Beginning an "Unexpected" Backyard Flock of Rouen Ducks

DuckVenture

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
7
0
7
Upstate of South Carolina
Hi Everyone!

I have a bit of an unusual story. My son and I decided we wanted to raise Mallard ducks over the Spring/Summer months, releasing them in the wild at a nearby pond. Our local Tractor Supply store was currently selling them, so we decided to stop in and purchase about four. When we arrived, they had sold out of the Mallard ducks but had four Rouen ducks instead. Well, our family was new to the whole domestic vs. wild duck world, but I asked them numerous questions about the Rouen. They even said the Rouen duck migrates!! In our ignorance we purchased the four ducks and came home. Needless to say, we were quickly smitten. Over the next few weeks, I got to work doing extensive research on Rouens and quickly discovered that these were NOT a wild duck but a domestic duck usually raised for the purpose of meat or, in some cases, ornamental or show. Rouen ducks are apparently not good egg layers.

We were planning on raising the Mallards, releasing them, and then starting a small flock of chickens for eggs. However, now we really love our Rouens (and have become big duck fans!) and would love to keep them. We are now rethinking the idea of keeping ducks for eggs instead of chickens. I have read an enormous amount of literature on the benefits of ducks over chickens and it has steered us in a new direction, which brings me back to our beloved Rouens . . . After everything I read, they are truly not the ideal egg-laying duck. Also, once I know which ones are males, would I need to remove them from the flock so that any eggs the females lay would not be fertilized? I could replace any males with female Khaki Campbells, which are supposed to be great egg layers. We love ALL our Rouens, so I really don't want to let any of them go. Since we live in a rural area, I may be able to find homes for the males but I wish we could keep them all. However, our space is somewhat limited. Our coop can only hold up to five ducks, and we really had in mind raising them for eggs.

Any advice/input?

Thanks!!

DuckVenture :)
 

Anna6

Songster
6 Years
Jan 3, 2014
797
87
176
SoCal
Hi Everyone!

I have a bit of an unusual story. My son and I decided we wanted to raise Mallard ducks over the Spring/Summer months, releasing them in the wild at a nearby pond. Our local Tractor Supply store was currently selling them, so we decided to stop in and purchase about four. When we arrived, they had sold out of the Mallard ducks but had four Rouen ducks instead. Well, our family was new to the whole domestic vs. wild duck world, but I asked them numerous questions about the Rouen. They even said the Rouen duck migrates!! In our ignorance we purchased the four ducks and came home. Needless to say, we were quickly smitten. Over the next few weeks, I got to work doing extensive research on Rouens and quickly discovered that these were NOT a wild duck but a domestic duck usually raised for the purpose of meat or, in some cases, ornamental or show. Rouen ducks are apparently not good egg layers.

We were planning on raising the Mallards, releasing them, and then starting a small flock of chickens for eggs. However, now we really love our Rouens (and have become big duck fans!) and would love to keep them. We are now rethinking the idea of keeping ducks for eggs instead of chickens. I have read an enormous amount of literature on the benefits of ducks over chickens and it has steered us in a new direction, which brings me back to our beloved Rouens . . . After everything I read, they are truly not the ideal egg-laying duck. Also, once I know which ones are males, would I need to remove them from the flock so that any eggs the females lay would not be fertilized? I could replace any males with female Khaki Campbells, which are supposed to be great egg layers. We love ALL our Rouens, so I really don't want to let any of them go. Since we live in a rural area, I may be able to find homes for the males but I wish we could keep them all. However, our space is somewhat limited. Our coop can only hold up to five ducks, and we really had in mind raising them for eggs.

Any advice/input?

Thanks!!

DuckVenture :)

"Rouen ducks are apparently not good egg layers."

My rouen has been laying an egg a day including traumatic days like when her male rouen was killed and when she was moved from another owner to our home. She is actually a much better egg layer then any of my chickens or geese.
 
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Amiga

Overrun with Runners
10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,207
2,648
531
Southern New England
Thanks and welcome!

There is a rehoming forum here on BYC. Some people prefer an all-drake flock to avoid the concerns around egg laying.

If eggs are gathered daily, fertile eggs won't develop, by the way.

We have two flocks - a trio of a drake and two ducks who are all buffs, and a flock of ten, who are nine runners and one buff duck. Long story.

Anyway, glad you discovered that raise and release is not the way to go. Please keep us posted.
 

DuckVenture

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
7
0
7
Upstate of South Carolina
That's great to hear! Thanks for your input. Do you raise ducks for eggs? If so, how do you keep the eggs from being fertilized by the male. Do you have to keep the males separated from the females?
 

DuckVenture

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
7
0
7
Upstate of South Carolina
Hi Amiga,

I am glad to hear I may not need to oust my male/s!! It sounds like if we grab those eggs first thing every day, we will avoid having fertilized eggs. I did not know that. I appreciate the information!
 

JenifferHartman

Chirping
6 Years
May 22, 2013
90
14
53
Basehor, KS
If you have a drake in the flock, the eggs WILL be fertile but if they are collected daily, there will be no development and they can be eaten. Same for chickens. If you do not want fertile eggs separate the drake(s) from the flock.
 

JenifferHartman

Chirping
6 Years
May 22, 2013
90
14
53
Basehor, KS
I also have a female rouen in my flock of 4. Along with a Pekin, black swedish, and blue Swedish. No drakes as far as I know but its still early. We got them early March. Last year, I had 3 ducks (pekin, mallard and indian runner) that were killed by stray dogs and didn't have them long enough to get any eggs out of them. So hopefully this time around will be our first experience with duck eggs. :)
 

DuckVenture

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 17, 2014
7
0
7
Upstate of South Carolina
It's still hard to tell how many are males out of the four. I am starting to see some greenish hues on the top of the two larger ducklings heads. We suspect we have two drakes. They are the calmest and sweetest of the bunch!
 

DuckGrrrl77

In the Brooder
Apr 19, 2018
17
29
43
Something I wish I would have been told about as a new duck owner... beware of your male/female ratio - if you bought four and three end up male, your female could be killed by the males "overbreeding" her, to put it nicely, and speaking from personal experience. From what I've read there should be 4-5 females for every male, so we ended up building a second dwelling and separating our males and females rather than get more ducks. Good job on doing the research and putting in the work like a responsible duck owner should, and good luck to you and your new ducks!
 
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