Completely free ranging ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by slippednfell, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. This is my first time raising ducks (and chickens for that matter). I looked at all the great coop photos, comments and advice here.

    We have a very large pond (an acre to an acre and a half). My husband is almost finished with the duck house. Initially we have a 10 x 20 x 6' chain link enclosure that the duck house will be in. Part of that enclosure is in the pond so they will be able to swim at will. I am hoping that in 4 to 6 weeks, we will be able to take the enclosure down so that the ducks will have the freedom to use the full pond and roam around the pond but know enough to return to their duck house at night so predators won't get them.

    We have 55, mostly wooded acres in North Central Arkansas.

    Thoughts? Advice? Comments?
     
  2. ThreeWillows

    ThreeWillows Songster

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    Usually, you'll have losses with free ranging. I only partly free range here. I've got LF chickens and mini ducks. Everyone gets penned up at night, but I still lose a few from time to time
    to a coyote or bobcat during daylight hours.
     
    hanzhog, MIDuckLady, Abraeri and 2 others like this.
  3. DuckyDonna

    DuckyDonna Free Ranging

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    Listen to ThreeWillows!
     
  4. Do yours return to their house/coop easily when you do free range them or do you have to go round them up?
     
  5. katiebrock

    katiebrock Songster

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    If you feed them in their enclosure they will learn to put themselves up pretty easily!
     
    hanzhog, MIDuckLady, sourland and 2 others like this.
  6. Abraeri

    Abraeri Songster

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    My Coop
    Yes free-ranging has losses. We have lost 2 to foxes over 3 years. Ours knows home and will be in there coop by dark. However the place they roam is pretty close to our house and they don't wander very far (they stick to where the water is) so I guess it really all depends.
     
    slippednfell likes this.
  7. Duckman39

    Duckman39 In the Brooder

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    I have over 50 birds and half of those are ducks. From my experience I have to round them up 90% of the time. Chickens no problem but ducks don’t just sleepy at night. They will lay and feed. I also think it depends on the type of ducks also. MALLArds like to stay out but my Swedish Blues, Khaki Campbell’s, and jumbo Pekins like to stay close to the coop right before dark. I still have to round them but really all I say is “ GET IN THERE” and they will usually walk right in. Be prepared for your animals to start coming up missing!
     
  8. Thank you all. I liked the suggestion that I feed them in the evening in their enclosure so them come back to the duck house on their own after a while.
     
    Duckman39 and DuckyDonna like this.
  9. As I mentioned in my first post, we have a very large pond (an acre to an acre and a half). My husband is almost finished with the duck house. Initially we have a 10 x 20 x 6' chain link enclosure that the duck house will be in. Part of that enclosure is in the pond so they will be able to swim at will.

    Well we put the duck (four) out into the enclosure and showed them the duck house. At first they got in the water and had a ball, but since... they seem to huddle in a corner of the chain link enclosure. No sign of them going in to the house to eat or sleep. We are going on day 4, I think. They also don't seem to be going in to the water, unless it is when we are sleeping.

    Any ideas if this is normal adaptation to new digs or what to do about it?
     
  10. DellaMyDarling

    DellaMyDarling Songster

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    I found, when I first brought home four ducks, that they acted quite traumatized. It took a long time for them to do normal duck things when we were present.
    Currently, don't think they use their duck house at all, which I can't figure out. They're put up in a mostly secure run overnight.

    I was letting my ducks free range, and I intend to again. However, I've lost four ducks to the same fox. It attacks during the later afternoon, around 430. It listens for their chattering I'm sure, and since they always congregate in areas where there's bushes, it just sneaks up and snatches one. Ducks make super easy prey :(


    ...little does the fox know that the tables may have turned...
     

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