Ducks outside?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by pookiethebear, May 22, 2008.

  1. pookiethebear

    pookiethebear Songster

    Apr 29, 2008
    ok I have had it with these smelly fowls in my basement. We are building a coop to put them outside this weekend (they are 4 weeks old and almost all feathered out). I want to put them in the orchard area. I have a kiddy pool for them. Do I need to fence a yard in for them? Will they stay home or roam away if I let them free range (they are 2 pekins and 1 rouen)? Will deer netting be enough if I have to fence them in? What predators do I need to worry about? These ducks are pretty big now and protect of the rouen all the time. We are out in the country, we have a variety of wild life here. They will be in the front side yard away from the protction of the dog. Do I need to put a door on their box and close them up each night like the chickens?
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I have to question the 4 weeks and being feathered out. I have NEVER seen a duck, chicken, goose or turkey feathered out at 4 weeks.

    They are far to young to be turned out with a kiddie pool full time. Maybe you can put them out in a protected place in the day and bring them in at night?

    They don't require as much constant heat as chicks but at their age they still do not make enough oils to protect themselves in the water. In fact when I first got ducks I was advised by an older woman to keep them out of water for more than a short dip until they they were older because long exposure at that age to cold water can cause them to become sick. They will tire easily and possibly can't get out of the wading pools. They also need something to use as steps to get in and out of the water. Tired ducklings can drown easily.

    My current experience with Appleyard ducks and my personal conversations with a very well known and highly respected breeder of waterfowl with several books under his belt has given me an even more careful approach to raising ducklings and gosling. They are not as fragile as chicks but do have more and different responsibilities to keep them healthy.

    Please do not put them out with a pool at this age.

    Deer netting will not protect them. If you put them out they need a welded wire pen for protection from predators.

    You would do good to close them at night but ducks do not go to roost like chickens. They live on a very different schedule and are very active at night and like to play and swim.

    They need a fully wired and protected pen to freely come and go and live within their natural instincts.
  3. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    my friend put his 3 weeks out side with a heat lamp and opened up the run a 4 weeks.
  4. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    Mine go out at 3 weeks during the day if the weather is nice and in the garage at night. They have access to the pool, but I drape an old towel over the edge so they can get out.

    They will feather out faster if you expose them to the elements earlier. But if the temps are below the 50's they should be protected. They are fully feathered at 5 to 8 weeks, depending on the breed. I have a Blue Swede that is fully feathered and has been for a week or 2. Her companion is a pekin male and he is almost feathered and massive, but he still has the most adorable fuzz still on his head.

    We had an awful late winter here and the ducks I got in via a rescue situation at the end of March were int he house for FIVE weeks! [​IMG] They are 8 weeks now.

    It was just too cold to put them outside. First nice day, they were OUTTA here! If I had a catapult to shoot those little stinkers into the backyard when the sun peeked out, I would have used it. [​IMG] At night, we kept them in the garage in an old playpen for a week or so.

    They do need to be locked up at night. Nothing better to an owl or other night time predator than a little juicy morsel of a young duckling. They are small and easy to carry off.
  5. pookiethebear

    pookiethebear Songster

    Apr 29, 2008
    We have big stones in the pool now in the center so they can rest if they get tired. I plan on maiking ramps in and out of the pool as well for them. I know they will tire and could drown. I only let them in the pool now supervised buy at least 2 of us so they don't escape. The pekins can stand up in the pool while the rouen swims most of the time, but I think she could stand as well if she wanted to.

    My basement is heated (not very well) and they currently have a light but I have turned it out for the past 2 days and nights and they have been fine. They never huddled unde the lamp for warmth, ever. They sometimes lay together but for the most part spread out but close in their current brooder (4'x8').

    Is a dog box type enclosure about 3x2' sufficient? I want to make it with a removeable lid for cleaning...dirty ducks...
  6. DuckyBoys

    DuckyBoys Songster

    Apr 2, 2008
    Mine have been outside during the day for 3 weeks now - they are 6 weeks old. I must be a mother hen because I have heat lamps on all of 'em! From the brand new baby ones - the 3 week old geese - and the 6 week old guys. In fact last night was the first night that the 6 week old ones slept without a light, but they still like to huddle under it when they come in for the night.

    They are all in the barn at night in locked pens.

    My call ducks are a little over a month and they are completely feathered. Today they moved into their new digs outside for good. So they are the only ones who won't have a heat lamp.

    But I really think it depends on your weather. Our nights are pretty cold and we get a lot of wind.

    At 4 weeks there is no way I'd have them in the basement! you're more tolerant than me, that is for sure. [​IMG]
  7. dixygirl

    dixygirl Songster

    May 14, 2008
    Quote:Hi I am so sorry. I can help if it's too much for you. Email me you can send me as many as you'd like.
    Last edited: May 22, 2008
  8. SueNH

    SueNH Songster

    Feb 24, 2007
    I use a small kitty litter pan with a flat rock in one end for the little ducks the first real times out. Works real well and I don't have to worry.

    I've got 3 I'd really like to put out now too but it's just too cold. Really wish the weather would break.

    I'm starting to see real feathers but only just starting.

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