Diapering Indoor Duck, Best Breed? Advice?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by TMarie, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. TMarie

    TMarie Out Of The Brooder

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    I have had several pet ducklings in the past, but once they got too big and too messy, a friend of mine with a farm adopted them. I've always said, if ducks didn't poop, they'd make the perfect pet! Now that I have this idea of diapering the duck (thanks to thegoosesmother.com) I think I can finally keep a baby duck for the long haul. This duck will be indoors always, the way an indoor dog would. I'm also considering using this duck as a therapy duck at the hospital I work for. All advice appreciated. I want to hear all of it, good, bad, and ugly! [​IMG]

    My questions:

    What is the best breed for my intentions?

    I heard Cayugas are pretty quiet. If I just have 1 inside the house, will it be calm and quiet most of the time?

    Feeding? I always imagined you'd have to leave food out all day, but I just saw a forum where a woman with 2 indoor ducks only feeds them twice a day, like you would do with dogs. That certainly sounds more convenient.., and cleaner. Is that possible?

    Smelly Poop? The ducklings I've had never had smelly poop. Maybe just because they were babies. If I'm diapering them, are they going to stink immediately after their first poop, or will the smell stay away until I change the diaper (approx every 4 hrs).

    Where to purchase? I only want 1 female duck, (because I heard males get hormonal) Every website I find will send a minimum of 2 or more ducks. Is it safe if they don't have a heat pack? I live in Illinois.

    Males more hormonal? I want to use this duck as a therapy duck with children, ill, and elderly. Is it true that males are more aggressive due to hormones?

    Thank you in advance!
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    My ducks are 95% outdoor - they sleep in the walkout basement pen at night, and that is also their storm shelter. So technically they spend time indoors - next to the laundry room - but I use shavings and do quite a bit of room service rather than diaper thirteen bottoms. [​IMG]

    melissamerry and DenverDucky would be people who can give you some wisdom on this. I like the idea, myself.
     
  3. melissamerry

    melissamerry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello!

    I have three white mallards that live in my apartment with me. They are 8 months old and such sweet hearts.
    I bought my diapers from the Goose Mother, as well, but I would definitely go about it a different way, knowing what I know now.

    First off, KNOW WHAT DUCK YOU HAVE. I thought I had bought Pekins, and the diapers I had ordered for them did not fit.
    I sent them back numerous times before realizing that my ducks were not growing anymore. It took 4 to 5 months to get the proper diapers,
    which means A LOT of washing sheets and changing bedding. I had no idea that White Mallards even existed.

    Order multiple diapers. They dirty fast, and its nice to have a back up when the others are washing/drying.
    I might even advise ordering from a different vender. I hear Nettie has a website and sells great diapers.
    Mine fell apart and I was pretty disappointed in the quality of them. But I hear Nettie has great reviews.

    The diapers did not smell though. It's not like a baby's diaper where you can smell when it needs to be changed. It was very well contained.

    The food and water is probably the messiest part. They mix everything together and then poop on top of that.
    After trying various set ups, this turned out to be my favorite. I cut a rubbermaid bin so that any liquid would stay in.
    They still somehow poop in it, but its really easy to rinse with a hose or even in the shower.
    I leave food and water out for them constantly. I have heard of people feeding them at various feeding times though. I think it just depends on preference?
    They sleep in the grey bin next to it. It's full of shavings that I change daily. When its bedtime, I drape a blanket over it.

    [​IMG]

    Don't let them sleep in their diapers. And always give them a bath after they've been in their diapers for a while.
    Don't put their diapers on when they are wet too.
    My ducks usually take an hour to preen after bath. So designate a preening poop zone for them.

    Ducks are very social animals. I have three ducks because I am a full time college student who works two jobs.
    I still spend plenty of time with them, but when I work doubles, the ducks keep each other company.
    Its almost cruel to have just one duck unless you can commit to it like a child, as DuckyDenver does.
    Its going to become attached to you and cry for you when you are not there.
    Remember that ducks can live up to 20 years! Are you prepared to change a diaper 4 times a day for 20 years?
    You can't change your mind after its become attached to you because not many people will take a dependent PET duck in.

    Also, think about when you go on vacation. Do you have a friend that can take care of your duck's specific needs.
    Its not like dog sitting, its more like leaving your child with someone that you trust. The duck will need constant attention.
    Luckily, my sister has the animal fever and loves to babysit for me.

    As for where to buy...I picked up mine from a feed store. Best 2 bucks I've ever spent. You can check craigslist as well.
    Most onlines require a minimum, I think. You could always set up an arrangement with some one who wants to order a bunch
    of ducks and put your one order in with them.

