Ducks and gardens

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Macf, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. Macf

    Macf New Egg

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    Has anyone tried keeping ducks in a vegetable patch ?. I heard they ate caterpillars and other nasties,
    What do you need for ducks ? I mean, what sort of artificial pond, food and, of course, where do they sleep at night ?
    I ve got a.bunch of hens, but so far haven't dared ducks as I m a bit worried about my vegetables. I ve got a fence to keep the hens out of the veg and pretty flowers, but ducks would of fly over the fence.
     
  2. enriquec

    enriquec Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've heard they eat those things but also gardens so I've kept them away from mine.

    I'm not sure i understand the rest. You have ducks or want to get some but not sure what they need? And you want them around living outside but not as pets?
     
  3. JadeComputerGal

    JadeComputerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are certain plants they'll eat, especially the leaves of the plants. My biggest concern in your position would be dead ducks. Some vegetables that are commonly grown in gardens are toxic to ducks, probably even more of them than I'm aware of. Onions, beans, and leaves of tomato plants are a few.

    I'm not sure I understand the flying part. Do you mean you're afraid if you get ducks they'll fly over the fence and into the garden whether you want them there or not? If so, most domestic ducks don't do any real flying to speak of. I have a four foot fence around my vegetable and herb gardens and have never had a problem. They stick their bills through trying to get nibbles of things, but they've never tried to fly over the fence.
     
  4. Sfraker

    Sfraker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine will happily eat all my veggie plants and ignore the bugs. Grrrr

    They are not allowed near the garden. On the other hand I encourage my guinea fowl to go in the garden. It doesn't take them long to est all the bugs
     
  5. smonkeySK

    smonkeySK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I used to have a lovely green garden; then I got ducks.
    Now I have a lovely brown garden!

    Ducks are worse for garden destruction than chucks - and if you have calls, mallards or other flighted breeds then they may well fly over low fences to get at the goodies on the other side; even when clipped.

    That's not to say that they will - but mine would if I let them!
    Your best bet is to put a framework around any plants you want to keep. Put hardware cloth round the frame - no bigger than 19mm on the aperture size or they'll get heads/beaks through and destroy most of your plants anyway!

    As already stated - some plant leaves are toxic (strawberry leaves are another) so extra care must be taken with these or they need to be avoided altogether.

    Ducks love ponds but you have to be careful with the chickens - I have no issues with my adult chucks around the pond (despite a few accidental baths!); but I've seen the ducks try to drown chicks and they have succeeded on one occasion unfortunately.

    I would also add that digging out ponds does nothing for helping keep the garden green!
     
  6. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I have ducks and they help with the gardens, but they don't spend a lot of time in the garden, because they drill holes in the soil and step on tender plants. They are fine around taller plants, and perennials.

    They need a pen and shelter safe from predators.
     
  7. Macf

    Macf New Egg

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    Your replies on ducks and vegetables are all rather discouraging. It was a friend of mine who gave me the idea as she said they ate the nasty beasties in her garden by flying over their fence só were quite useful.
    My hens free range and i vê got a fence round my veg to protect them from my hens. Seems ducks would be quite a problem.
     
  8. smonkeySK

    smonkeySK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If the fence goes all the way round your veg patch then all you would have to do is net the top of the area with cheap bird netting - if you can't let your chucks into direct contact with your veg then you don't lose anything by netting the top and getting a few ducks too.
    They won't be able to catch beasties in the patch but they will help keep it clear by reducing bug numbers round it. Ducks are very good at catching flying insects
     
  9. JoyAnna

    JoyAnna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a two-foot high plastic fence around my gardens and my ducks free range the whole property. They cannot fly over but I had to be sure they could not crawl under. This way they keep the slug population way down all year, and after I harvest the veggies and blueberries, I open the gates and allow them to clean up all that is left as well as all the small slugs that have hatched during the growing season. They add fertilizer and do a little tilling of the top soil. Most domesticated ducks cannot fly.
     
  10. JadeComputerGal

    JadeComputerGal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think any of us meant to discourage you, only to let you know the things you need to consider since you've never had ducks. Our ducks are like family members to us, the same as the dogs and cats. I can't imagine not having ducks, and I hear that they're easier to care for than chickens. I don't know the particulars of that since I've never had chickens and don't know all the details of caring for them.

    I think you should still consider it if you're willing to provide the things they need, mostly good feed, drinking water, bathing water, and a safe, secure place where they must be contained every minute from at least dusk until dawn. There are both diurnal and nocturnal duck predators in almost every part of the world. (I'm going out on a limb and assuming you don't live in Antarctica. I'm guessing UK.) I think the predators are pretty much the same things you need to guard against with chickens. Maybe someone else reading this thread can confirm that.

    Since your main concern is garden pests, you might want to take a look at Runners and Campbells. Those two breeds are both excellent foragers and also good (Runners) to excellent (Khaki Campbell) egg producers. Since pests like slugs don't fall from the sky, just having good foraging ducks on your property, even outside a fenced garden, can really help. You can open the garden after and before planting so they can clean up and fertilize inside the fence. They also help with worms, which are always good for your garden, because worms like to eat duck feathers.

    I'm adding some pics below so you can see what both look like. KCs are rather plain looking brown ducks, but we think ours are beautiful. Runners have a very unusual conformation that's unlike what most people visualize when they think of ducks. They're very thin and have an almost upright carriage. I think they're really neat, but my husband says they "creep him out" because from a distance they look like a bunch of little people walking around the property [​IMG]

    Khaki (the most common) Campbells -

    [​IMG]

    Runners - I grabbed this one from the Internet. They come in a range of colors. Amiga has Runners and might be able to post some pics of hers.

    [​IMG]

    Hope this helps!
     

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