Age to pasture ducks unsupervised?

Tahai

Songster
8 Years
Dec 18, 2011
474
17
141
North-Central Pennsylvania
Hello, duck lovers who use pastures not pens.

At what age do you feel comfortable allowing your ducks outside in pasture while you are at work?

My WH and Cayugas are 5.5 wks old right now, and living in the duck house. They are currently pastured in the evenings for a few hours when I get home.

I have an electric poultry net fence (2 joules). There are 2 small hemlocks for them to shelter under. Most likely potential daytime predators are hawks and eagles, neighborhood dogs, and feral cats (unlikely, but possible).

Thanks for your input,

Tahai
 

Miss Lydia

~Gift of God ~ Eternal Life ~John 3:16
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Oct 3, 2009
115,495
135,440
1,962
Mountains of Western N.C.
Hello, duck lovers who use pastures not pens.

At what age do you feel comfortable allowing your ducks outside in pasture while you are at work?

My WH and Cayugas are 5.5 wks old right now, and living in the duck house. They are currently pastured in the evenings for a few hours when I get home.

I have an electric poultry net fence (2 joules). There are 2 small hemlocks for them to shelter under. Most likely potential daytime predators are hawks and eagles, neighborhood dogs, and feral cats (unlikely, but possible).

Thanks for your input,

Tahai
Unless you have adults with them I'd wouldn't free range at that age, but I am very protective too.
 

Apyl

Songster
Feb 5, 2012
1,400
46
191
Necedah, Wi
My ducklings were about 4 weeks old or maybe just under when I started open ranging them. I also have them with 24 chicks that are a week older. I have no adults and no fences. We have a few acres in the woods. My oldest duckling is a Pekin so grew very fast and large, she kinda became watch dog and would/will quack like crazy when anything is amiss. They are all now 12 weeks old for the chicks , 11 weeks for the pekin, 10 weeks for 2 mallards, and 8 weeks for 5 more mallards. Plus the 3 week old baby but she's not outside yet. So far the only loss I've had was a silkie drown in the ducks pool. But other than that all is well.
 

Tahai

Songster
8 Years
Dec 18, 2011
474
17
141
North-Central Pennsylvania
Apyl, thanks. Being in a wooded lot, do they have quite a bit of brushy cover to dive under? Being pastured, rather than free range, my ducks are a bit like fish in a barrel if something gets in with them.
 

lynnechrista

In the Brooder
7 Years
May 3, 2012
21
0
22
I've been wondering the same thing. We have 16 full grown hens, 1 full grown muscovy mix (female) and a male mallard call duck. We let them free range in the pastures, yards, etc. We also have 12 almost 5 weeks old Pekins. I wonder when it is okay to let them explore and also when it is okay to let them swim without supervision.
 

Apyl

Songster
Feb 5, 2012
1,400
46
191
Necedah, Wi
Apyl, thanks. Being in a wooded lot, do they have quite a bit of brushy cover to dive under? Being pastured, rather than free range, my ducks are a bit like fish in a barrel if something gets in with them
Most of my yard around the house is open but there are trees, a trampoline, the coop is always open, the front porch, and a goat house (unoccupied at the moment) to run into if needed. Here is some pics of where they wander.






 

CelticOaksFarm

Family owned, family run
10 Years
Sep 7, 2009
12,307
274
323
Florida - Space Coast
We let them into runs at 4 weeks old on the ground. Before they are in raised pens outside. Around 6 weeks they get the pen door opened so they can run around with everyone else. We have two great Pyrenees, multiple adult ducks, goats and the geese and chickens out with them.

It's more of a what you are comfortable with doing with your location and predator threats. With that said if you pasture, you accept there will be losses. If you don't want losses then you build a fort Knox house and run that is both covered and wrapped in hardware cloth to prevent predators from getting in.
 

Triplell

Songster
8 Years
Dec 29, 2011
877
23
136
Brainerd, MN
I wondered that myself but I put them out just as they are growing feathers. They don't get to get wet(swim) unless I'm there. I have a pen made with dog kennel panels that they go into after 5 weeks of being in the barn. I have a hatchiling brooder for 2 weeks then they go to the barn brooder. That pen is 8x12 and gets alternated between ducks and chicks. The chicks go in first then the ducks then fresh bedding. The outside brooder is covered on three sides as we have alot of wind,rain right now. When the ducklings have around 50% feathers then they go out with the adults. We too have many preditors but I have a pair of geese in each adult pen and they seem to deter the arial assults so far.
 

what the cluck

In the Brooder
7 Years
Feb 11, 2012
13
0
22
I have heard of some people using "guard" geese. Geese are very loud by nature, and having one around can sometimes scare off the less determined predators. This is by no means foolproof though, and you should do whatever feels right to your comfort level.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom