Considering Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by BerrytangleFarm, May 31, 2012.

  1. BerrytangleFarm

    BerrytangleFarm British and Scandinavian Poultry

    If this has been covered elsewhere, please point me there.

    We have two enclosed chicken coop/runs, and I would love to keep some ducks for eggs. They'd have to be enclosed like the chickens, and I've heard both good and bad things about keeping ducks. My husband seems to think they're mean and dirty. I'm sure that's a generalization from his childhood years, but I wondered if I could get some down-and-dirty opinions/stories about keeping ducks for eggs and how involved their enclosure would have to be (I think I burned my engineer-husband out on the chicken enclosures :)

    We have 3 acres, half of that cleared, with no natural water features and plenty of predators about, hence the enclosures. I don't want to spend LOTS of time caring for them and wouldn't want to keep males unless it was recommended for some reason (we have two roosters, but they are incredibly docile and will be dispatched the minute they're not).

  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Crowing

    Dec 22, 2009
    Messy? Yes. Sorry but unless there is plenty of free ranging there is no way around it. Mean? I've had the occasional mean ducks but the majority have been quite docile. They really do need at least a kiddie pool to keep feathers in prime condition. As for egg laying I would advise Khaki Campbells and Runners. Housing will basically be the same as keeping a chicken but ducks need more space per duck than chickens
  3. zooweemama

    zooweemama Songster

    I've never had chickens. This is our first year with ducks and we have a grand total of 14 right now. 11 ladies and 3 drakes. I would say they are not mean at all (usually). As a general: The less they are handled = the more skittish they are. The more they are handled as babies = the more friendly they are. And I cannot say from experience but it seems like when they are 'mean' is if the drakes are in their breeding season or if the females are sitting on their eggs or taking care of her babies. Other than that I haven't read much about ducks being mean.

    Dirty? Umm...I think messy is a more apt description. They are extremely messy- wet messy and if there is dirt around...wet muddy messy. They love water. They are called 'waterfowl' for a reason. The certainly 'fowl' up water! :p They also poop a lot. We also have ducks for eggs and so far- we have turned a blind eye to the mess and simply incorporated it into our daily duck chores. We love the ducks and it's just a part of who they are.

    If you do not want to change their water daily or several times daily, deal with messy messes....then you might want to rethink ducks. I will NOT lie. They are messy as heck. If you do your homework you can find some ideas on the net with ways on how to help reduce it- but you will never get rid of's just a part of their very nature. You do not need males for any reason unless you want fertile eggs really. They lay with out a male around. :)
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  4. BerrytangleFarm

    BerrytangleFarm British and Scandinavian Poultry

    Will they tear up the grass like chickens?

    By change water, do you mean the water they drink or the water they play in? We use nipple waterers for the chickens. Can we do that for ducks? We also use a deep litter method for the chicken coops/runs, changing it twice a year. Can we do that for ducks?
  5. DaffyDuck98

    DaffyDuck98 In the Brooder

    Feb 20, 2012
    Welsh harlequins too! I have a couple hens, and they are egg laying MACHINES!!! Mine are molting right now though!
  6. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Crowing

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Ducks need water deep enough to clean their nares out. I also provide mine with kiddy pools in which to bathe and swim.

    I don't have chickens to compare too... i do know ducks are more er.. well the droppings are bigger and because of the water usage things can and do get wetter.

    Mean? ha.. chickens can be mean, there is always the potential for a mean bird of any kind! All mine free range, they do not tear up the grass they don't scratch the ground like a chicken does, they do poke holes into it when it's wet/muddy but no i don't have holes everywhere because of it.

    Why are you wanting ducks?
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  7. zooweemama

    zooweemama Songster

    We live in the country and have a country grass. hehe Just lots of dried brown straw. ha! If they are confined to a small area- they will mat down the area with poo and their flat feet. If they have more space to roam I think it would be less of an issue.

    I don't think a duck would use a water nipple. They are water fowl. They need to be able to dunk their whole head in to keep their nares clean. And for a happy shiny duck coat- some kiddie pools to bathe in. They are really just not comparable to chickens, in my opinion, when it comes to care. They are more work, messy and they need a lot of water. I have found that you need to love ducks to see past their messy water lovin ways (or love them more because of it). So if you want clean and tidy like a chicken- I'd probably stick to chickens.
  8. LydiaB

    LydiaB In the Brooder

    May 28, 2012
    As far as I know, they do not tear up the grass. However, mine are free range. But they still behave much better than the chickens.The chickens dig big holes in their area. The chickens got let out into the yard and destroyed all my cabbage and cauliflower plants, so they are banished to the goat pen. The ducks have only destroyed some potato bugs:) We have sand, so mine don't create mud. They do get their water bucket dirty though. It is still not as messy as chickens in my opinion. The chickens have about an acre to roam, and they destroyed the grass right in front of the door, making it a wet, sandy mess when it rains. I prefer ducks:) Most Ducks also don't fly, so you can keep them penned better than chickens. the chickens fly over a 4 foot fence and get my milk stand dirty and dig holes on the storage/milking area of the shed(it has a dirt floor).
  9. Ducls are a chore unto themselves. I had 4 girls... I loved them, but gave them away because I couldn't eat the eggs with out being ill, and couldn't find any one in my area who wanted to pay for them.

    But here is how my day went with the ducks, Let them out in the morning... they had their own coop... Fresh water in SEVERAL BOWLS around their pen. Refill feed dishes. Add water to their pool, or drain the pool, and refill, which would sent them into delightful mud play. My ducks were penned as there is a stream across the street and if they went that way, would take forever to get them back. SO, penned and moved the pen from one side of their coop to the other regularly so grass and weeds would regrow. Later in the day, would bring out a treat of peas, or grapes, or chopped overripe tomatoes, refill watering bowls. At night, at dark, not before, cuz ducks HATE being cooped up, herd them back to their coop, give fresh water in their coop bowl, and feed (I used plant pots for feed, flat bottom rubber bowl for water, but small enough that they couldn't take a dip in, but deep enough to fit their whole head). I'd say, all in all, I'd spend a total of 1 hour in duck chores a day. I use less litter in the coop in the summer, more in the winter. Coop was small enough that I could rake it all out and away, but big enough for them to be happy when they were locked in longer periods in the winter.

    VS chickens...

    Open the coop, collect eggs, refill as needed, clean as needed.... close up the coop at night. Yes.. that much difference. BUT ducks are funny and enjoyable to watch. They are more curious, and there is nothing like a duck trying to see what you go in your pockets for them to eat. I do miss my ducks...
  10. BerrytangleFarm

    BerrytangleFarm British and Scandinavian Poultry

    I've heard something about ducks not flying over a fence. Why wouldn't they fly?

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