Breed suggestions for Greece

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Ajones1369, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. Ajones1369

    Ajones1369 New Egg

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    Jan 22, 2014
    I'd like to thank responses in advance, I have little to no prior experience with ducks other than a short 3 month stay in France at a château restoration project.

    I now live in southern Greece and would like to raise some ducks for egg production (eggs large as Jumbo to Extra Jumbo) but could use assistance in selecting a breed best for the dry environment here. I don't mind if they are a little broody but they do need to forage well and lay consistently. I've included the climate data for a nearby village to help with the suggestions.

    ~~Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Day temperature in °C 15° 16° 17° 21° 25° 30° 32° 33° 29° 24° 20° 16°
    Night temperature in °C 8° 8° 9° 12° 15° 19° 22° 22° 19° 16° 13° 10°
    Water temperaturein °C 15° 14° 14° 16° 18° 21° 23° 24° 23° 22° 19° 16°
    Hours of sun per day 4.4 4.8 6.1 7.1 8.7 11.2 11.4 10.7 8.9 6.5 4.7 4.1
    Rainy days 13 10 10 8 4 2 1 2 3 8 10 13
     
  2. Ajones1369

    Ajones1369 New Egg

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    Jan 22, 2014
    Bueller?
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Welcome to the Duck Forum and [​IMG]

    Making plans for that hot and dry summer, here are my thoughts.

    While many of the smaller, productive, good foraging breeds don't need a full sized pond, for optimal health (laying is quite a high-demand activity for energy and nutrients), ducks need plenty of water to drink, to wash, and to cool down.

    I use 2'x3'x8" concrete mixing pans, heavy plastic. They are easily rinsed and drained, and the runoff water goes into the gardens to water and fertilize.

    Is there a capacity to store rainwater in a large cistern? Is there or can you plant a shady grove to protect them from heat? Adding organic matter to the soil will help the soil maintain moisture also. Their waste makes an excellent fertilizer. Their bedding makes wonderful mulch.

    In the winter, we are using at least about 12 gallons of water daily for drinking and food. They will start using their drinking water to wash, if they cannot get access to swim pans. That increases the daily water use a bit on the days they cannot get outside, like this week. The outside is just too cold for these littles, and I do not want to have to treat frostbite.

    In hot dry conditions, botulism is more of a risk, so watch that - water that stands too long in the heat develops the botulism organism rapidly, and that is often fatal. Be sure you know how to treat it as well as prevent it, since sometimes, things happen.

    (There is a sticky on toxin flushes I suggest you get a copy of.)

    I have runners, and they are a thrifty, energetic, good laying, good foraging breed. Of our nine, four get broody to some extent. While they tolerate heat up to about 90F pretty well, I am careful to keep them in shade, freshen the water around 2 p.m., and move them to a cool shelter if it gets warmer than that. A semi-subterranean shelter may be a good investment for you - a place that is reasonably cool in the heat could save little lives, and you could enjoy some time in there, too.

    Khaki Campbells are another breed I feel might work well for you, with similar characteristics to the runners.

    (This video on Greening the Desert may be of interest to you . . . )
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  4. Ajones1369

    Ajones1369 New Egg

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    Jan 22, 2014
    Thanks much, both Khaki and Runners are breeds I had considered.

    I have open permission from the land owner to do pretty much anything and the area I'm considering has an old concrete workroom I can convert into a roost just need to get a few children's pools or pans like mentioned and should be okay for water.

    If I wished to average about 10 eggs a day how my birds would you recommend for the Runners (from my reading the seem to forage best) and Khakis?
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Duck age will affect laying, in our first year everyone laid just about every day. As they age, and also I think due to new duck introductions, the flock takes up to 4 or 5 months to rest. And I think that is right and good. If I were keen on keeping egg production up, I would add probably 4 or 5 new ducks to the flock every three years till I got up to maybe a couple dozen or so, I need to think about that some more.

    Spring, summer and fall with twelve ducks (nine runners, three buffs), we get seven or eight, sometimes twelve eggs a day. And that's with 3.5 year old ducks. Their first year, the runners all laid every day from midsummer (when they were first old enough to lay) for 14 months.

    So keeping a mixed age flock with about half as many more ducks as you want eggs is what I would aim for, and refine the system as you go. Things happen.

    Above all, keep them safe, safe, safe. Predators that one never conceived could be a problem (including humans) will show up and test your security system. Last early spring I found odd footprints in the snow. When I looked them up, they matched the print of a fisher. In the weasel family, but with longer legs. Quite vicious, I am told. Never had had any evidence of them around before. It was chilling.

    Please keep us informed of your plans and how it's going.
     
  6. Ajones1369

    Ajones1369 New Egg

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    Jan 22, 2014
    Thanks so much for all the information and I certainly shall, next step is prep the property and see if I can find some Runners near or in Greece.
     

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