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2 new Pekin ducks - help please!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by kgdubois, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. kgdubois

    kgdubois Songster

    Apr 26, 2011
    West Texas
    Hello BYC Duck peeps!

    I have adopted two Pekin ducks from a coworker's children (they got Easter basket surprises, which they can no longer keep in town) yesterday. They are approx. 4 - 5 months old and very cute...but I don't know how to care for ducks :-O I took them because he had nowhere else to send the ducks & one of his horrid neighbors in town was threatening to turn him in to Animal Control, etc. for having these in his back yard. I have 20 hens & three roosters which free-range all day & get cooped up at night. I put the ducks in with them last night & they seemed to do well. The chickens are not bothered by them at all, no rooster attacks or anything like that.

    I have some questions I was hoping to get answered:
    1 - the ducks came with Purina Layena crumbles...is this what they should be eating? I'm still feeding my chickens the Starter ration, but will be switching them over soon (they were hatched on April 10). The ducks seem to have trouble swallowing the crumbles...they cough & stick their necks out straight alot. I wasn't sure if this was common duck eating behavior.
    2 - my chickens seem to stick pretty close to their coop and in the livestock pens, but the ducks are roaming farther out...is this just because their surroundings are so new? I don't have any type of run or pen set up for the chickens, and no place to pen in the ducks to keep them close to the run during the day. I did read that some people pen up new birds for a week or so, but this is not an option where I am. I am only feeding the ducks at the coop, hoping this will teach them to stay close. Their only water is also right near the coop (not inside it) so I'm hoping this helps also.
    3 - do ducks need a pond to be happy? These guys will have access to fresh water at all times (I have a drip system that goes into a large rubber tub). They can hop into the tub, or go over about 15 feet to a concrete stockwater trough to swim in. The trough is about 2.5 feet deep x 2 feet wide x 6 feet long -- there isn't much room but they can paddle around a little bit in there & eat bugs/moss stuff if they want. Will this work?
    4 - How do I tell what sex these ducks are? One is a little larger than the other & has a tiny, tiny curl on its tail feathers...I'm really hoping I have a drake and a hen, because I'd love to get some ducklings if my hens would set on those eggs too.

    Thanks y'all!

  2. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    1 - I don't think you want the male eating layer food (he's the one with the curl on his tail), but for 4-5 months, layer food is fine for the female. The male I'd just get a flock raiser to feed. Also set out some crushed oyster shell in a small dish and the female will eat that when she wants - it will help build stronger shells when she starts laying.
    2 - I would expect new ducks to stick close, but I really have no clue, I got mine as ducklings and it took a while for them to get brave and explore further out on their own.
    3 - They don't need a pond, but your water set up sounds fine - enough to float around on for a bit and dunk and eat stuff off the bottom.
    4 - The curl suggests male. If one is a loud quacker, you have a girl. If the other has the curl and isn't so loud and kind of a raspy quack, he's the boy.
  3. RedfogsFlock

    RedfogsFlock Songster

    Jan 17, 2010
    Wittmann, AZ
    We had all our hens, roosters, geese, turkeys, and ducks. They all free ranged all day and cooped at night. They all slept in the same coop, and they all hung out together all day. I use flock raiser and everyone eats together too. I never seperated anyone. BUT when I fed I kept water right next to the feed so the ducks wouldn't get drop tongue as they call it.

    Your trough sounds fine, just keep in mind you'll have to change it often because ducks love to put dirt and rocks in their water. I change my ducks every other day and right now I only have two.

    If you have one with a curly feather that's the drake feather. Sounds like you may have a male and female.

    We had five acres for ourd birds and they roamed every bit of the five acres. All our birds did not just the ducks.

    Enjoy your ducks we love ours!!!
  4. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Songster

    Aug 31, 2009
    The eating behavior that you see is either ok or not. They do kind of bob around while eating, but if it is exaggerated and really looks like choking, I'd be worried. Maybe there is a video of ducks eating on here that you can compare to. Also, how close is water to where they eat. Mine eat a bit, go drink, eat, drink, etc. Don't put the water too close or they will make a mess of it, but it should be pretty accessible.
    Hope this helps and it was nice of you to take in the two duckies. But on the other hand, this is why I hate kids getting ducks, chicks or bunnies for Easter [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  5. mystkblu

    mystkblu In the Brooder

    Aug 3, 2011
    SW Colorado
    My ducks and chix have always been housed together and have done fine! (Altho I noticed my tiny New Hampshire Red thumping my welsh female today.... I'll have to keep an eye on that). All of the birds are free range withing the confines of my farm. My pekins were amazing ducks. Very very hardy and they cruised everywhere.

    I got them free from a friend after the Easter ducklings grew up into something that required care. [​IMG] I ended up with 5 drakes! They established a pecking order quickly but we always had dominance issues. We lost a few to predators because The Boys never wanted to go to bed in a safe place despite my best efforts. I loved those ducks to pieces. They had amazing personalities and were wonderful at keeping our ditches clean and free of burrowers. And they LOVED snow!!!!

    I was devastated when a bobcat scaled the pen and killed everything inside one night in January. She killed every duck and chix and didn't eat one of them, and then kicked the goats out of their shelter with the heat lamp and moved right in. She didn't last long once I found her tho. I'm sorry about laying the heavy story on you, but it illustrates how much those pekins changed my life! They are great birds! I've moved on to Magpies, Rouens, Welsh Harlequins and Muscovy. I really really want to do Cayugas next! But I wouldn't hesitate to take another pekin if one came my way.

    I've always fed crumbles. Never had any luck with pellets in any size or shape (my chix flat out refuse to eat a pellet). Ducks do make dorky had and neck movements when they eat but I think choke would be really obvious as the animal became distressed. I've never noticed them cough while eating tho. They could be gorging and trying to eat too much too fast, or the food could be larger than they are used to.
  6. DurhamDuck

    DurhamDuck Songster

    Mar 26, 2011
    Durham, Connecticut
    Our flock is 4 months old and they have grower pellets (15%) at night only. They free range during the day on pond in a fenced in area.
  7. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

    Apr 27, 2011
    Browntown, VA
    I have 2 Pekin drakes, 5 mallards, and 4 hens. I am feeding ducks the Layena pellets because they last longer and don't get wasted. Make sure your ducks have water near their feed. Mine all free-range during the day, and like bugs and whatnot.

    Ducks are hogs. You may want a separate duck house. They like to get under things, and like a mess. [​IMG]

    With 23 acres of lake and ponds on this farm, my ducks stay in their $15 baby pool. You will need to change water often, so consider putting a drain / plug in the bottom. [​IMG]

    My Pekins don't allow my hens to feed with the duck flock. I would say you are very fortunate if all your birds get along well. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011

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