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Considering ducks....

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by wildthingsfarm, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. wildthingsfarm

    wildthingsfarm In the Brooder

    May 31, 2014
    My daughter has been begging for ducks for her upcoming birthday. We currently have a flock of chickens, which free range. We don't have a pond, per se, but do have a marshy wetland in the bottom of our woods. My questions are many, but primarily - can I free range and house the ducks with the chickens or would it be better to set them up with their our housing in the wetland? Would they come up the hill for food?

    Also, what are the best breed as far as getting along with chickens and (more importantly!) young children? Good egg layers would be a great bonus as well!
  2. DucksnDaffodils

    DucksnDaffodils Songster

    Feb 18, 2013
    Have to comment... because I have ducks and we just moved to 10 acres that has a marsh over a hill and down through some woods. I currently keep my ducks in a little house in a small pen up by the chicken coops (I know people house them together.. I just don't personally) but I just started letting them out late morning/early afternoon, and herding them on the LOOoooong walk across the field up the hill down through the woods and to the marsh. And I leave them there. Around 5:00 pm its their dinner time, and if they haven't appeared already I just step out the door and shout "Duckies Diinnnnner!!" (which is how I've always told them dinners coming) and before I have their food all mixed up, there they appear over the hill and they come running for dinner. So yes they will come for food if trained! :D

    Any breed can be good for children if raised right. If you're interested in eggs, I would get Khaki Campbells (they're a little smaller breed then the heavy Pekins) or Welsh Harlequins... which personally I think are best. [​IMG] I raise Welsh's and could tell you all the wonderful things about them.. but I won't bore you :)

    The only thing to realize for first time ducklings, is that they are a MESS to raise for the first 4 weeks of their lives when they need to be kept warm (in the house/basement, garage, pole barn) with a heat lamp. They are messy stinky little cuties!
  3. LoveThemBirds

    LoveThemBirds Songster

    Feb 23, 2015
    Petting Buffy Like a Dog
    I have raised many ducks,and trust me,they will mess your chicken pen up.
    Ducks can live with chickens.I would say house them in the wetland other then with the chickens.

    Khaki Cambells are one of the best ducks here.If you hand care your ducklings they will do just fine with children,and can be pets.Great egg layers.They get along with chickens farely fine.

    Keep in mind,any duck may fight a chicken no matter what breed it is.Ducks and chickens generally can learn to get along,but a pecking order must be set.

    You,and your daughter will soon learn,having ducks is much more difficult then it looks.Ducks can eat a ton!And are messy eaters and drinkers.Usually their water has clumps of mud/dirt,moss even it,bad bacterial etc.You must take extra good care of ducks,to assure they eat properly,and have clean water.Like I mentioned,when I say messing up,I mean,Muddy,watery run,and you chickens will be dirty.My pond is somewhat small,maybe 30 feet or something like (across),and ducks even manage to jack that up.

    Avian flu and bird flu are being carried around by waterfowl(Ducks,geese,swin ETC.)Ducks are social and will attract geese to their pond,or wet land areas.

    Hope you enjoy your ducks mostly though,even if their messy mud balls!
  4. LoveThemBirds

    LoveThemBirds Songster

    Feb 23, 2015
    Petting Buffy Like a Dog
    Runner ducks are also great ducks!

    Love them the most.Green egg layers,but males can be overly protective.
  5. DemonicFowl

    DemonicFowl Chirping

    Sep 4, 2014
    South Eastern Mass
    Pssst... Cayuga's are where it's at. Picture a dog... but its a duck :). They have great personality's and are very hearty. They produce a great number of black/grey/green eggs too. I won't go into the details, It would take me to long. Then again you can get a mix of duck breeds instead of just one breed. Any pictures of the land?
  6. Amykins

    Amykins Crowing

    May 11, 2013
    I do love me some cayugas! Runners aren't good for kids, in my opinion. They can be skittish and tend to prefer hanging out on their own, they're not that snuggly or social (although obviously there are exceptions to this).

    A more important question though is, are you sure you're ready? Ducks are WAY more of a time and energy commitment than chickens, and although you certainly have the option to free-range, it's not very safe for them, especially if the marsh you speak of is far away from your house clear on the other side of a wooded area. They will be unsocialized and wild if you have them spend most of their time there away from the family, and since most domestic duck breeds can't fly, they're easy targets for predators.

    You need to have a good, secure place for them to sleep at night and a safe place for them to play in the day if you want to prevent a lot of tearful nights with the kids after losing a duckie! [​IMG]
  7. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners 8 Years

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    Amykins knew I would check in [​IMG]

    I have had kids of all ages around the Runners - up close and personal. They were fine. And I want to emphasize I spent many many hours with the Runners as they grew up, made sure they are socialized with people. It worked, and it was labor intensive.

    Also, from what I read here, each flock has its own personality, as does each duck. I think I was blessed with the sweetest, most mellow Runners on Earth.
  8. Amykins

    Amykins Crowing

    May 11, 2013
    I think the keywords here are "spent many many hours with" and "labor intensive". :p Like I said, I'm not saying that runners always have to be skittish, that's just one of the stereotypical characteristics of the breed, is all.

    Besides, no matter what type of duck the OP wants to get, it's more important to make sure that they're ready for ducks and will give them a good home with lotsa love, attention and protection!
  9. gmtarsw

    gmtarsw Chirping

    Aug 15, 2013
    In my humble opinion, one of my all time favorite ducks is the Muscovy, They are ugly as all get out! like a Turkey mated a small goose/duck. But my Drake Flagg is a super friendly but protective guy who weighs in at around 12-15lbs. at that size some predators thing twice about messing with a goose sized duck. Flagg apparently attacked my neighbor who had wandered onto my yard and entered "my/our Territory" he is a perfect sweetheart to me my family. He allowed my nieces and nephew to pet him. I just love my muscovy! its the first spring i will have with them but the lady i bought my muscovy's said that she started with a Drake and three hens after a year she had like 60+ duck cause the hens are so good at laying and brooding if you let them.
  10. Amykins

    Amykins Crowing

    May 11, 2013
    Scovies sure are sweethearts, despite having a face only a mother could love! Quiet, too. The only problem is they're huge, and have big ol' sharp claws that could really hurt a kid if they tried to pick one up. I swear, they have the legs of a dinosaur...

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