Buying ducks soon (first time), have some questions

dave was here

In the Brooder
5 Years
Aug 10, 2014
15
0
24
Hello!

I plan on getting 3 ducks from Metzer Farms soon. I plan on getting a female Cayuga, a female Mallard, and a male Pekin but first I have some questions. I've never had ducks before, so I'm a newbie here and have some newbie questions. I have been doing research for several months now and have purchased the book "Duck! There's a goose in the house!" by Nancy Townsend (from Metzer Farms). My reasoning for buying 3 ducks is so they have company when I'm gone. I know 2 is generally the minimum, but I think 3 would be optimal for them (and hopefully not too noisy..!)



1. I've heard it's a good idea to raise house ducks isolated from eachother (except bath time) so they don't bond to eachother, but rather bond to you instead so they think you are mother. Is this true? If so, how long should I keep them in their own pens before putting them together? And will they get along well after that?

2. I know Mallards are pretty small, but how large are Cayugas and Pekins in comparison to a Mallard?

3. If the male Pekin is larger/heavier than the other ducks, could he possibly injure them during mating?

4. Would the male pekin prefer to mate with one over the other, or would he mate with both?

5. I understand ducklings need a constant supply of food and water for growth. At what age can I begin limiting when/how much they eat, and how slowly should I decrease their food?

6. I've read that ducks love routine and doing things at the same time every day. How many times per day should I feed the ducks? Breakfast and dinner time (ie. 6 am, 6 pm)? Lunch time too?

7. Are there any designs on this site for a fairly small indoor duck pen? I intend to let the ducks roam the apartment freely during the day, but I think I should keep them in the pen at night so they don't have to wear diapers all night.


edit- oh also, if you could recommend any other useful books, that would be great!


These are all the newbie questions I can think of off the top of my head right now. According to Metzer Farms Hatching Dates & Availability page, all 3 of these breeds wont be available until November 10th, so I have some time to get things prepared. I know that some of these questions are probably silly, but I'm not the greatest when it comes to searching things on the internet (which is why I ordered a book) so please bear with me.



Any input and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Going Quackers

Crowing
9 Years
May 24, 2011
7,839
975
371
On, Canada
Hello!

I plan on getting 3 ducks from Metzer Farms soon. I plan on getting a female Cayuga, a female Mallard, and a male Pekin but first I have some questions. I've never had ducks before, so I'm a newbie here and have some newbie questions. I have been doing research for several months now and have purchased the book "Duck! There's a goose in the house!" by Nancy Townsend (from Metzer Farms). My reasoning for buying 3 ducks is so they have company when I'm gone. I know 2 is generally the minimum, but I think 3 would be optimal for them (and hopefully not too noisy..!)



1. I've heard it's a good idea to raise house ducks isolated from eachother (except bath time) so they don't bond to eachother, but rather bond to you instead so they think you are mother. Is this true? If so, how long should I keep them in their own pens before putting them together? And will they get along well after that?


I don't get the reasoning behind that, ducks are flocks animals and ideally should have the company of other ducks, i wouldn't recommend it, i have brooded ducks in my house before, even unfortunately, had some imprint on me, i raised them together and keep them as such, no matter how dedicated i am, i can never replace another duck, it's behaviour, it's language nor the mannerisms.

2. I know Mallards are pretty small, but how large are Cayugas and Pekins in comparison to a Mallard?

I would not do this breed mix, a mallard is small, a Cayuga medium and a Pekin large, beside Pekin males are pretty sexually aggressive, two females will not really be enough, and again due to the size i would not put a small breed like a mallard.

I do own Pekin and a drake, but he has 5 females, he's a bit much.. while generally sweet he can be aggressive with other birds, i do not mix extreme sizes here.

3. If the male Pekin is larger/heavier than the other ducks, could he possibly injure them during mating?

yes.

4. Would the male pekin prefer to mate with one over the other, or would he mate with both?

both, probably... again my guy has 5 he gets around lol

5. I understand ducklings need a constant supply of food and water for growth. At what age can I begin limiting when/how much they eat, and how slowly should I decrease their food?

