Duckling Feed questions and other general duck advice needed!

anniele27

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 10, 2014
175
7
73
Illinois
I've been searching through other threads and I haven't had very much luck (I may just be bad at searching) so I thought it may be easier to just ask all my questions at once and hopefully, collectively, they will be answered!

Background:
A bit ago I got 12 ducklings (9 pekin, 3 Rouen) from the Big R store near us. They are about 4 weeks old now. We live on a lake that is about 3 acres large and has a few other domesticated ducks on it raised by our neighbors. As of right now they ducks are living in our garage and will be moved down to the lake to free range in about a month or so. We don't have any predator type animals around here besides raccoons.

Questions:

They are currently on medicated feed (that's what the people gave us) about how much should they be eating each day? We let them out twice a day for a few hours each to graze in the yard.

Is it reasonable to assume that our ducks could be self sufficient when we release them on to the lake full time?

Will we potentially have a problem with the other domestic ducks on the lake? We got 12 hoping they could have their own flock but I'm not sure how territorial ducks are.

Could raccoons still be a threat for them when they are full grown?

If we build a shelter for them on the beach is it likely that they will want to use it or is it just pointless to make one?

Any help would be very much appreciated and I happened to have missed a forum with the same questions feel free to just link me to it thank you!
 

HSerChickLady

Songster
7 Years
Feb 12, 2012
275
3
103
upstate NY
I feed mine all they will eat. Our ducks have all been very good about regulating their intake on their own. I'd get them off medicated feed though. If it's medicated with Amprolium it won't hurt them but it's still better to skip it if possible.

By self-sufficient once on the pond do you mean not wanting to feed them anymore? They will still need feed before they head out in the morning and probably again when they come in at night-if you can get them to come in.

There may be some territory disputes with the older established ducks in the area. Disease transfer would be my biggest concern.

Raccoons will still kill your ducks if they have the chance no matter how big they may get. Raccoons are excellent hunters, very intelligent, and stronger than you think. I've had them overcome things most children wouldn't have been able to figure out and I've seen them fold back sheet metal (roofing type) to get what they want.

I would give them a shelter on the beach and hope they use it. If they do great, but if they don't it's still there if they change their minds.
 

anniele27

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 10, 2014
175
7
73
Illinois
I feed mine all they will eat.  Our ducks have all been very good about regulating their intake on their own.  I'd get them off medicated feed though.  If it's medicated with Amprolium it won't hurt them but it's still better to skip it if possible.

By self-sufficient once on the pond do you mean not wanting to feed them anymore?  They will still need feed before they head out in the morning and probably again when they come in at night-if you can get them to come in.

There may be some territory disputes with the older established ducks in the area.  Disease transfer would be my biggest concern.

Raccoons will still kill your ducks if they have the chance no matter how big they may get.  Raccoons are excellent hunters, very intelligent, and stronger than you think.  I've had them overcome things most children wouldn't have been able to figure out and I've seen them fold back sheet metal (roofing type) to get what they want.

I would give them a shelter on the beach and hope they use it.  If they do great, but if they don't it's still there if they change their minds.


Thank you very much!! We will be out of medicated in a few days so I'll get the non medicated then! Will there be any issues switching them over (I know with dogs they can't just change food)

We planned to have feeders for them and I was curious how often we'd have to fill it but twice a day sounds easy enough! Does cracked corn work or do you recommend something else for grown ducks?

We have decided to have someone come in and catch the raccoons for us. If a choice has to be made I will always choose my ducks!

Thanks for everything!
 

HSerChickLady

Songster
7 Years
Feb 12, 2012
275
3
103
upstate NY
I would switch them over to a 15-16% protein grower feed. Switch over a couple of days if possible. Once they're old enough to lay eggs change them to a layer feed. Offer grit and oyster shells to them as well, but not mixed into the food. The males won't need the calcium that is in the oyster shells but the girls will need it. Cracked corn is not going to cut it. It's very poor nutritionally. You'll use less feed anyhow since yours will be getting some of their needs out on the pond.

