First Ducks! Order as Ducklings or Adopt older from local shelter?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by laht90, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. laht90

    laht90 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hey All!

    My husband and I are are getting our very first Ducks! Question is, should we order them as ducklings (originally wanted 3 Cayuga and 3 Buff hens) or go to our local farm shelter and adopt adult ones? They currently have quiet a few ducks there of all breeds, many bonded pairs. We want them mainly for eggs (and pets of course) and if we went to the shelter we would most likely end up with a drake or two as well. Can you still eat those eggs even if fertile? As beginners what would you suggest we do?? start with babies or jump to adults?

    thanks everyone!
     
  2. HannahDuckLover

    HannahDuckLover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, you can eat fertile eggs just fine.

    It will work either way, whether you get adults or ducklings. With ducklings, they are more likely to be tame, but you won't know the sex unless the person you buy them from has vent sexed them. Personally, I would get ducklings, but it's your choice.

    You wouldn't want more than one drake, though. They can fight or overmate the ducks.
     
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  3. jducour

    jducour Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've have had it both ways. I started out with ducklings, but I got them straight run and ended up with 5 males. I rehomed three of them, and have since adopted 6 laying females. They were in need of a good home, and I didn't want to go through the mess and time of raising ducklings again. They were all already laying eggs, so it was nice to have eggs tomorrow, rather than waiting 6 months. If you do get adults, please only get one male. It is hard to have a happy flock of several drakes, especially if they weren't raised together. There could be a lot of fighting before they figure out who is in charge. Females are different, they seem to accept each other fairly easily. There will be some minor scuffles, but nothing like competing drakes.

    I think everyone should raise ducklings at least once. It's amazing. But you could get the adults now, and have ducklings in the spring.

    And yes, you can eat fertile eggs. As long as you gather them daily, there is no difference than unfertilized eggs. A cell may have divided, but I doubt you would be able to taste it [​IMG]

    Most of our eggs are fertile, but we eat every single one, and sell our extra.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2015
  4. laht90

    laht90 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for the replies!

    It's good to know that you can eat eggs that may be fertile in case we do end up with a drake. I think we are going to make a trip to the shelter this weekend to take a look at what they have but I have been pretty set on raising the little guys from ducklings :) I will keep you posted! If we do get ducklings, what is the average age that they can start living outside? we're in NH and it's getting cold pretty fast, I was planning on keeping them in the house for the first couple weeks then moving them out into the barn once they are a little bigger and finally to the shed/coop that we are converting into the nesting house. What do you recommend for fencing materials? we have a fairly large yard about half an acre and plan on fencing a good portion of it off for them.
     
  5. jducour

    jducour Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If it were me, I would wain until early spring with ducklings. You will have to keep them indoors for most of the winter, and it is so fun to see ducklings in their element. My ducklings hatched in March, and we had them in our house for the first 4 weeks,then moved them with their heat lamp out to our shed for another 4 weeks. By the time their house was built, they no longer needed supplemental heat - it was the first week of May. At that time, they were fully feathered and able to be outside all day. You can certainly get ducklings now, and keeo them in the barn all day - but you have to make sure you have a reliable heat source. If your power was to go out for even just a little bit while you were sleeping - it would be so cold for those little guys, and they may not make it. For the fencing, 1/2" hardware cloth is the best to keep predators out. It depends on if this is just a daytime pen, and what kind of daytime predators you have in your area. Their night pen has to be 100% predator proof,all openings lined with hardware cloth - and latches on the doors and windows.
     
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  6. laht90

    laht90 Out Of The Brooder

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    good idea! that will give us time to get everything set up and get their coop/run all ready :) do you have any recommendations for a reliable hatchery to order from in the spring? I've looked at efowl.com and McMurray hatchery so far
     
  7. jducour

    jducour Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I personally wouldn't order from e-fowl. They are a middle man, and you have no idea where your ducks are coming from. I've heard good thinks about McMurray and Metzer. Try to find a good breeder as close to you as possible. I got my ducklings at a feed store, but they aren't usually sexed, so you don't know what you are going to get. I ended up with 5 drakes in that batch!
     
  8. PotatoWaffles

    PotatoWaffles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess it would depend on what you want them for. Adopting an animal in need of a home from a shelter is ALWAYS a wonderful option. There are so many animals in need of good homes. But, like you said, availability might be an issue. It never hurts to check. Also, there's a chance the ducks you adopt might never warm up to you as much as you like. I've adopted two adult ducks and I love them, but they are still skittish.

    Ordering ducklings is a good option too, if you want the joy of experiencing raising them yourself. It's a good way to get exactly what breed you want as well. But a few things to keep in mind. Make sure to order from a good reputable hatchery that certifies health and has good refund policies. We got our first ducklings from Metzer Farms, and they were fairly easy to work with. And also know the bird will be in transit the first three or four days of their life, and the period for them imprinting on you will be greatly diminished. They may never tame up as much as you like. Our mail order ducks are very skittish and only approach for treats occasionally. Be sure to order during warmer months. I made the mistake of ordering too soon in February and March, and lost four chicks. It was a very sad thing.

    Both the ways above are good for getting ducks for egg production and to have decent pets. But if you want REALLY friendly ducks, the best way would be to hatch them yourself. We hatched our first ducks last month and they just LOVE us! They follow me everywhere outside, and they love to crawl on my lap and snuggle. But this method is expensive for the first time because it requires you to have an incubator and other hatching supplies. You can also purchase fertilized eggs from hatcheries online and have them shipped. Our hatched duck eggs came from our own flock.

    So it really depends on how you envision your future ducks. You decide based on your wants and needs. Give it some thought and good luck!!
     
  9. elly21

    elly21 Out Of The Brooder

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    Like everyone else said, if you want them to be more friendly towards you, you should go with ducklings. HOWEVER, getting ducklings right now will be a lot of work. I currently have 4 ducklings. They will not be able to go out with the other ducks until they are fully feathered (around 9 weeks of age). I have a kiddie pool set up in my living room as a brooder right now. It needs to be cleaned a few times a day and the house is kind of stinky. I started with a bin and shavings but they have pretty much out grew that. When we got our first batch of ducklings it was April and the weather was warming up so we didn't have to keep them inside as long. Unless you can set up a draft free heated brooder outside, you might want to consider waiting until spring. Not to say it can not be done, just know that it will be a lot of work! Good luck with whatever you decide on!
     
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I must say that of the six adopted rescues we have had, three have been kinda shy, though they are warming up slowly, one was shy but becoming friendlier when we lost her to e.y.p., one was shy but is now one of the friendliest (but still a touch-me-not), and one is friendly and just fine with being picked up and nuzzled.

    It depends on their temperament and upbringing.

    Of the eleven we raised from day-olds, Drei, Elf, and Zwei turned out to be huggy, Acht and Zehn sometimes huggy, the rest like to get close, even snuggle with me when I lie down with them, but don't like pets. No one likes being picked up.

    Some folks surrender their ducks because they cannot afford vet care, or lose their homes. Those would be the most likely to be already very much friendly pets.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015

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