Australian Spotted Duck?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by animalzoo, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. animalzoo

    animalzoo New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Jun 22, 2012
    Would an australian spotted duck be a good duck for meat and eggs (yes I'm aware everything would be smaller) in an urban backyard (so, quiet?). Also if so, does it matter which type of australian spotted duck?
     
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    43,519
    478
    486
    Dec 22, 2009
    The only Aussies I've seen were bantams. I doubt you'd get much meat off of them and I've heard they aren't the best layers. I've found bantam ducks to be just as loud if not louder than large breeds.
     
  3. Sweetfolly

    Sweetfolly Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,123
    21
    191
    Apr 17, 2009
    Kildare, Wisconsin
    The Australian Spotted duck is a bantam duck that comes in 3 color varieties: Greenhead, Bluehead, and Silverhead. They are seasonal layers (they only lay for a couple months in the spring) of small greenish eggs. They are LOUD. A female bantam duck can be louder than a rooster, and they can really get going with their "QUACK QUACK QUACK" during feeding time and whenever something startles them (i.e. - when a car drives by at night). And as far as meat goes, butchering and dressing them would probably be more effort than the 1-2 pound carcass would be worth by the time you raise them up. They're ducks, so they're messy. They will destroy your lawn, and make a muddy mess.

    If you're interested in a good meat/egg bird for an urban setting, I highly recommend Coturnix quail. The males can be somewhat loud, but the sound they make is so much like a wild bird that your neighbors likely won't mind or even notice. The eggs are tiny, but the females lay TONS of them and they're multicolored and speckled. Plus, they're adorable hard-boiled and used as a garnish. I used to slice them in half and put them in my home-made potato salad. You can keep quail in a raised rabbit-type cage with a "poop tray" to catch the droppings, and they're a breeze to clean up after. And they are great little meat birds. They're small, but they breed like rats if you let them - they have HALF the incubation period that ducks do and they grow out quick, so you'll never have a short supply, and you can butcher them in large batches. [​IMG]
     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    5,532
    187
    273
    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Just a casual rule of thumb: the smaller the duck is, the louder it will be.

    The only quiet ducks are Muscovy. They aren't small, but they make barely any noise at all. They are very good meat producers, but seasonal layers. They do have a long laying season and lay a lot of eggs during that season.

    Rabbits are good for meat in the city. They make no noise at all, and because they are raised in cages, they can be kept completely out of sight of the neighbors.
     
  5. Jack Speese

    Jack Speese Chillin' With My Peeps

    24
    1
    82
    Mar 14, 2010
    Agree with Sweetfolly about ducks. Although a wonderful bird, hardy, healthy, not bothered by bad weather, friendly, and fun, they are nevertheless messy and live up to the "waterfowl" in their name. One or two ducks will drain a drinking water container in an hour that will serve a flock of 25 chickens for a day, and make a mess doing it. They are not the bird of choice if space is limited. Most recommendations call for 10 to 25 square feet of space per bird, and during the sloppy winter months I'd definitely shoot for at least 25. While it's true that they can be noisy, if you want a breed that isn't try muscovies. They are practically mute. If you have the space, there probably isn't a better small livestock species you can raise. They brood and hatch their own eggs quite successfully and can have 2 or even more broods a year, depending where you live (although the spring brood is usually the largest). Another drawback to ducks is the fact that unfortunately they are the most helpless poultry species when it comes to predators. Although ducks could theoretically feed themselves in the summer if they have access to pasture, they are also readily picked off by hawks. A good fence goes a long way to stopping things like dogs, but it's hard to prevent aerial attacks unless the birds are confined, and then there's the space issue again.
    Also agree about Coturnix quail. Apart from the small size (which requires suitably sized drown-proof waterers and feeders) and the fact that you will need an incubator, they are one of the easiest birds to raise, a lot more so than the Bobwhite (which in my opinion can be rather difficult to raise, plus you need a game permit). Baby Coturnix are so cute, about the size of large bumblebees. One thing to be aware of, they are accomplished fliers within the first week of life and need to be housed in pens that they can't fly out of.
     