Opinions on this vary, i like about 6wks at least, truly depends on the set-up ducks are super messy so eventually the inability to keep things neater is what leads most to cease it overnight.

6. I've read that ducks love routine and doing things at the same time every day. How many times per day should I feed the ducks? Breakfast and dinner time (ie. 6 am, 6 pm)? Lunch time too?

I free choice feed my birds, i just don't feed most overnight. so no set times. The majority free range too.

7. Are there any designs on this site for a fairly small indoor duck pen? I intend to let the ducks roam the apartment freely during the day, but I think I should keep them in the pen at night so they don't have to wear diapers all night.

there is a thread for house ducks, i would run a search. Mine are farm ducks and again most free range, i only pen my calls for safety.

I would also recommend this sticky

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/750869/raising-and-caring-for-ducklings#post_10611711

welcome-byc.gif


edit- oh also, if you could recommend any other useful books, that would be great!


These are all the newbie questions I can think of off the top of my head right now. According to Metzer Farms Hatching Dates & Availability page, all 3 of these breeds wont be available until November 10th, so I have some time to get things prepared. I know that some of these questions are probably silly, but I'm not the greatest when it comes to searching things on the internet (which is why I ordered a book) so please bear with me.



Any input and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

dave was here

In the Brooder
5 Years
Aug 10, 2014
15
0
24
Thanks to both of you for the information! I think I may not get the male Pekin if he could cause injury or is aggressive. What do you think about a male Blue Swedish instead? It seems to be a medium sized duck, would he possible cause any problems particularly to the female Mallard?
 

needlessjunk

Crowing
6 Years
May 19, 2014
2,601
2,461
347
Georgetown, TX
Is there any reason in particular you wanting a male? If you are getting a lightweight duck then I personally wouldn't get a drake that is larger. Duck sex is not nice when they are equal so I wouldn't want the extra stress in addition to not having a larger group of females to choose from.
 

seachainanmadra

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 24, 2014
43
7
89
Until recently, I had a pair of Swedish ducks and a pair of Pekins. The Swedish were 3 weeks older than the Pekins, and at 5 months, the Swedish drake was the same size as the Pekin drake, and significantly larger than my female Swedish. My Swedish drake was obviously the top duck and was very good to his female, but he was killed by a raccoon a few weeks ago, and since then, my Pekin drake has become sexually aggressive. He's also pretty terrible at the whole thing, so I have to watch him very closely to be sure he doesn't hurt the girls. He stands on their backs, bites and twists their heads (very near their eyes at times), and sometimes pushes them underwater, and I still don't think he's managed to actually do the deed once. I would hate to do it because he has gotten fairly friendly to me, but he might become dinner if he doesn't improve his technique soon.

I can't say with any certainty that every Swedish drake would be a gentler than a Pekin, but that was certainly true in my yard. Regardless of temperament, though, I would still be concerned about the size difference between a female Mallard and a male Swedish, as a quick bit of research tells me that a Swedish drake might be as much as three times as heavy as a Mallard. Could you swap the genders, and get a male Mallard and a female Pekin or Swedish? Or if you are partial to the color, could you get a White Crested instead, or possibly track down a white mallard?

By the way, if you haven't seen a Pekin in person, you might be shocked to find out just how large they are. Much closer in size to a Canada Goose than a Mallard. My little Swedish girl had to live inside in a dog crate for two weeks while she recovered from wounds received in the same racoon attack that killed her mate. The crate was kindly donated by my 40 lb. dog and was just the right size to give her a comfortable place to lay down, along with a separate space for food and water. That crate wouldn't be large enough to allow one of my Pekins to comfortably turn around or lay down out of the way of the food and water. If you're thinking about a small indoor pen, a Pekin might not be the best fit for you.
 

dave was here

In the Brooder
5 Years
Aug 10, 2014
15
0
24
Until recently, I had a pair of Swedish ducks and a pair of Pekins. The Swedish were 3 weeks older than the Pekins, and at 5 months, the Swedish drake was the same size as the Pekin drake, and significantly larger than my female Swedish. My Swedish drake was obviously the top duck and was very good to his female, but he was killed by a raccoon a few weeks ago, and since then, my Pekin drake has become sexually aggressive. He's also pretty terrible at the whole thing, so I have to watch him very closely to be sure he doesn't hurt the girls. He stands on their backs, bites and twists their heads (very near their eyes at times), and sometimes pushes them underwater, and I still don't think he's managed to actually do the deed once. I would hate to do it because he has gotten fairly friendly to me, but he might become dinner if he doesn't improve his technique soon.