    I have two girls and a Drake, Finn. I wouldn't say Finn is hormonal, but he is protective over his girls sometimes.
    He doesn't attack anyone, and he still likes to be held, but he has his moments when if anyone he doesn't recognize approaches, he will charge.
    I'm not sure how one would behave if he didn't have a brothel to protect.

    A lot of people are against having a duck as an inside pet. It is a lot of work, constantly, and requires a lot of time and patience.
    However, It can be rewarding! My ducks watch Jeopardy with me every night. They love to cuddle, love car rides,
    but more importantly, love being outside!

    Everyday I find time to take the ducks to the park or beach, or just walk around out complex. I tried to minimize the diaper time
    because I started to pick up more hours and weird ones like 4 am shifts, so I turned out patio into a play pen.
    .[​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    When ever I am home I am outside with the little poop machines. They love their pool. We go for walks in search in of grass, mainly to the parks around us.
    We even make weekly visits to the beach. The patio door is always open, and they can go in and out freely.
    Inside by the door, I blocked off a bit of carpet for them so that they don't roam the whole house diaperless.
    I made the very smart investment of a rug doctor, which is used weekly.

    Sorry that this post is a novel, but indoor ducks are a lot of work. Much thought needs to be put into this before hand. I on the other hand, saw three little ducklings getting picked on by chickens and decided to spend 2 bucks those "pekins", not knowing a darn thing about ducks. I learned as I went and frankly, I was lucky that nothing went wrong. My biggest issue right now is that my lease is up in a few months and not many people in good ole Santa Barbara, California want to rent to a girl with 3 pet ducks.

    I love my ducks with every ounce in me, and they are such a joy in my life. I hope I answered some of your questions!
     
  4. Carebearsmiles

    Carebearsmiles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is an an amazing answer and would be great advice to keep around. I'm sure is a a common question.
     
  5. TMarie

    TMarie Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you guys for the feedback! I'm very excited to hear from you.

    MelissaMerry, I'm loving the novel lol this is what I needed. I'm looking for every detail, so I can learn from others' experience.
    I love your setup and your ducks. They're beautiful.
    Yes, I plan to be with this duck often. I actually only work 2 days a week, opposite of my husband's hours, so I can be home with our son. I originally considered 2 ducks for the reasons you mentioned, but I think 2 would be a lot of work when it comes to diapers, and since I'm home I'm hoping I'll be enough for the little one. Less work, more bonding :)
    Vacations, our dog sitter lives in our house while we're gone, so I think that should work out.

    So do you still diaper your ducks? Why do you say not to diaper them through the night... I was imagining that I would, but I'm assuming you have a good reason I shouldn't.

    I love your patio setup! What do you keep them in while you're gone? Or is that area with the rubbermaids just gated off? And I think the rubbermaid ideas are genius.

    So do your ducks mostly just cuddle with you during the day? My ducks always just wanted to be in my lap, but I didn't know if that changed the older they get. And how fun going to the beach together! Do you have them on leashes or do they just stick with you?... even if they see other ducks?

    I just need to get an idea of what my day would be like, aside from changing diapers. I was thinking we could keep her in a dog kennel at night and when we're gone. During the day I assumed she'd be hanging out with us the way the dogs do. Don't worry, my dogs love ducks lol. Do they entertain themselves for the most part?

    Oh and what about salmonella? I called a vet and asked about any diseases or concerns and she said, no, it'd be totally safe. But after that I read on a hatchery site to wash your hands after handling ducks due to salmonella...but I'm thinking that might just be for ducks that are outside playing in the ickies?

    Thank you so much! I look forward to hearing from you again!
     
  6. melissamerry

    melissamerry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh goody, I'm glad my ramblings were helpful.

    I still diaper them, not very often anymore though. I like the new set up better. Its more efficient for three ducks and for my schedule.
    I originally had diapered them during the night, but I stopped for two reasons. One, they seemed uncomfortable and slept restlessly,
    making noises throughout the night. And two, the diapers were a disaster in the morning, wet and soggy, so gross. I mean I wouldn't want to sleep
    in my own filth.

    When I'm gone, I call them inside. Yes, I have the rubbermaid area gated off. Baby gates work wonders, as well as a make shift PVC pipe fence with
    bird netting. I used to let them roam the apartment all day, but that meant more feathers EVERYWHERE. Now its in one designated area. Much easier to clean.

