Best time of year and method to do "natural release"?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by duckduckturkey, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. duckduckturkey

    duckduckturkey Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011

    I'm sure the answer is.... it depends...

    but I thought I'd ask anyway. I have wanted ducks for a long time. My neighbors are out of town and I've been chicky sitting their chickens and it makes me want ducks all the more.

    I am married to a man who loves animals, but cannot abide pets. The compromise is, I can get ducks, I can feed them, but they have to house and protect themselves, no nest boxes, no fences, nada.

    We have a large back yard (an acre) that boarders on a heavily wooded area. Our yard is a mix of gone wild and what I bitingly refer to as the "embalmed" look, ie, the lawn is mowed and edged and designated areas are beat into submission. Can you tell I like wild?

    We have numerous man made ponds that are stocked with fish, and a wide variety of wet land plants, so the native look is beginning to set in (we've only been in this house two years.) I keep hoping ducks will show up un-invited, but thus far, no luck.

    What is the best way to attract and keep wild ducks and if they don't show up, what duck at what age is best suited for this arrangement, what time of year is best to purchase? The list of birds we have is wide and varied, from bush tits to wood peckers, sparrows to owls, numerous ones I don't know the names of to hawks and crows. But no ducks. I want ducks!

    I live in Portland, Oregon, so the weather can be just about anything just about anytime.
  2. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    Ok...totally releasing domestic ducks to fend for themselves is irresponsible. They will quickly become predator food. That being said, I think there is a compromise that can be reached if the spouse is willing.

    Get mallards and provide a floating island hutch. If you buy adults, you would have to pen them on the island for a week or two, providing them feed, until they recognized it as "home". Then you could ween them from the feed provided there is enough natural food sources.

    The island will keep them safe at night, and since mallard retain the ability to fly, they could (usually) fend for themselves in the daytime.

    Just make sure none of those ponds contain snapping turtles. The big ones will eat the ducks.
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    You might consider contacting your local wildlife rescue organization. They will often have feral breeds and be looking for release locations for them. They'll know the best way to do it, what breeds are best for your area, and so on.

    I strongly discourage you from raising ducks yourself under your current conditions. Ducks are highly, HIGHLY susceptible to predation and without nighttime protection, people-raised ducks will not last long. Your wooded area is full to the brim with raccoons, foxes, hawks, owls, possibly coyotes weasels maybe even bears... all hungry for a tasty duck dinner, and they WILL come out at night and they WILL stalk your birds.

    Also, you should know that waterfowl will tear up your nicely planned and laid out ponds. They will dig mud holes around the edges, tear up the plants, poo in everything, eat the fish, and generally turn everything into a mess.

    If, after all that, you still would like ducks or other waterfowl, again your best bet is going to find some rescues that need a release site, something that grew up in the wild and knows how to avoid predators.

    Good luck. Ducks are lovely to watch, and I wish you absolutely the best. Keep us updated.
  4. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    I think Iamcuriositycat has a great idea! See if your local rescue organization would like to use your pond as a release site. That way, you get the pleasure of having ducks around without having them being totally dependent on you for protection because their wild instincts will more likely be intact. They may or may not stay, though.
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    If it were me, I'd be considering exchanging that husband for another one who wasn't so eager to deny me something that I really wanted. I'd never be with a man who wouldn't "allow" pets.

    Find yourself a husband, not a substitute parent who controls what you do and what you want.
  6. goosedragon

    goosedragon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2009
    Central NC
    Quote:Another option is natural attraction. much like selling a home, If you have wild ducks that stay for a season in your area you can often offer them a place better than where they are living my neighbor claims that some of 'his' mallards have returned ffor 5 seasons, I know 'his' flock has grown each year. First he improved the duck appeal (they shop with flyovers so curb appeal doesn't apply). He raised some 'hummocks' short islands in a quiet inlet planted catails and rushes and a pool of duckweed (others were cutting the rushes and trying to keep out duckweed. The first fall he had a pair and what he tought were 4 of their young take up residence and he started to float duckfeed pellets in the area and slowly lured them on to his shore where he could watch them and they could get used to him. I'll give him credit he didn't overfeed they still had to live off the wild BUT every evening they would drift over to his place and eat the easy food that they found there. I think he cried in the spring when the ducks went North but was full of joy when they came back in the fall. So it can be done but only if the birds normally spend a season in your area,~gd He did miss out on the babies though they were well started when he first saw them.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  7. duckduckturkey

    duckduckturkey Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011
    Quote:I would not say he's intentionally controlling. There are certain situations he does not handle well. We've done the "pet" thing in the past, and I have learned from experience, pet ownership causes he undue stress. Seeing an animal penned, makes him feel penned, and his anxiety level soars. I would consider it an act of cruelty to force him into a situation he does not handle well. If I wanted to travel the world visiting ducks in the wild, he would gladly go with me, but for him, to have an animal, any animal not be free is just too much for him to handle. Similiarly, I don't do well with his friends visiting all hours of the day and night, and he has agreed to be considerate and he has had to learn there are some people I do not handle well, and if he wants to see them, he has to do so on their turf or when I'm not home. There are those who would consider me controlling, while from my view point, I just want to sleep in peace. I believe marriage is about learning how to compromise and do trade offs.
  8. bullyforme

    bullyforme Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2011
    Trololo farm
    Quote:Good for you! [​IMG]
  9. duckduckturkey

    duckduckturkey Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011

    There are so many excellent posts here, I don't know who to thank first, so I guess I just say "Thanks Everyone!"

    I have a few questions:

    I've seen floating islands, but I don't know how large one would have to be to accommodate a pair of ducks. Any guesses?

    Also, while we have several ponds, none of them are that big - seven feet across at the most. I've been thinking of getting one of those above ground swimming pools that seem to be so popular these days and making it a duck a haven. I might make that a separate post, because I'd appreciate feed back on it.

    Yes, I know ducks are destructive, but honestly, have you ever grown water plants? At the rate of growth they are capable of, they need something to munch them down! One six inch plant last season spread and took over the entire pond in about two months. I would consider a duck a free landscaping service!

    I'm about three miles from the Audubon Society so maybe I'll wander their way and see what they have to say about it.

  10. FarmrGirl

    FarmrGirl MooseMistress

    Jul 1, 2009
    Southern Maryland

    I think that Iamcuriositycat is really onto something. Another option would be Muscovy. They can fly and there are lots of feral populations. I also find them to be slightly less destructive than the Mallard-type when it comes to drilling holes in the mud. They also don't quack and prefer to roost up high.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by