Beginning the "research" phase

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by michellers, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. michellers

    michellers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been floating the idea of having ducks past my husband over the last year or so. He has finally warmed up to the idea - warmed up more than he has about any other crazy idea I have had and eventually had to "have a fit" in order to go forward with my idea (i.e. my first motorcycle, adopting a Great Dane, etc.). No fit necessary this time - wow!

    We have agreed on a location - behind our attached garage, but within our 5-foot high chain-link fence for our dogs. We only have two exterior water locations, and our desired spot would allow for easy access to water. It also is near electrical and an established artificial lighting source. It's on the east side of our house, which would have morning and afternoon sun, but would be sheltered with shade from the garage as the sun goes down. Is that enough natural sunlight? We can definitely utilize artificial, which is why we chose that location if there are not enough daylight hours.

    I like the idea of building it within our fenced in yard (we have 2.75 acres, but we also have many predators in the area and another barrier seems like a smart idea). Our dogs are indoor dogs, but the fenced in yard is their domain for bathroom and play time when we are not supervising them off-leash on the rest of our property. Do I need to worry about ducks and dogs being close to each other? We plan on building a completely sectioned off place for the ducks and supervising our dogs as they get used to the idea of sharing the space. Our dogs are used to cats, a ferret, and a chinchilla (although those last two have their own bedroom and are around the dogs ONLY when supervised). I don't want to stress out our future ducks, but it seems like the only logical location.

    Our current design idea is something similar in shape to what I posted below, but larger/taller (so we can walk in it). Completely contained, but ground access. Adding a pond (right now I have a couple kiddie pools our dogs consider a big water dish and have no interest in it other than that). I'd like the pond to be set higher (off the ground) to allow for drainage.

    [​IMG]



    I'd like to have paneling on the roof to help with rain/snow. We live in Wisconsin, so we do have snowy and cold winters. We have a sunroom with a separate furnace and tile floor. That is my "Plan B" if temperatures get to a dangerous point outside for our future ducks, but I have read in a few books and online about ways to help them cope with winter.

    As of now, I like the idea of having two female ducks. Is that realistic? Or do ducks need more "friends"? I'm interested in egg laying ducks, but don't necessarily need a large quantity of eggs yearly.

    What are some good resources as I move forward in my research/planning phase? I checked a few books out from the library - Storey's Guide to Raising Ducks and a few others I don't have in front of me. I've been lurking on this website too.

    Any tips for a beginner? I like to research things to death so I am fully prepared. I don't know anybody who owns ducks, otherwise I would be hounding them for tips/suggestions. Anything you wish you would have done or that you learned after having ducks for awhile?

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  2. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With that design, add a gutter to the pond/pool for "free" water.

    We have dogs and ducks. Started with a greyhound and doberman. The ducklings were raised around them and the dogs learned to leave the ducks alone as each time they poked their nose too close, the ducklings nipped their nose. They were quick learners.
    Then we added a 1 year old great dane. She was trust worthy after a week of working with her - her previous home had cats and ferrets. She initially thought they were more things to play with, but soon realized they were mine and not for her to bother.
    The dogs and ducks share the back yard. Dogs get to playing like crazy and the ducks have to run for cover so they don't get squashed, but for the most part, the dogs are mindful of the ducks and go around instead of through them.


    This is the pond we built ~1000 gallon raised
     
  3. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    wrong button...

    raised pond -
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/496237/building-a-pond-step-by-step-mostly-complete-post71


    2 females will work fine. I started with 3. Had 2 for a while and then added 3 more, so I'm at 5 now.



    Dogs and ducks.... dogs LOVE duck poop. Mine lick it off the side walk. The greyhound will stick her nose under a duck to see if they've left a recent deposit.
    Dogs LOVE duck eggs. The greyhound has figured out how to get into the duck house and checks for eggs each morning. The other 2 are a bit too big to fit through the door, but the greyhound decided the eggs are worth her having to scrunch down her old body to get in the door.


    For duck house - take into consideration how to clean it. When we made the bigger house to add more ducks, we used trek flooring to hose out easily with a small space between each piece (screw spacing). I cut out a section and put hardware cloth on the floor and installed a water dish over it. So most of the water just goes right out and doesn't soak the floor.
    Roof opens - one side, 2 sections, Open one side to hose it out and snag eggs. Other side if they lay an egg outside their nest bins or to change out the water.


    For 2 ducks - you won't need something big. Not to say don't go big - you can always add more!
    But our first 3 (indian runners) were in a dog house kit from lowes. Was a good size for them. Lid lifted for easy daily cleaning with the hose.

    As you are brooding the buggers... water management is key.
    Ducks love water (usually). My last 3 ducklings HATED it when they were little, but love it now. Currently they are standing in a huge puddle from the storms this morning snoozing away.
     
  4. michellers

    michellers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ha! I was showing my husband your pond last night! Especially with a GD!

    This is my oldest GD, Delilah. She is a big couch potato.
    [​IMG]

    And Lola, my younger GD, playing with our oldest Beagle.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It looks like you are working your way toward a good plan. I love Storey's Guide. You may want to consider getting 3, just in case tragedy strikes it will not leave you with 1 lone duck. You will be able to go with basically whatever breed strikes your fancy. You can always give excess eggs to a friend that bakes, they are great for that. I wouldn't worry about a light source in the house unless you plan on brooding them out there. With your winters you may need an electicity source for a heater for the water.

    The only thing I would advise is to NOT get straight run ducklings. Order sexed ducklings then you know for sure. If you don't want to order via mail from a hatchery then you'll need to get older ducks that you know are girls.

    With the dogs, you already have a leg up as they are used to smaller animals. No unsupervised time until they are trustworthy and the ducks are a bit older. Ducklings are little and large dogs can injure them unintentionally by stepping/sitting on them.

    I am thrilled to see someone thoroughly researching beforehand. [​IMG] I'd read through the books that you've got, decide which you like best and buy a copy to have on hand. Decide where you want to brood them (if you get ducklings) get your duck house built (if you are brooding them in there) and all of your supplies. Then get ducklings.
     
  6. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We used to have danes. We lost them a number of years ago the first at 7 yrs, the second at 8.5 yrs.
     
  7. michellers

    michellers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 10, 2013
    Wisconsin
    And something like this to elevate a pool and for drainage.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. michellers

    michellers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 10, 2013
    Wisconsin
    What's the best flooring for a duck coop? I was originally thinking the grass/ground, but I imagine after some time, there will only be dirt left. Can I use gravel to help with hosing everything down? What is something soft to put over gravel to make it more comfortable for ducks to get around? Hay?
     
  9. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Somerville, AL
    I've only had earthen floors but I've only had ducks in FL and AL so we don't get cold for long. Something easy to clean is best. Concrete would probably be the ultimate but is expensive.

    You can use gravel, you want several inches deep and use smallish rounded pebbles. Like river rocks. You want to stay away from the sharp type stones as they can cause foot problems. Basically if you can walk on it comfortably barefoot than it should be okay.
     
  10. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our old dog pen turned duck pen (used to have their pool before the pond, their house and their food (now just food) has pea stone in it. It works ok for them to walk on and snooze on at times. They sometimes hang out in there at night until I walk them to bed.
     

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