Duck Questions

CindyinSD

All will be well, and that will be well is well.
Aug 3, 2018
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Black Hills, South Dakota, USA
I’m thinking about maybe getting some ducks next spring. The two breeds I’m most interested in (based on reading the reviews here) are Muskovies (for meat) and Khaki Campbells (for eggs). We live on 12 acres way out in the boonies—our place is surrounded by US Forest “Service” land and it’s zoned limited ag. We’re fenced with barbed wire to keep free range cattle out, but I’m probably going to alter that to electric wire instead—4 strands—both because of predators and because of Angus bulls (since I’ve just gotten three sweet little Scottish Highland heifers and I’m told the barbed wire might not be good enough to protect them from monster-sized bad boys.)

We have a small stock pond, so I’d like to let the ducks just run around and do as they please, though I’m hoping to train them to sleep in a closed shelter at night. Will they run away, do you think, or do domestic ducks stay around the place they’re fed and cared for?

Can the Campbells be trained to lay in a nest box like chickens?

Are Muskovies savy about caring for their babies on their own, or is it necessary to persuade them to brood in a safe place? There’s loads of cover around the pond and wild mallards do sometimes select it to safely bring up their ducklings, so I think it can be done.

Can Muskovies interbreed with other domestic ducks? If there are enough Muskovy girls, will their drakes leave the Campbells (and my chickens as well) alone? Ditto the Campbell drakes... though I’m thinking I’ll put the chickens in a portable coop, in poultry netting, following the cows around next spring to gobble up all the fly larvae and spread around the, um, fertilizer.

I’m very excited about filling our little hobby farm with life. I’ve always wanted to be good at gardening. :idunno Probably not going to happen at this stage in my life... but I think I could be really good at animals... they have a lot more personality than say, a potato and are WAY more interesting than weeds, frost and bugs. :love Probably gonna go for goats and sheeps and maybe even a feeder pig or three to root around and break up cows’ winter deep bedding, too. So much fun!
 
I only know about muscovy. Mine prefer to roost in a covered area. Muscovy can fly a bit and are fairly predator savvy. I have lost a couple to coyote over the years but that's about it. They are very long lived and hardy. They don't spend as much time in water, and they like to forage.

Muscovy are good at raising large broodies. They will reproduce without much encouragement. They prefer to nest somewhere under cover. Mine haven't left our place ever. Mine are completely free to come and go as they please. They don't often go too far from the shed.

Generally as long as there's muscovy females and the drake was raised with other muscovy I believe they will stick with their own breed but I'm not positive on that.
 

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