  6. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,427
    144
    169
    Apr 8, 2013
    Washington
    I keep feed in the feeder at all times and my Australian Spotted ducks free range in my yarrd so they are pretty content and quiet. They lay from March through October so their laying season is pretty long. The drakes are quieter than the hens but they are the reason the hens make noise at times. The hens will tell other hens off if they get too close to the drake they are running with so there are occasional squabbles that get noisy. If noise is an issue then stick with drakes.
     
    ThreeWillows likes this.
  7. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,427
    144
    169
    Apr 8, 2013
    Washington
    I sold the first ducklings and hatched a new batch today. Here is a picture of three ducklings boxed for travel to their new home. The middle one is a bluehead and the other two are greenhead. The one on the right hatched early so it is a couple days older than the other two. The eggs were set at the same time but this one must have been started when we found the nest.

    [​IMG]

    I had seven ducklings hatch today and two came from a nest of eggs a hen is sitting on because they were outside of the nest one day and I was not sure if they would survive so I put them in the incubator. I went out in the dark tonight and checked the eight eggs under her and only four out of the remaining eight are fertile. I could see movement in three of them when I looked with a flashlight (my candler is the plug in kind so it does me no good outside) so I am going to have to watch for them hatching tomorrow.

    I may be selling the hen with her ducklings so she can raise them and then start over with a different unrelated drake in order to start a new flock. I am not sure if I want to give her the two ducklings that are hers in the brooder or if I will just sell them with the other ducklings. I will need to check with the buyer who has been waiting for the ducklings to hatch to find out how many ducklings she wants. I have hatched ducklings in an incubator and returned them to the hen before but they were the last eggs to hatch, not the first. I need the hen to bond with the ducklings and the ducklings to bond with the hen for it to work and right now the ducklings are bonding with the other ducklings in the brooder.
     
  8. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,427
    144
    169
    Apr 8, 2013
    Washington
    I had two hens hatch ducklings so I have two mama ducks raising 15 ducklings together since I took the 4 blueheads away (my silverhead hen seems to have laid eggs in a couple different nests before I penned her with the silverhead drake). I am selling all the greenheads I hatch this year but these ducklings will stay with their mamas to raise and hopefully start a couple new flocks. I am keeping anything that looks bluehead to see how they feather out since I had some ducklings with lighter down feather out as greenheads last year and only one feathered out bluehead. I am wanting to have more colors but I won't be able to keep all the ducklings I raise. At least I can see how they feather and sex them before I decide which ones to sell and which ones to keep.

    Does anyone near the Pacific Northwest have purebred show quality Australian Spotted ducks? It would be awesome to find others and create unrelated pairs since I have all my greenheads together without separating the three lines (two drake lines are with the hens while the third greenhead line is separated from the main flock). Last year I got some oversized drake ducklings from someone who hatched eggs from two different people (I only kept one of the three drakes because he was the only one that was bantam sized) so I don't want to make that mistake again. I want to be sure everything originated from Holderreads so I don't get mixes that don't breed true. I need to be sure that my own ducklings will be high quality so I will be raising more this year before I sell them.

    I am cutting back on my greenheads to make room for blueheads and silverheads. I am letting more hens hatch and raise their own ducklings this year so the hens and ducklings can create starter flocks with unrelated drakes from the third line. These are such awesome little ducks that I am hoping more people start raising them so they will no longer be rare and endangered.
     
  9. Duck Drover

    Duck Drover Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,427
    144
    169
    Apr 8, 2013
    Washington
    I let the two mamas and 15 babies out of the safe pen today and they headed for cover under the lilacs.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Banjosan

    Banjosan Out Of The Brooder

    30
    0
    24
    Feb 20, 2014
    What is the incubation period for an Australian Spotted?
    Thanks!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by