Before You Get a House Duck...

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by HondaGirl507, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. HondaGirl507

    HondaGirl507 Just Hatched

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    Apr 10, 2017
    Hey guys :) I know those of us who own house ducks are few and far between, but for those who are curious or who may be thinking about getting a duck to keep in the house...

    Things to Know Beforehand:

    1. Depending on the breed and sex, ducks can be loud. Consider this if you live in an apartment.

    2. They need companionship. If you aren't able to spend the majority of the day with your duck, you should get a second duck so they can keep each other company.

    3. They poop. A LOT.

    4. They make a mess in their enclosure.

    5. They have a lot of dust/feathers that get everywhere, especially as they are growing and/or molting.

    6. This is a lifelong commitment. Ducks can live for 10+ years.

    7. You can NOT release your duck into the wild.


    Choosing a Breed:

    Ducks come in all shapes and sizes. Make sure to thoroughly research breeds before purchasing a duck. Also know that females tend to be louder than males.

    What I did: I chose a male Cayuga duck. They are medium-sized, can't fly, and are quiet.

    Enclosure:

    You will need an enclosure of some sort to house your duck at night or when you are unable to watch him/her. The bigger the better, of course. Ducks make a huge mess when it comes to their food and water, and they poop a lot. If you are building your own enclosure, I suggest using some sort of laminate flooring to cover the bottom and sides. This will insure easy clean up and no chance of mold.

    What I did: I had some old wooden doors in my basement that I used to make the sides of Steve's enclosure. I then used floor laminate to cover the bottom and sides. To cover the corners and seams of the laminate, I used caulk (I let the caulk cure for 2 days).

    Heat:

    Ducklings: The enclosure needs to be about 90 degrees for the first week. As each week progresses, the temperature can be lowered 5 degrees until they are fully feathered.


    Bedding:

    You don't necessarily need any special bedding for ducks. You can use puppy pads, pine shavings, towels, paper towels, or newspaper.

    What I do: I used paper towels in the beginning, but found that it became rather expensive. Now, I get day-old newspapers from my workplace.

    Cleaning:

    The enclosure should be cleaned every day. The amount per day really depends on how often you let your duck(s) out. Be sure to clean out the food dish daily, as the food tends to get soggy and you don't want mold to develop. Also, clean out the water dish 1-2 times a day as well. Don't fret about keeping the water continuously clean; ducks like to take a bite of food and immediately wash it down with some water, which results in dirty food-water.

    What I do: In the morning, while Steve is in the bath, I clean his cage. I roll up the newspapers, then take a handheld broom and dustpan and sweep out the enclosure. I then lay down newspaper and clean out and refill his food and water dishes. I do this 2 times a day. Once a week, I take warm soapy water and a scrubber and deep-clean his enclosure and vacuum the entire room.

    Bathing:

    Ducklings: Since ducklings don't have their oil or feathers yet, they are not "waterproof" and can drown easily. When they are babies, you can give them a bath in a few inches of water for a short period of time. After the bath, be sure to either towel dry them gently or allow them to dry off under a heat lamp. As they get older, you can, of course, increase the depth of the water and the bath time, but they still need to be watched and dried off.

    Adult Ducks: They don't necessarily need to swim, but provide them with water to play and bathe in at least once per day.

    Food:

    Age 0-2weeks 2-8weeks 8-20weeks First Egg
    Protein Level 18-20% 16-18% 15-16% 16-18%
    (I borrowed this table from jdywntr's Raising and caring for ducklings thread.)

    Ducklings: Ducklings can be fed starter feed or mash. The feed does not need to be specifically for ducks (you can use chick, turkey, etc. starter). Do NOT give ducklings layer feed, as it contains too much calcium. You CAN give ducks medicated feed. Amprolium is safe for ducklings.

    Adult ducks: Again, what you feed them does not need to be made specifically for ducks. The type of feed you decide to use is really up to you. Feel free to do some research on the forums to see what others recommend.

    Grit: If you are feeding your duckling/duck anything besides their normal feed, you need to provide them with grit.

    Treats: Nettie has a great list of treats here.

    Water:

    Ducklings: Babies can easily drown, so a shallow dish or a dish that they can't get in to is ideal. As they grow, the dish will need to get deeper because ducks need to be able to submerge their entire bill. If they have feed, they need access to water as well.

    Adult Ducks: Again, the water needs to be deep enough for them to submerge their entire bill. This is so they can clean out their nostrils. If you give them feed, they need access to water as well.

    Supplements:

    Niacin: There is debate on whether ducklings/ducks need to be provided Niacin. Their feed (whether it's chick feed, duck feed, etc.) should already contain Niacin. However, if you begin to notice any leg/foot issues, Niacin is the first step in treatment. Brewer's Yeast, Nutritional Yeast, or Niacin pills can be used.

    Vitamins: You don't need to provide ducklings/ducks with vitamins and/or electrolytes, but they can only benefit from it. Dosing depends on what brand you buy, and it can be added to either their feed or their water.

    Diapers and Harnesses:

    Ducklings: SewSammi is the only person that I know of that sells diapers made for little ducklings. Otherwise, you can be creative and make your own. You can Google DIY duck diaper to get some ideas.

    What I did: I used a sock with a menstrual pad to make a diaper for Steve.

    Adult Ducks: There are a few people/places that sell duck diapers for adult ducks. Nettie (PartyFowl {her website is currently under construction} and Hen Saver), SewSammi, and Avian Fashions are the most popular. Again, you can Google some patterns and make your own if you're crafty.

    What I do: I bought a diaper harness from Nettie's Hen Saver website, but, since Steve is still growing, it's too big for him. I have been making my own diaper harnesses, even though I am a terrible seamstress and they turn out ungodly ugly.
     
    CarleeAnn likes this.
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2017
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    :lau
     
  3. luvmyduck

    luvmyduck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wish I would have seen this thread 3 yrs ago. Although not a pro still, I've had to figure Crackers out, lol.
     

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