Best duck for my scenario

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by whattheduck, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. whattheduck

    whattheduck Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
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    I'm a newbie to this forum but have spent the past couple nights scouring the threads and reading up. This place is an awesome resource!

    I have raised several mallard ducklings in my lifetime that have been separated from their mama or eggs incubated because the mama was killed. I have such fond memories! I was considering getting chickens for laying fresh eggs and through my research think ducks might be a better fit for me, mainly because of my fondness for them. With that being said I am trying to do my "homework" before making the big leap but still having a difficult time honing in on the right breed and how to find that breed near me if possible. The white layer, khaki, muscovy, and mallard are all breeds that appealed to me but for different reasons. I'm hoping someone can take a look at my information below and make some recommendations about a breed that might be best suited to me.

    I live on 1/3 acre completely fenced in on the east coast in Norfolk, VA (fenced in except for the waterfront. I live on a very large tidal pond (or small lake). The water is slightly brackish and there are other wild ducks and geese that live in the neighborhood and swim on the pond.

    I would like ducks that are for egg laying but that are also friendly. I have such fond memories of previous ducklings that have followed me around and enjoyed being with me.

    I have a dog that may or may not chase ducks if it is loose in the yard. Of course my hope is that they would be friendly towards each other but I need to assume not. I have plan in place for keeping everyone safe, mainly that I'm able to manage this by letting the ducks loose during the day when the dog is kenneled inside while I'm at work. However because of a potential "accident" I'm wondering of a duck with the ability to fly would be a better option for their safety. At the end of the day the duck safety is the most important to me above egg laying.

    If I happen to have ducks that fly off I would be sad, but I think that as long as it could survive on its own (or return to me if it wanted) Id be okay with that as I have truly enjoyed just raising them before in past and they have always flown off when they were ready.

    Sorry for the rambling, Id love to hear your advice and suggestions. I am sooooo eager to learn and find my ducks!

    Thanks, Adrienne
     
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    All ducks are good. You can't make a mistake.

    The egg layers are Khaki Campbell, Welsh Harlequin, Runner, Golden 300 Hybrid.

    My Pekins started laying almost a full month before anyone else and laid an enormous egg a day from each and every one of them. Pekins tend to be very sociable. I don't know if they lay all year or have a season. They aren't famous for being egg layers, so I was surprised

    Appleyards are very calm and lay almost as many eggs as the egg laying breeds.

    My personal opinion is that the Welsh Harlequin are the most beautiful of the egg layers. Runners are motors that rev on high all the time, but they are also very comical and amusing to watch.

    You can train that dog to leave the ducks alone if you start right off the bat, never leave the dog unattended with the ducks, and not ever allow it to learn to chase. A few weeks of careful supervision and the dog can learn to leave them alone
     
  3. whattheduck

    whattheduck Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Norfolk, VA
    Oregon - thanks for the response.

    I have hopes of being able to train the dog, his name is Hummer and he is a sweetheart. However he is whippet which is a sight hound similar to greyhounds. He's very well trained and under supervision I think would be fine, I'm just scared about the "what if" scenarios with a husband and 2 kids.

    I'm also trying to think through the care plans I would need to have in place if we left for a weekend. I'd be curious to know what others do for short trips away. Do I need to make sure I have a neighbor kid that can come daily?

    Its because of short trips away and the dog I keep leaning towards mallards or Muscovy, in my mind their flight abilities enable them to be a bit more self sufficient and able to flee predators easier.

    Just like a typical newbie I just want to be sure I'm thinking it through well.
     
  4. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Hi!

    [​IMG] Duck Forum!

    Friendliness seems to me to be a function of how they are raised. Time with the ducks makes a big difference. So do bribes.

    Can't say much about the dog except you are wise to be aware of the risk. And I think you can manage it, but you may have to have a serious heart to heart with the family. Maybe show them some of the stories from the Duck Forum about the results of dog maulings. Sounds heavy, but it's really really heavy to lose a duck who trusted your care.

    I find fence to be my friend. Before we got our Runners, there was not one foot of fence on our place (about an acre).

