I just found & joined this site, as it looks to be pretty active! I'm hoping I can get good, sound advice from you experienced folks.
I recently acquired 4 ducklings (long story, basically rescued them). I have had chickens & Guineas for many years, but I know nothing about ducks. I didn't have the time to research their requirements, & although I'm enjoying them, I'm not convinced I am the right home for them.
My situation is such that I have a small farm, & all of my birds are cage-free, totally free ranging during the day, closed safely in a coop at night. The chickens are up on perches, the ducks in a big, hay filled nesting box area. I've been feeding the ducks a non-medicated starter feed to supplement whatever they're finding on their own as they wander w/ the chickens. We got them an inflatable kiddie pool that they go in a couple of times a day. So far, they're growing quickly, look good.
Now for my questions!
How do you all in cold climates deal w/ their water requirements in the winter months? Right now I'm cleaning/refreshing the 3 waterers 4-6 times a day, because the ducks make such a mess of them, which the chickens don't exactly appreciate. It's fine for now because I'm on vacation & it's warm here, but this won't happen once I'm back to work & the cold weather sets in.
I feed my chickens an organic layer feed; will this be suitable for the ducks once they're mature?
How far do ducks wander? We have a beautiful pond about 250' from their coop. They haven't found it yet, because it's hidden by some trees, & the chickens pretty much never go down there. I'm hoping that if they have their little pool by the coop, they'll stay there. The pond is wonderful, but several large snapping turtles reside in it, & I'm not moving them. It's their home, & has been for many, many years.
Many thanks for any suggestions/advice!