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Are ducks destructive?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

We currently have two ducks that are an integrated part of our chicken flock. I love them to pieces and find them far more charming than the chickens. They also don't possess any of the annoying and maddening bad habits that the chickens do (i.e. crapping all over our front and back porch and the carport, digging giant holes to dust bathe in, sitting in the flower pots and scratching up the flower bed that is no more). Anyway, I'm seriously considering getting rid of 99% of our chicken flock and getting a few ducks (and possibly a few geese) instead. I've heard that ducks can be quite destructive to your yard. I'm not sure if I've just been lucky or it's because we only have two or because we have so much space but I haven't encountered that problem. They forage all day long and I see them sort of digging their bills around in the grass but they never seem to leave big muddy holes. Really, I'm just looking for the positive and the negative, the good, the bad, and, the ugly.

I believe in hands that work, brains that think and hearts that love. - Elbert Hubbard
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I believe in hands that work, brains that think and hearts that love. - Elbert Hubbard
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post #2 of 9

They are sort of destructive.. When it rains they like to dig holes in the grass with their bills playing in the water or looking for worms. They will go after certain plants or flowers as well if they're edible. If there's a small puddle, in no time it will be a large mud pit! They don't duste bathe like chickens do so no worries about flower pots being messed up.. Unless there are some tasty worms they spot in there.

Depending on what kind of ducks you have, most of the larger breeds don't fly (except muscovys) so you don't have to worry about them pooping in areas that are hard to clean. Ducks do provide hours of entertainment (at least around here they do), and they can be great pets. Their eggs are also really good for eating and baking.

http://lafleurwaterfowl.webs.com/index.htm

 

-Home to  Dutch Hook Bill, Blue Runner, and Black Runner Ducks

-Snowy call ducks

-One pet sebastopol goose

 

-A beagle, jack russell TERROR, a mutt and a presa canario. A few cats, finches, guinea pig, fish, kids and a husband who thinks I'm nutty!

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http://lafleurwaterfowl.webs.com/index.htm

 

-Home to  Dutch Hook Bill, Blue Runner, and Black Runner Ducks

-Snowy call ducks

-One pet sebastopol goose

 

-A beagle, jack russell TERROR, a mutt and a presa canario. A few cats, finches, guinea pig, fish, kids and a husband who thinks I'm nutty!

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post #3 of 9

They don't damage dry ground because they don't scratch like chickens.  However, put a puddle of water on that ground and they will happily dabble it into a nice big mud hole.

 

Mine eat the leaves off the fruit trees as high as they can jump. But, I suspect they don't eat any more of your garden plants than chickens would.

 

Geese are even less destructive. They don't scratch and they don't do much dabbling. They mostly eat grass, but will eat leaves and garden plants if the grass is not available. Down side to geese? They have enormous poops.

Exhibition quality Blue Swedish Ducks and Gray Saddleback Pomeranian Geese,   Hatching eggs available in late winter and spring. NPIP

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Exhibition quality Blue Swedish Ducks and Gray Saddleback Pomeranian Geese,   Hatching eggs available in late winter and spring. NPIP

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post #4 of 9

From my experiences they are less destructive. However sarbee42 is right in that they will dig holes when the ground is wet. Personally I like them better then chickens for many reasons. One being that for my garden set-up they are much less damaging. I have had chickens bury seedlings by scratching, fly over any fencing, and dig up plants.

 

With the fact that they also hate the very rainy winters I get and the fact that I like duck personalities better, going to ducks was a good choice for me. Ducks are much easier to fence out of a garden bed as the heavy breeds won't fly over the low wrap of bird or chicken wire that I use. And that means no damage to my garden beds or plants. I rotate them into my lawn when the grass gets high enough and they and the geese eat it down without hurting the grass itself.

 

The only real problems I have personally seen is that they love to make mud, and they do make dibble holes all over. The dibble holes are only a slight problem, mostly I just rake them out or occasionally I  fill in with compost. The mud is a true challenge. Sand, mulch, and making sure the rain has channels to run off is the best way I have found for in the garden. Just as with chickens though the land can only cope with so many birds so if you have too many birds in to small of a space you will end up with bare ground. Both ducks and chickens will eat anything tasty. Personally I love my ducks and could not go back to chickens unless I moved to a desert...

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

You know, I don't know if we're just lucky or if it's because we have so much space (we live in the boondocks. Our "backyard" is a yonder mountain top.) and water (two creeks - one big, one very small) or because we have only two but they've never turned any puddles - and we have a lot; we live in Oregon - into slimy mudholes (Mudhole? Slimy? My home this is!) or left any visible dibble holes. I'm sure that would change if we decide to get more. What breeds would you recommend as far as friendliness and egg production. Caroline, our Pekin (at least I think she's one) isn't the friendliest - I can only get within a few feet of her and her mate before they hightail it - but she lays like nobodies business. She started laying this past summer and has scarcely missed a day since. Also, is it normal for drakes to mate with chickens? Earl, our drake, does all the time and it's so funny to watch. He has trouble "dismounting" with ease and always falls off to the side. lol.png Thank you all so much for your help. I really appreciate it.