    We now have the Day Pen, the upper garden, the tea garden, and the forest garden, all fenced. I used temporary fence to protect plants at certain times of the year. I am about to fence off some blackberries to lower the risk of bumblefoot. Half inch hardware cloth is also a blessing.

    I am not convinced that a domestic duck that flies will be that much better off leaving the homestead. It is used to being fed and sheltered and just may not be able to figure out all that on its own, without its own flock. It may turn out okay, but maybe not. So I don't know that I would consider that a benefit, and I am not sure it would keep the duck safe from a fast-moving dog anyway. Sitting ducks are vulnerable, as are dining ducks, drinking ducks, sleeping ducks.

    Ditto Oregon Blues about the good egg layers, from what I hear. I have nine Runners and two Buffs and they are all champion layers, all sweet, and half of them are fine with being petted and sometimes held. All of them are very fine with treats, like lettuce and peas. As far as Runners' reputation for being high strung, I just don't see it. Mine are active, and that's great. We walk around the gardens, but when I need to lock them into the Day Pen (160 sf), they are okay. If they know I am in the house, sometimes they will call for a few minutes for me to come out and play.

    Keep looking, keep asking, and I hope everything works out very well for you, your family, and possible future ducks.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My greyhound is fine with the ducks.
    So is my doberman.
    so is my great dane.

    The doberman and greyhound where here before the ducks. Ducklings arrived, I let the dogs check them out. They poked their nose in to investigate, ducklings snapped their nose. Each time. Dogs decided those ducklings weren't worth investigating any more.
    One of the ducks now chases the dogs around the yard (because she's tired of being ignored by them to the point of being run over by them a few times because they just don't care about them being out there).
    My greyhound and dobe have full access to the yard with the ducks while we are away. The dane has access when we are home.

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    Like Amiga, my runners are friendly girls. Noisy this week, but friendly, and hopefully they got the noise out of their system again. Tis the season I guess...
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2012
  6. whattheduck

    whattheduck Out Of The Brooder

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    Norfolk, VA
    @TLWR - THANKS FOR SHARING THE PICS! LOVE EM! You have great taste in dogs. I have a best friend with a greyhound and great dane. They and my whippet LOVE to play together, she is also a big supporter of my getting ducks. We've already discussed trading pet sitting services for duck eggs!

    Anyways, thank you for your input. I was hoping to hear from some people who started with dogs and added ducks. The kids are 9 and 12 and are actually my step kids. They have had little in the way of gardening, farming, wildlife,etc but show a GREAT interest in it and its been a great to bond with them over more "rural" things I know about. They've had fun with worm composting and were eager to help me raise a duckling that was found in our neighbors pool last spring. So I agree a serious talk is in order and I think this will be a good experience for all. Plus I've been WAITING to buy a home where I could do these sort of things.

    Ducks, gardens, beehives.... oh my!!!

    This has all been great advice and has allowed me to think a little broader in terms of breeds. I geeked out on BYC and the library for about 4 hours tonight reading as much as I could.

    I'll make sure to share pictures when the day comes :)
     
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Southern New England
    Hey, I haven't looked . . . is there a bee forum around here somewhere? (Gotta go see).

    [​IMG]
     
  8. PetesMom

    PetesMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a boxer, whom has a stupidly high prey drive....he caught a wild turkey last spring, he was 4yrs old when we brought the ducklings into the picture. Yes I was worried and he was never left unsupervised with them. He took to them instantly! LOVED sitting next to the tote they were in and watching them, then we would let them all run around the room. He LOVED them. We only kept one of those ducklings out of the bunch and he is still best friends with them. Here are some pictures of when they were little and now
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    Them now...
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  9. whattheduck

    whattheduck Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Norfolk, VA
    I looked under Other Livestock and Pets and looks like there have been some threads in the past couple years but nothing recent. Bees are my next project after I get the duck coop and garden underway.
     
  10. whattheduck

    whattheduck Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Norfolk, VA
    I'm loving all the pictures of ducks and dogs. Hes a very well trained doggie, so there might be hope! Fingers crossed!
     

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