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Duck questions

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by firefighter9208, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. firefighter9208

    firefighter9208 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2008
    Springville, Alabama
    Well, I have Boer goats (45-50) and chickens (25). My daughters teacher is hatching ducks right now. So far only 3 have hatched. She asked if I want them to take home.

    I have a pond (1 acre) that is fenced. The total area inside the fence is about 2 acres. At times I do open the gate to the larger pasture to let the goats in to eat the grass off the dam.

    Here's the question:

    How long do you keep ducks in a brooder and at what temp???

    At what age can I put them in the pasture area???

    What type of shelter do they need??? At most I'll have 3-5. Does it have to be closed in or just a roof or what???

    They will free range at all times. I do have a fence that I have had no problems with dogs getting into or the goats/pyrenesse getting out.

    How messy are they when it comes to a pier???

    Chris
    www.hillboergoats.com
     
  2. One Acre Wonder Farm

    One Acre Wonder Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 20, 2009
    Vermont
    Great questions!

    I only have experience with adult ducks as I've had no ducklings yet!

    As for housing, from what I've read here, ducks require very little especially where you are. I plan on building my ducks a tiny house for the winter but they've been fine outside overnight this spring (lowest overnight temps since I've had them were in the high 20s). You might want to build a roofed enclosure to keep their grain from getting wet or somewhere for them to get out of the wind?

    Not sure if you have predators.. oh nevermind, you have a pyranees!

    They are pretty messy. Can you occasionally hose down the pier if it gets too yucky?

    I'm sure there will be lots of others who can offer info about ducklings.

    good luck!
     
  3. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Have you considered a horse run-in style house for the ducks, maybe 3.5 sided with half the side on the front closed in, a roof and 3 walls. Layer it up with straw and that and that will let them get out of the weather if they should please.
     
  4. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Oct 2, 2008
    Colorado
    How long do you keep ducks in a brooder and at what temp???
    You start them at about 85-90º and reduce by 5º each week after that. How long you keep them in the brooder has a lot to do with how big your brooder is and how fast the ducks grow. I started mine in a tub but moved my first batch of ducklings outside to a larger brooder at 5 and 4 weeks. I still used a heat lamp to keep it around 70º for another week or two after.

    At what age can I put them in the pasture area???
    I would wait until they are fully feathered out...over 6 weeks.

    What type of shelter do they need??? At most I'll have 3-5. Does it have to be closed in or just a roof or what???
    Depends on your local weather. Mine have a hutch I made out of an old garbage can coral [​IMG] It has a hinged roof for egg removal. Their pen is also covered...mainly to keep the rain (what little we get) out of their feed. Even during rain and snow, they still would rather be ranging in the back yard than warm and dry in their pen.

    How messy are they when it comes to a pier???
    I hope you have a convenient way to hose it off :gi
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2009
  5. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    Quote:i have a closed in and insulated house for my ducks, can i put them out there at like 4 or 5 weeks? ... they'll be alone but like i said its insulated and by the time 5 weeks rolls around it'll be hot during the day and night...
     
  6. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    11,199
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    Oct 2, 2008
    Colorado
    They should be Ok if the weather in your area doesn't go weird on you.
     
  7. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    23,384
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    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Depending on what the temperature is where you live, ducks can leave the brooder fairly early. They should be fully feathered by 6 weeks old at the latest, and won't need heat after that. If it is taking them longer than 4 weeks to look fully feathered, you should go ahead and move them, since they are obviously too hot to feather properly.

    I have read that ducklings should be started around 90 degrees, but all mine acted like I was trying to cook them at that temp! I have my brooder in the house, and with three ducklings, ages 2 and 1 week, they have not had a heat source for over a week.

    As long as they have a warm, dry place to sleep that is out of the wind (as babies) they should be able to be outside by 3 weeks old, provided you aren't having extremely cold temperatures still. I moved my 4 and 5 week olds outside in February with a rubbermaid tote as a 'house' and a 75 watt light bulb to keep them 'warm'. Most nights they slept in the other 'house' that didn't have a light. It was still 20s, 30s, and 40s at night then and they were fine.

    As for adult housing, that really depends on your predator problem. Ducks don't really need any type of shelter, but if you have a lot of predators in your area, it would be a good idea to get them used to being locked up at night for their own safety. A wooden dog house (large size: about 3x4) would be plenty big enough for 3-5 ducks to sleep in.

    You could put them in the pasture area as soon as they are fully feathered, around 6 weeks old. At this time, they should have fully functioning oil glands and won't have any troubles with swimming and waterproofing their feathers. They will love you for it [​IMG]

    As for the mess, well, let's just say there are worse things. Ducks do make a mess when they poo, but a good hoseing or a heavy raiin should wash it off with no troubles. They might not even go on it, if they have constant access to the water. Just be sure not to feed them on the pier, or they will be there all the time!!

    Good luck, and enjoy your ducks!! Ducks are just the coolest birds! [​IMG]
     
  8. firefighter9208

    firefighter9208 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 4, 2008
    Springville, Alabama
    Thanks for all the replies. I'll try to keep them away from the pier. My daughter just loves them. They are already 2 weeks old, so as soon as they feather they'll go to the pond. It's fenced around with "field fence" and a strand of electric. I haven't had a problem with dogs getting in with the goats.

    I'll do a small shelter to begin with.

    Chris
     

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