Duck basics?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by watchdogps, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are getting ready to move to a new place, three acres. I had already planned on chickens and guineas (and sheep later this year), but hubby is really wanting a couple ducks. I didnt really want ducks, mainly b/c of the water issue, but I suppose I should humor him since he does let me have my 8 dogs, 3 cats (well, he brought the cats home...) and all the other critters I mentioned above.

    So, my main questions are: can the ducks be housed in the same coop as the other poultry? (it's huge, space is not an issue)
    - how large a "pond" do they need? Minimally?
    The water is the issue I am struggling with, b/c I am thinking that a baby pool emptied daily will create a muddy nasty area. I suppose I could drag the emptied pool to a new place each day...answering my own questions as I go...
    Can the ducks share the food the other birds are getting?
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Congratulations on the new place!

    It doesn't have to be a muddy mess. Really.

    Many breeds don't need a pond, just a way to bathe. So a kiddie pool would work. I use concrete mixing pans.

    The way I laid out the pen, the swim area is at the end of the pen, and it's mostly pea gravel. I dug a shallow channel that begins right next to the swim area. When I dump the dirty water, it flows slowly to the grape arbor, watering and fertilizing the grapes, which seem to greatly appreciate the favor.

    Yes, ducks can be house with other poultry. It works best from what I have read here to understand each kind of poultry's needs and habits. Ducks are ground nesters, so they need a spot that is not under the roosting birds. Ducks need water they can stick their bills in and get murky - they are just built that way - so duck water is best separate from chicken water.

    Ducklings need three times the niacin as chicks. They need to avoid medicated feed (though I have often heard that it's okay to use amprolium). Ducks don't do as well with dry mash as chickens.

    I feed an organic layer mash which I moisten, and to which I add some cat kibble.
     
  3. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I haven't found draining a kiddy pool to create a muddy mess at all... and we keep ours in the same area, i know many here special ground covering where they keep the pools to cut down the wetness.. ours does not, just the basic grass/dirt ground for us.
     
  4. destinduck

    destinduck obsessed with "ducks"

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    If you use sand or pea gravel you shouldnt have a mess. If you keep ducks or chickens for that matter the more sand you have in your pen the happier you will be all around.
     
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    I use those shallow plastic Rubbermaid storage boxes. They can get their feet wet and drink and play and they are very easy to empty and rinse out because they don't contain a lot of water.

    For the swimming pond, I have a large round metal stock tank. The drain has a turn valve to open and drain and I can attach a hose to the drain so the water can be run onto plants to water them. Dual purpose use of the water.

    A wading pool might be difficult to empty and clean. It will be heavy with that amount of water and the water will be yucky, so you won't want to be splashing it on yourself.

    They don't really need a place to swim. They just need to be able to dunk their heads.

    If you've got ducks, I suggest that you set your waters over a small gravel pit for drainage, because the ducks splash when they drink. That will control the mud issue with their drinking water.

    I suspect that you will find that you really enjoy ducks. They are fun of personality and good cheer.

    There usually isn't an issue with keeping different types of poultry together, as long as they aren't crowded.

    If you get the right breed of ducks, you will get more eggs from the ducks than you get from your chickens.
     
  6. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd like to jump in on this and ask a couple questions myself as I am thinking about getting two or three ducks...
    Oregon Blues...you said you use a metal stock tank...how do the birds get into and out of it? A ramp?
    Also, advice on letting the ducks free range. Good or bad idea? If you get them as chicks do they stay near home? I am thinking of getting Pekins or Jumbo Pekins, just two or three if that helps with the advice. Would like to let them range but don't want to have to hunt them down God knows where every night. Thanks for all the great tips!!

    Quote:
     
  7. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    I use a stock tank made for sheep, so it is shallow. There is a ramp for the ducks and the geese simply step over the edge. A ramp with a deeper tank would work fine, but I am in the desert and water is very expensive. So my ducks get enough water to float in and not a deep pool. They also don't have water all the time. I fill the tank and they get to play in it until it gets yucky. Then I drain it and it stays empty for 4-5 days. Then they get more swimming water.

    They have fresh water in the small storage containers all the time and I keep those clean and fresh. I also have vacuum waterers for them with clean water all the time. They splash that but can't poop in it, so it stays clean to drink.

    My opinion about free range is that it the very best way to get your poultry killed.

    Yes, domestic breeds of ducks will stay home where they are fed and watered. Unless you have a nice lake across the street where they can see it.

    The Pekins that I have met have all had very lovely personalities. I think they are a good choice for pets.

    Mine are kept in a fenced orchard, so they have plenty of room. Then, at night, the ducks go into a very secure covered run and coop. They are easy to herd. Most ducks will put themselves to bed at night if you wait until bedtime and place fresh food into their night shelter.

    Decide upon a call that you use every time you feed them and give them treats and they will soon come running when you call them. I just call "duck, duck, duck." You can use any noise, as long as you use the same one every time.
     

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