Edited by bucolic beauty - 3/8/12 at 12:29pm
I believe in hands that work, brains that think and hearts that love. - Elbert Hubbard
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I believe in hands that work, brains that think and hearts that love. - Elbert Hubbard
Reply
post #6 of 9

As for friendliness factor... I'd have to go with saxonies. The ones I have here are always the first who want to be greeted and given a pet. My rouens could care less and the appleyards are fairly friendly, but shy. I had a really nice saxony duck named Matilda who would follow me around while I was doing chores and quack at me until I stopped to pick her up. Unfortunately she passed on but the other three girls and the two boys are equally just as nice. I had a bunch of pekins earlier on in the year and found they weren't that friendly, but they weren't mean either.. I guess it all depends if you get them as ducklings or adults. I prefer getting ducklings so that they know who their "feeder" is and we have a lot here to expose them to.

http://lafleurwaterfowl.webs.com/index.htm

 

-Home to  Dutch Hook Bill, Blue Runner, and Black Runner Ducks

-Snowy call ducks

-One pet sebastopol goose

 

-A beagle, jack russell TERROR, a mutt and a presa canario. A few cats, finches, guinea pig, fish, kids and a husband who thinks I'm nutty!

Reply

http://lafleurwaterfowl.webs.com/index.htm

 

-Home to  Dutch Hook Bill, Blue Runner, and Black Runner Ducks

-Snowy call ducks

-One pet sebastopol goose

 

-A beagle, jack russell TERROR, a mutt and a presa canario. A few cats, finches, guinea pig, fish, kids and a husband who thinks I'm nutty!

Reply
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Yes, our female duck is a Pekin and I would call her neither friendly nor nervous. Same with her husband, who's a Buff Orpington. Thank you for your help. I have a feeling that if we do get any, they'll most likely be from the farm supply store as my husband won't want to pay the price of ordering them through Metzer.

I believe in hands that work, brains that think and hearts that love. - Elbert Hubbard
Reply
I believe in hands that work, brains that think and hearts that love. - Elbert Hubbard
Reply
post #8 of 9

This was helpful, I kept wondering if all ducks dig little mudholes with their bills or just Pearl (my Indian Runner) I finally had to hang the waterer so she wouldn't spill so much and make mudholes. I have four 4 1/2 week old chicks and the ducky. I bought them together from the feed store and they are inseperable. I raised them all up in the same brooder box and they are moving out into the same coop together. I love my chickens dearly and they are all little sweethearts, but Pearl certainly has a personality all her own. She loves treats and baths and she loves to cuddle in my lap after bathing while I towel her off (She doesn't have all her big girl feathers yet) To be honest, I wouldn't say that chickens are more destructive than ducks, they each just have their own quirks. I think the real trick is to stay ahead of them as far as protecting things you value a lot in the yard. Disclaimer: bringing them up together only worked well because I only got 1 duck. Certainly as far as babies they are messier because they grow faster and are therefore more clumsy (ergo the knocking over of the waterer, soiling the litter) and they have big, messy poos. She is always very careful of her smaller broodmates though, they step on her more than she steps on them! I don't know about the attitudes of Indian Runners as a whole, but my girl is very friendly and if you haven't seen them run before it is a hoot! If I had more space I would like to have more...maybe some day! Also excited for the duck eggs...I've never tried one.

5 hens: 1 Bantam Cochin, 1 BR, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Ameracauna and 1 SLW. 2 Indian Runner females, a Tortoiseshell kitty and a fiance that puts up with all my bird crazies!
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5 hens: 1 Bantam Cochin, 1 BR, 1 White Leghorn, 1 Ameracauna and 1 SLW. 2 Indian Runner females, a Tortoiseshell kitty and a fiance that puts up with all my bird crazies!
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post #9 of 9

I can't compare to chickens as ours don't arrive till June lol but I don't find my 'scovies to be destructive, of coarse we too live in the country and own other animals so I am not trying to maintain a perfectly manicured lawn.

 

Mine will play in low laying water but they have tons of pools...(3) and mainly use those.. i have seen no excessive hole drilling, frankly the huge frogs leave worse messes coming up from the ground. The droppings are what is the messiest part, i can always "tell" where they have been.. wink.png


Edited by Going Quackers - 4/14/12 at 5:14am

~ Firefly Farms home to

 

Ducks-                                                            Chickens-

Muscovy, Calls, Buff orpington & Pekin          Ameraucana, Ameraucana x(ie Easter Eggers), Silkies, Malines, Bielefelder & Bantam Cochin

 

As well as Miniature horses, Sheep & lionhead rabbits, Plus fish, dogs, cats & parrots.

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~ Firefly Farms home to

 

Ducks-                                                            Chickens-

Muscovy, Calls, Buff orpington & Pekin          Ameraucana, Ameraucana x(ie Easter Eggers), Silkies, Malines, Bielefelder & Bantam Cochin

 

As well as Miniature horses, Sheep & lionhead rabbits, Plus fish, dogs, cats & parrots.

Reply
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