Duck Questions

FunQuail

Songster
Sep 23, 2018
428
694
231
Kansas
Hi!
So I'm looking into getting ducks possibly this coming spring. I'm thinking two hens with one drake, is that okay to do?
What breeds are good egg layers, very sweet, calm, that can't fly, and brood?
What housing is best for ducks?
Can you keep them in electric fencing?
What are some good ways to keep their water cleaner for longer?
What do you all do in winter for them?
What food do you get them?
So let's say I get ducklings about the age in the picture, what do they need to do well?
What do the hens need to stay healthy?

Does anyone here rescue ducks? And what are your experiences with rescuing ducks? I am very interested in rescuing adults, ducklings or both if you can put ducklings and adults together. :D

Please let me know anything else that I might have missed! Thank you!!!
 

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CrystaBub

Crowing
Mar 17, 2018
1,664
6,092
442
Shenandoah Valley
Hi from VA! I'm sure you'll get lots of answers, but here's my 2 cents.

Check out the sticky topics on the duck forum - lots of good stuff to start with!
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/ducks-sticky-topics-index.256233/

I'm thinking two hens with one drake, is that okay to do?
That would work - but I think the more hens the better to prevent over-mating. I have 1:3 ratio - and many here have even more ladies per drake.

What breeds are good egg layers, very sweet, calm, that can't fly, and brood?
I don't have any, but I hear Welsh Harlequins are all of those - I want one! I'm sure others will have recommendations also. You should get a copy of Storey's Guide to Raising ducks - and some of the hatcheries (Metzer for one) has a good comparison chart of characteristics.

What housing is best for ducks? Can you keep them in electric fencing?
Check out this site for great housing and predator proofing ideas.
https://www.cwrescue.org/predatorproofhousing

What are some good ways to keep their water cleaner for longer?
For swimming or drinking?

What do you all do in winter for them?
They are pretty hardy. Windproof shelter, thick bedding, ventilation, clean fresh water, good food - lots of posts right now on this topic so you'll find lots of good info!

What food do you get them?
A lot of members use all flock feed then offer free choice oyster shell when they start laying.

So let's say I get ducklings about the age in the picture, what do they need to do well?
Love! LOL A brooder with heat lamp, small drinking water container (think cool whip container with hole cut into lid - so they don't drown and don't make a mess of their brooder), food dish, bedding... If you can't find duckling food, or even if you do and you get a heavy breed, you'll probably want to supplement with Niacin (you can use Brewers or Nutritional Yeast). I also add a little ACV to their drinking water - just a little to keep their insides and eyes healthy. They poop a LOT - and I mean a LOT - so you'll want to mainly have patience and time! You'll fall in love with them and then you won't even care if they poop ON you!

What do the hens need to stay healthy?
Love ;), a good male/female ratio, good food, safe housing, access to swimming water, access to oyster shell. Also you'll want to make sure your yard or anywhere the ducks will go is free of small debris such as metal objects, glass, plastic, etc - they will eat anything in sight and those things would be very dangerous.

Does anyone here rescue ducks? And what are your experiences with rescuing ducks? I am very interested in rescuing adults, ducklings or both if you can put ducklings and adults together. :D
Ducklings and ducks should be separated, unless the duck hatched the ducklings - and even then sometimes they have to be removed. Also for good biosecurity, you wouldn't want to introduce rescued ducks to your existing flock - separation is good for a while so you can observe their health status... I rescue ducks - have an ongoing rescue project now - patience is required! LOL
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,518
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
There is some good reading in these two places.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/category/ducks.30/

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/ducks-sticky-topics-index.256233/

You have a lot of questions that could be entire threads on their own, many of which you can find answers to on BYC, but I'll try and answer a few.

So I'm looking into getting ducks possibly this coming spring. I'm thinking two hens with one drake, is that okay to do?
It might not be enough hens for the drake. If you do not want more than 3 I'd get 3 sexed females.

What breeds are good egg layers, very sweet, calm, that can't fly, and brood?
I love my Blue Swedish. They regularly lay large eggs. They are not aggressive. They cannot fly. They sometimes want to brood. My Khaki Campbells are more skittish, can fly some, lay much smaller eggs, and have not yet shown signs of wanting to brood.

What housing is best for ducks?
Something draft free that is easy to climb in and out of (no steep ramp), with deep bedding on the floor. Ducks are not picky and will sleep on the ground, they don't need roosts, they will lay eggs anywhere, mine like to make nests in the straw in the corner of their house to lay.


Can you keep them in electric fencing?
I have not tried, but I don't see why not if you zoning permits for electric fencing.

What are some good ways to keep their water cleaner for longer?
I'm not sure if you mean swimming water or drinking water. I change drinking water once a day. I keep it in a bucket that they cannot climb into and swim in.

What do you all do in winter for them?
Same as summer. They get less pool time and more straw in their house/run. I change the water an extra time if it freezes. It can be below freezing here any night of the year. It was below zero F this morning. We've already had several feet of snow. The chickens hide, the ducks don't mind and run right out and do their ducky thing.

What food do you get them?
I buy an all flock at 18%-20% protein. The type I buy varies depending which store I'm at. The ducks don't seem to be picky.

So let's say I get ducklings about the age in the picture, what do they need to do well?
Do some reading on brooding ducklings, you will need a heat source, feed, water, extra niacin, frequent bedding changes.

What do the hens need to stay healthy?
Food, water, oyster shell on the side.

Does anyone here rescue ducks? And what are your experiences with rescuing ducks? I am very interested in rescuing adults, ducklings or both if you can put ducklings and adults together.
I got 4 adult ducks from someone re-homing them. I liked that I knew the breed, age, sex, and that they already got along with each other. They may quit laying when they move for a bit, but will resume laying when the settle in. Adding duckling with an adult duck flock can be a tricky integration process. First you have wait until the ducklings are nearly grown, 2-3 months old and are feathered enough to be outdoors off heat, then you have to integrate, which took me another month or 2. The older ducks (male and female) wanted to kill the ducklings initially. You can't necessarily just put them all together and have them instantly be friends.
 

FunQuail

Songster
Sep 23, 2018
428
694
231
Kansas
Thank you very much! I guess what I'm trying to ask is: How to keep their pool cleaner? And what waterer do you all use for them?
Thanks!:D
 

CrystaBub

Crowing
Mar 17, 2018
1,664
6,092
442
Shenandoah Valley
I use a bucket also - but I have to use a small 1 gallon bucket for my ducks b/c my runner is so tiny and can only reach so far. This is for adults - when they are babies I'd go with the cool whip container with lid and hole - to keep them safe.

For the pool, I'd just review all the posts - search on pool or pond. You'll find what works best for you. I don't think you can ever really keep it completely clean - they just poop so much. I don't have a pool in their pen anymore b/c it became a hazard for my very ungraceful lady Pekin. Now I just give them supervised time in a little pond in our yard.
 

FunQuail

Songster
Sep 23, 2018
428
694
231
Kansas
Thank you!
Do ducklings need special water? I read something about salt in water and too much can hurt them, something like that anyway.
Thanks!
 

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