It will help removing the raccoons but they may not get them all and new one's will likely move in once the space has been made though it might take a couple years if you're lucky. Never let your guard down and assume they're all gone. Also you likely have opossums as well and don't know it since they're not as blatant about their presence. They seam to be a package deal with raccoons. Given the chance they will also kill your ducks. You're sure there are no foxes? We rarely see them here but they are here.

Good luck. Ducks are so much fun. I wish mine could be out on a pond. Consider yourself very lucky that you have that option.
 

Amiga

Overrun with Runners
10 Years
Jan 3, 2010
23,202
2,635
531
Southern New England
Several people on the forum have been sadly surprised about predators. Ponds attract them. Hawks go after ducks, even full grown ones.

HSerChickLady has given you some good advice. You may want to visit the Predators and Pests Forum and get some ideas there.
 

HSerChickLady

Songster
7 Years
Feb 12, 2012
275
3
103
upstate NY
Our neighbors have lost almost all their ducks to hawks. They finally had to pen them with wire over the top even. In my experience even if you don't see many hawk's now they will start coming more if there's food around and once they get one bird they will keep coming back for more.
 

lilearthquake

In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 26, 2014
45
1
26
Burlington, North Carolina
Regarding Free Ranging Them
I started with 6 ducks, a little over one year ago. I thought that I could "release them" after they were fully grown. That all changed when we lost one to a fox.
A run was erected and then a coop. We let them free range on the lake everyday but put them up at night. Training isn't as hard as you would think, especially when there are so few as mine.
Just remember that ducks like routine.
I wear the same boots and coat when they see me, respective to the weather.
I use the same call "Come Duck" each dusk and feed them only after they are in the run. I never throw food out during day. I want them to be hungry when I call.
After dinner, I say "Bed Duck" and direct them slowly with my arms stretched out so they can see them and guide them into the coop and lock them up tight.

When the weather got warm last year, they ignored my call one night. Just like teenagers. By night fall I could hear them calling me from the other side of the water like they expected me to come in a boat to get them. I didn't sleep a wink and at first light rushed to find there were only 4. They have never stayed out or ignored me since. So they do learn. Most times now they are waiting for me at the gate to let them in.

Note: my ducks are afraid of big turtles in the lake (with good reason, one took a toe). When they get spooked, I call them back with a duck call. Yes, a Duck Dynasty duck call. But it totally works.

Good luck, Sincerely,
Paula
 

MallardOnni127

In the Brooder
6 Years
Sep 24, 2013
17
0
22
When my ducks where small, I fed them unmedicated Chick Crumb as too much protein can cause problems. I would give them a handful between all of them so that you don't overfeed them :)
Your ducks will be fine on the lake - they are very independent animals but you can still give them feed and offer a floating duck house they can shelter inside
Ducks may be unwilling to let newcomers into the flock
Racoons will always be a threat to them no matter what age they are as long as they are out
It is better to get a duck house that can go onto of the water - you can get them from most Gardening shops but a house on the beach should be just as effective - but on water they are safest

Good Luck!
 

lilearthquake

In the Brooder
5 Years
Feb 26, 2014
45
1
26
Burlington, North Carolina
Our neighbors have lost almost all their ducks to hawks. They finally had to pen them with wire over the top even. In my experience even if you don't see many hawk's now they will start coming more if there's food around and once they get one bird they will keep coming back for more.
I am very lucky then that none of the hawks or eagles around our lake go after the ducks (mine or the mallards). I wonder if it has anything to do with the balance of an ecosystem from place to place. Our area is well stocked with fish, frogs, snakes, rodents, etc so the predator birds would rather catch an easier meal than a fat duck. I have great video footage of hawks and eagles catching fish and small rodents. We have many fox though and can hear them screaming in the wee hours of the morning before the sun comes up.
 
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