    During the day they follow me around, or sit on my lap while I do homework or something. They're always near me, despite growing up. Treats do wonders. Sometimes I can leave 'em in the
    pool for half an hour and do laundry or something. I'm still uneasy about letting them stay outside with out my watchful eyes. I've heard too many horror
    stories.

    When we go to the beach or park I haul them in this bag.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Its a big utility tote that spaciously fits three ducks! Once we get to the desired location, I let them out. We don't use a leash
    or anything. They just follow me about, never wondering more than 6 or 7 feet away from me. I keep the tote handy in case I
    see an unleashed dog. I usually scoop the babes up until its safe to let them wonder again. We have so much fun at the beach.
    We play "catch" a lot ( just kidding, I would never[​IMG])

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    As for other ducks, we've only recently ran into some. Some wild mallards use the yard around us as a sunny hangout. My ducks
    are quite curious about them. They talk to each other through the fence. Today I let the ducks out around the complex and three wild ducks
    flew in from somewhere. My ducks chatted with them, TreeTrunks, my big girl, charged a drake even though it was no where near her.
    Other than that, they kept to themselves and came when I called them back. Seagull on the other hand, such jerks! They try and chase my
    darlings!

    Aside from that, they play with their cat toys and my shoes. If you ever have a knot that needs untying, just give it to them at night, and in the morning,
    BAM! Shoe laces untangled. They love chewing on carpet (I'm def not getting my deposit back on that one) and pulling at earrings.

    I'm not sure about diseases or anything, but I do know that they do keep themselves clean, if they have access to clean water. Obviously, you
    should wash your hands before chopping up those carrots for dinner after handling your ducks, but that's common sense. I've done some crazy stuff with the ducks,
    like making duck soup, and no signs of Salmonella.

    [​IMG]


    After you figure out a clean routine to keep your duck safe and happy, the fun can begin! We enjoy taking photos for every holiday.
    I almost have a calendar ready for next year full of wacky duck pictures! Perfect Christmas present, right?

    [​IMG]
     
  7. TMarie

    TMarie Out Of The Brooder

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    I love these pictures! That calendar sounds like an awesome idea!
    So do the ducks shed a lot of feathers? That was something I didn't expect. Or do you think it's just because you have 3? Not that it's a deal breaker or anything.

    Who is Nettie and where can I find this website? I would definitely want a good quality. Do you use baby diapers in them or pads? Pads are way cheaper, so I'm hoping you'll say pads lol.

    Oh! And how often do they quack, and what sets them off?
     
  8. melissamerry

    melissamerry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is Nettie's website http://www.etsy.com/shop/PartyFowl I heard that she also has another some somewhere? I'm not quite sure really.
    But you could search her name on here and ask her any questions regarding that.

    A duckling will lose all of its baby fluff feathers in a month or so. Then the adult will molt twice in a year. I pretty sure I have an abundance
    of feathers floating around because I have three, but it's nothing a vacuum or broom can't handle.

    The diapers depend on the size of the ducks. Since my mallards are on the smallish side, I used pads. I think a larger duck will require a diaper though, I'm not too sure
    on that though.

    As ducklings, my ducks quacked whenever I left the room! If I wasn't insight, they would let me know. As they got older and started exploring more
    of the apartment, they were ok if i left for a while. Once they noticed I was gone, they would set off again. It took a while to get them adjusted to
    everything. A stuffed animal helped. For a while they were afraid of the dark so they had a night light. There was a period of two weeks where they would just cry
    all through the night. I remember sleeping on the floor with my arm in their tub to calm them. Once they hit 3 or 4 months they slept soundly through the night and did
    not need a light. In fact, they sleep better now in the dark. I can just turn off the light or lay a blanket over their box and they hit the hay. Routine and conditioning with
    treats helps get through the "newborn" phase as my mom called it.

    During the day, they pretty much quack when they want something, like if I forgot to lay out food for them or turn on their fountain. They are normally quiet during the day,
    small chattering here and their and the occasional loud quacks when an airplane flys by or the train rolls through. They also serve as guard ducks. They quack before someone
    knocks on my door or approaches our back walkway. We have a mentally ill upstairs neighbor who bugs them constantly. They now have a certain quack when they hear him
    coming and then they dart inside and hide. They now start to talk to the wild mallards that hang around too. Nothing too loud, though.
     
  9. melissamerry

    melissamerry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and also when I cough or sneeze. That sets them off too. I don't know why, but they really freak out!
     
  10. Diamond88

    Diamond88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Threadjack: Melissamerry, you're in Santa Barbara? I'm about to move to Long Beach! Two people in the LA area with indoor ducks, go figure. Maybe our ducks can have a playdate sometime. [​IMG]
     

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