannot dump it over. I use a tupperware square tub thats about 8" X 12". I set 2 other tupperware bowls in that and most of the feed and wet stays inside.
The object is protecting the carpet and walls. I keep the indoor pen next to the window so they get fresh air and a view....but I keep a piece of cardboard between the pen and wall so I don;t have to scrub walls every week. I have DDT (dedicated duck towels) and other pen stuff thats theirs.
Rubber mats seem Ok at first glance, but you have to be able to wash them and keep them pretty near sterile. I used to take towels out and hose them down but that was a hassle on bad days, so shaking them and bleach do the work now. I tried door mats, carpet runner, camoflage tarps, (they ate the camo skin off the tarp, it looked like greens) and I've tried simply hosing down the outside area. That was not effective since duck poo on a porch or concrete will cause a stain and bacteria and more bleaching is then required to clean it away. Mine will eat the picture of a head of lettuce or cabbage so be careful what you allow them to get close to. They also LOVE plastic bags....
Using a covering inside the house pen like towels is best, sheets are too big and bulky and ripped sheets invite chewing on edges. Also, stay away from styrofoam boards...(sounded like a good idea) as they will eat the styrofoam. Mine STILL dig under the edge of the towels looking for a styrofoam snack...must taste good. I had the baby get a foam pellet stuck in her nose and could'nt breath right until she managed to blow it out in water...
So, tarp, then towels, and I lay a 2nd towel on the area where the food/water box will be. Change it daily or twice daily if necessary and wash towels daily. Its like diapers used to be. Outside, unless yopu have a coop or duck-house it'll be about the same things except you can use the water hose to help...my birds LOVE house cleaning outside...they see the water hose coing out and they go nuts wanting to be sprayed and hosed down. I hose them mostly for cleanliness since they are held alot and I am not a big fan of getting duck poop all over me from somebody thats been walking around in a dirty pen.