A little Duck help

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Kidhenduckohmy, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. Kidhenduckohmy

    Kidhenduckohmy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two ducks. A Pekin and a Pekin mix. This is not our first time having ducks, BUT it is my first time wintering them. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
    So just a couple questions. I am putting them in our old, small chicken coop. It is abot 6' × 7' and 4' high. It is predator proof. Will the ducks walk in and out of their new house? Or will I have to put them in every night?
    I read to insulate the walls with hay bales, is this a good idea?
    There are three screen windows. I blocked two, but left the one window on the south side open for venting. It is a bit smaller than 2' ×2' . Is that too much venting for a duck?
    Do I have to keep feeding them duck food? Or can I feed them my chicken laying mash? The duck food is twice as expensive.
    Can you sex a duck?
    For winter I was not going to provide a pool. Is this okay?
    What else am I forgetting?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Mrs.H

    Mrs.H Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in the south so not much help. But there's been a few recent threads/discussions about raising ducks in the winter. I would look there for your answers. I can say I use flock raiser for my ducks or chicken layer bc I can not get duck feed. They do just fine on either one
     
  3. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in TX so I'm don't know about keeping one side open. I would imagine it will be good with the 1 side open. As for the pool, just as long as they are still able to dunk their heads in water you don't need the pool. I feed my guys chicken grower since we don't have duck food anywhere around here. Whatever you are feeding your chickens will be fine. If you have males and females I would not recommend layer though and you will need to switch to something without so much calcium. They may take to going in the coop at night right away or you may have to put them in there for a few weeks. I would throw a handful of peas or treats in there so they associate the coop with treats and want to go in there.
     
  4. Kidhenduckohmy

    Kidhenduckohmy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great about the food! My husband will be happy.
    I have been reading different sites about winterizing the coop, but same as everything else, there seems to be different ideas as to what is correct. Frustrating!
    Is there a way to tell if they are girls vs. boys?
     
  5. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 19, 2014
    Round Rock, TX
  6. gkroegman

    gkroegman New Egg

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    Aug 19, 2014
    So just a couple questions. I am putting them in our old, small chicken coop. It is abot 6' × 7' and 4' high. It is predator proof. Will the ducks walk in and out of their new house? Or will I have to put them in every night?
    Let them choose. They are wild animals and if they get cold, they will figure it out. I provide shelter for mine and even on the nastiest of days, they don't bother going inside. They will fatten up for the winter by eating more, and don't forget they have two layers of down feathers to keep them warm. As long as you provide an obvious place for them to get out of the elements (I have a plastic dog house that I put the food in, so they have to go in there to eat), they will do their own thing.


    I read to insulate the walls with hay bales, is this a good idea?
    Sure, hay is great. If they DO get cold (single digits or teens), they will use their natural instincts and build a nest out of the hay and probably cuddle to keep warm.

    There are three screen windows. I blocked two, but left the one window on the south side open for venting. It is a bit smaller than 2' ×2' . Is that too much venting for a duck?
    That's fine. They need a good amount of air flow. If they think the opening is too big, they will plug it up with hay.


    Do I have to keep feeding them duck food? Or can I feed them my chicken laying mash? The duck food is twice as expensive.
    Chicken feed is fine, but I would buy a bag of duck food and mix it together, which will make it last twice as long. Purina 25lb bag sells at tractor supply for 16$, I have two ducks that I feed every day, and a bag lasts me about a month. If you mix it, you will only have to buy duck food two or three times a year. May be a good idea for winter since they will try to fatten up and may need some extra proetin.

    Can you sex a duck?
    When they're young it's hard to tell, but the person who responded above is correct. Males will have a curly tail and be a little raspy.

    For winter I was not going to provide a pool. Is this okay?
    Just give them something big enough so they can dunk their entire head under the water, so they can drink and wash their sinuses.
     
  7. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in Maine and have wintered ducks for quite a few years. This is what I would suggest.
    As long as the ventilation is good, you can insulate with the hay bales.
    Mine head to their shed at night by themselves. Not all do that though. I would try putting them in and giving some peas as a treat at the same time each evening. They will quickly learn to put themselves inside.
    As far as the windows, can they get out of the wind and blowing snow and rain? That might be a problem with a window that size.
    As long as you have girls, they can eat the layer food, you can provide some cracked or whole corn also in the winter. It will help them make internal heat and keep them in good weight so the cold is not as hard on them. If you have a drake, I would not feed the layer pellets though. Not good for a boy.
    YOu don't need a pool, but I would at least give them a pan large enough for them to bathe in a few times a week. It is important to let them do this to keep feathers in good condition. Now we run a pool year round with a birdbath heater in it to keep them swimming and playing. They love it. Well, most do. I also use heated dog dishes to keep their water thawed. Remember, if you have frozen water and food out, they could possibly choke.
    Hope some of this helps.
     
  8. Kidhenduckohmy

    Kidhenduckohmy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two different ages. The oldest is about 5 months old. That is my pekin. The other is a couple months younger. It has black spots here and there. I ended up losing one duck so we had to replace it. Thats why they are a different age. I tried to show a video of them quaking, but I can not do it. They were not that cooperative anyways. Think I might have one of each? Neither one has a curly tail, but the younger one does sound softer/raspier than the older one.
    This may seem like a stupid question, but what kind of peas? Hard, canned or frozen?
    Thanks for all the information. I am more confident going through this winter.
     
  9. jtn42248

    jtn42248 Overrun With Chickens

    I can't even guess at gender at this point. But if one has a distinct Aflac like quack that is probably a female. As for peas...I give mine frozen peas in the summer time to help them cool off a little and low sodium canned peas at any time...they go nuts for those.
     
  10. veronicasmom

    veronicasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thawed peas is what I use. And if you do have a male and female pair, you can get some ground oyster shells for the female during laying season. Put them in a separate bowl for her and the drake will leave it alone. It is amazing that they seem to know when they need to eat.
     

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