Advice PLEASE!..Inherited 20 ducks?????

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by midwestmilkmaiden, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. midwestmilkmaiden

    midwestmilkmaiden Songster

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    Hello All!...
    SO.. the story goes that the other day..A good friend of mine was disrespectfully thrown out of his home.. He was raising chickens.. many ducks and horses.
    I have inherited the ducks!!!.. 2 muscovy (pardon the spelling..not sure if its right) drakes. 1hen and 14 of its little ducklings and 2more males.
    SO!!.. have never raised ducks before! But I do want to provide the best possible home for them! My friend is very loving of his animals .. but not the best provider!.. therefore I want to get them caught up on nutrition that's needed and what they would like as far as housing goes.
    Suggstions WELCOME! Ideas for treats to get them to trust me... special little tips.. housing necessities! Bring it on!..
    And Thank You![​IMG]
     
  2. TennesseeTruly

    TennesseeTruly Songster

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    OMG smack the stuffing outta the poster before me!!! UGH!

    Laurie
     
  3. Kyle85

    Kyle85 In the Brooder

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    Quote:hey atleast I offered some advice...you didn't offer anything! ;p

    btw I was joking with that link. I <3 ducks.
     
  4. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Well, that's one way of looking at the situation!

    I think that if you'd like to keep them, learn about Muscovies (they are really great birds), or, find ways to give them (some or all) better homes.
     
  5. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    You have 4 males and only 1 hen????

    You need to fix that ratio right now. I drake to 3 hens is good.
     
  6. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

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    Hi there! Congratulations! Aren't those baby scovies adorable?? (And please post pics!!)

    Okay, first thing you need is predator protection. They need some sort of enclosed space, especially at night, where they will not be prey to the dozens of things that like to eat them. I use a chain link dog run, with wire covering the top and bottom. They'll need shelter during cold weather, but for now just getting them safe from predators will be good enough--they don't need shelter during warm weather (but they *do* need shade--so if the area where their pen is to be is in the sun, make sure you provide shade all day long--this can be as simple as a tarp thrown over the pen). My ducks free range during the day and have had only occasional run-ins with predators. At night, even a momentary lapse in vigilance results in losses to predators about 50% of the time around here--percentages vary elsewhere, but it is pretty widely known that you absolutely will eventually lose ducks, maybe even ALL the ducks, if they are not adequately protected at night.

    If allowed to free range during the day, they will forage for a lot of their food. But it is still a good idea to provide them with a nice grower or maintenance ration--look at your local feed & seed store for chicken grower/finisher (this is not the same as grower/starter, which has a much higher protein percentage) or maintenance ration. Go for the lowest protein percentage you can find for the grown-ups, but you can provide a higher protein ration (such as a chick starter) for the babies--just make sure it is UNmedicated. To prevent the older ducks eating the chick starter, you can either build a small wooden platform that is too low for the grown-ups to crawl under (but high enough for the ducklings--this is called a creep feeder), or you can place the food inside a small cage (such as a dog crate or small animal cage) and provide an opening large enough only for the largest baby.

    If they are in poor condition from malnutrition, you can add some mashed boiled egg to their diet, and fresh greens are always a good idea for nutrition.

    They MUST have water at all times, Especially if you are feeding them. They don't have to have swimming water, but they appreciate it. A kiddie pool is a perfect place for water for the adults. The ducklings can drown, so you'll want to provide shallow drinking dishes for them, but deep enough for them to submerge their bills in (2-3 inches is probably about right). You will have to change the water daily, as they will get it VERY dirty.

    My brain just went fuzzy from exhaustion, and the toddler finally dropped asleep from exhaustion, and so I am going to bed. Someone please chime in and provide whatever I've forgotten here! [​IMG]

    Oops--forgot to add--if you use chain link, you will need something covering the bottom couple feet to prevent those ducklings from just wandering out and into the mouth of a waiting predator. You can line the bottom section with something as simple as window screening (the ducklings themselves won't challenge the barrier, so it doesn't have to be strong for their sake) or, if you want to protect against the potential for a predator to reach through the wire and grab a duckling (raccoons will do this--I've had it happen, and I've heard of chickens getting eaten straight through the wire, one bite at a time), you can line it with hardware cloth (a type of fine-mesh wire--not really a cloth at all--ask at the hardware store and they'll know what you mean).
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  7. Soccer Mom

    Soccer Mom Songster

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    Put the food and water in reasonable proximity to one another. Yes, they will make a mess of it, but ducks need to drink while they eat in order not to choke.

    And no matter what you do, they will find a way to soil their water. They love to play and splash in it. Just be resigned to cleaning it daily.

    Most of all, spend some time just sitting and watching them. Ducks are wonderful entertainment. I could sit out there and watch them splash and play for hours.
     
  8. midwestmilkmaiden

    midwestmilkmaiden Songster

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    Thank YOu for the tips!...
    I do have an enclosed shed for them to go into at night and i close the door so they are safe .. They do free range during the day.. or atleast starting to today, day 3 of having them. I think they're finally starting to feel safe enough to venture around!
    As far as the drakes go.. I am planning on finding new homes for half of them!
    Just one more question... is my little shed warm enough for them in the winter time?
    Thanks again!... [​IMG]
     
  9. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Should be. As long as they can get out of the wind, their down protects them.
     

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