I can't say with any certainty that every Swedish drake would be a gentler than a Pekin, but that was certainly true in my yard. Regardless of temperament, though, I would still be concerned about the size difference between a female Mallard and a male Swedish, as a quick bit of research tells me that a Swedish drake might be as much as three times as heavy as a Mallard. Could you swap the genders, and get a male Mallard and a female Pekin or Swedish? Or if you are partial to the color, could you get a White Crested instead, or possibly track down a white mallard?

By the way, if you haven't seen a Pekin in person, you might be shocked to find out just how large they are. Much closer in size to a Canada Goose than a Mallard. My little Swedish girl had to live inside in a dog crate for two weeks while she recovered from wounds received in the same racoon attack that killed her mate. The crate was kindly donated by my 40 lb. dog and was just the right size to give her a comfortable place to lay down, along with a separate space for food and water. That crate wouldn't be large enough to allow one of my Pekins to comfortably turn around or lay down out of the way of the food and water. If you're thinking about a small indoor pen, a Pekin might not be the best fit for you.

Sorry to hear about your Swedish and the racoon! I would freak out if anything like that happened to any of my future ducks...


Originally, I really wanted to get a white mallard instead of the Pekin but I couldn't find any. At this point, I'm considering a female Cayuga, female Mallard, and a Mallard drake if they get along well. I really like the colors of the Mallard and the Cayuga, and I'm limited to 3 ducks at the most for the time being. I'm getting a drake because I'd like them both to have ducklings in the future which I can give to some people I know, or even raise and keep when I find a bigger place to live. And I'm a bit curious to see how the Cayuga/Mallard ducklings would look like!


If I can find a white Mallard drake by November 10th, I will most certainly get him if I can. However, given the time of the year right now, I think it will be rather difficult to find one or even find someone to ship me only 1 so I can buy the other 2 ducks from Metzer Farms (unless they have the ones I want too!)
 

hennible

Crowing
5 Years
Jul 14, 2014
11,524
884
386
Central British Columbia
Ducks are very noisy!!! And their poop is very smelly, not something I want inside unless its an emergency. And I have a ferret running around pooping every where, 2 dogs and 8 cats ( just illustrating I live in a zoo of sorts).... Any way ducks are great but personally to noisy and a bit to stinky for the great indoors.
Good luck
 

Amykins

Crowing
6 Years
May 11, 2013
4,771
474
276
Ducks are very noisy!!! And their poop is very smelly, not something I want inside unless its an emergency. And I have a ferret running around pooping every where, 2 dogs and 8 cats ( just illustrating I live in a zoo of sorts).... Any way ducks are great but personally to noisy and a bit to stinky for the great indoors.
Good luck
Speak for yourself, I love my house duck!

As for the OP: Three, in my opinion, is pushing it if you're keeping them inside. Three breeds = three different diaper sizes = constant headache when it comes time to change 'em. There's also no guarantee they'll "flock", for some reason, even imprinted on people, it's not unheard of for different breeds to shun one another. Not always the case, but something to consider. I only have one and she is a LOT of work! We plan o get her a buddy so we can finally have a social life again, but even then it'll be a lot of work. They truly are more like human infants than pets.

Now for the good parts: They are the most affectionate, loving, and adorable animal I've ever owned, and I've raised sugar gliders! If you take a look at the "Show Off Your House Duck" thread you'll see post after post on how sweet and puppy-like pet ducks can be. I adore my Wobbles, and she loves me too! They're more intelligent than chickens, although not anywhere near the level of, say, a parrot or crow. But she knows her name and basic commands like "no" and "jump". Not to mention it's a great conversation starter when you take 'em for walks!
 

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