Fly issues and muscovies... and a few questions :)

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Sustained, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. Sustained

    Sustained Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live an area that has 'fly season'. This is new to me as I now live in the suburbs in a dry desert-ish area and have lived all my life, previously, on the Oregon coast. Maybe it's too wet there for a 'fly season', idk. I lived on a dairy farm and the flies weren't even 1/10 this bad. No kidding. Anyway, I guess this time of year the flies go crazy and are EVERYWHERE in large quantities. I have messy children (food crumbs everywhere even outside lol), a small flock of hens, several meat rabbits with a couple litters on the way, and a few other common pets. So the flies are INSANE!!!! They're driving me crazy! [​IMG]I'm doing everything I can think of to deal with them. I hate chemicals but have even resorted to bombing my house because they were so ridiculously thick in the main living areas. That only helped for a few days. I've got every kind of trap I could find everywhere, 6 fly swatters (one for me and one for each kid whom I pay 5 cents per fly killed), I put those magic mesh door things on my doorways, and a ton of other things.... I read somewhere, and now can't find where I read it, that Muscovy ducks are amazing for bug control. Especially flies and mosquitos.

    I like the idea that they are so quiet supposedly also. Basically, I'm hoping everyone will tell me that 'oh yes, they're so quiet and sweet and eat every single bug in sight so you will never ever have to worry about fly season again! And they eat spiders. You'll never see another spider again!' Hey I can dream right? [​IMG] Oh and the spider thing was for my own personal benefit. I just don't like them lol. And for all the spiders I see creeping around they sure aren't pulling their weight with the fly problem!

    Oh and if everyone could weigh in on the duck poop situation that would be great! I've always been told that ducks eat 1lb of food and s**t 10lbs. I give my animals, except the rabbits, free run of my yard and I'm aware that there's going to be at least some poo on my back patio. I don't really mind as long as it's not an insane amount. I go out every day and sweep it off the patio into the grass, and every few days I hose it down and scrub it with a wire brush if need be. Patio is concrete. But considering they will be in a backyard instead of on acreage (I wish) I was wondering if my yard would become one giant duck poop mine field. I have barred rock chickens so if anyone could give a comparison between the poo output of muscovies vs BR or similar sized chickens? Boy I never thought I would have to ask about the pooping habits of animals [​IMG] Oh and I was thinking about only one female or possibly a trio but I need to look more into space requirements before I commit. I'd love to have ducklings. My backyard is about 4000 sq ft and fenced. I clip my chickens wings so I would have to clip theirs too. My neighbors wouldn't appreciate the visitors :)

    Friendliness? I've read a lot of mixed reviews on this. I know ducks are entertaining but how would they do with children under 12 years old? My children love animals as much as I do and I've never had an animal that they had to 'love from afar' before. My oldest son would probably be the only one who would want to pick them up like he does with our chickens but the other kids love to pet and give treats.

    I'm sure I have more questions but that will do for now. Thank you to anyone and everyone who can help me out with info! And any other tidbits you might want to throw in for someone looking into muscovies would be awesome.
     
  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Welcome! Where to begin?

    I use a combination of fly predators and this kind of fly trap

    http://store.doyourownpestcontrol.com/victor-poison-free-m530-fly-magnet-disposable-fly-trap

    The ducks do eat their share of flies as well.

    I put a Little Tree Vanillaroma air freshener at the door of the night pen - it is said to discourage flies from coming in.

    The second summer with ducks, it was as if the flies all sent for their cousins when the weather warmed up. I found out about these things from friends. It took several weeks, but since using this approach, flies are not much of a bother. I do have to make sure the screen door is closed on the sunny side of the house.

    Ducks make some manure, that's true, but it doesn't seem to me to be an inordinate amount. I take the compost approach - add high-carbon material like chopped straw or leaves to the bottom of the pen, and it breaks down nicely with their poop, making compost, that brings the worms in, that gives the ducks something to forage for.

    Many domestic duck breeds do not fly. I do not have to clip wings on my runners or buffs.

    Friendliness depends in part on the personality of the individual duck, in part on how they are raised and managed. I have a few huggers in the flock, no one likes to be picked up, all are quite friendly.
     
  3. Sustained

    Sustained Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just found information on fly predators last week. I'd never heard of them before, but never had a reason to need them either. I ordered some and am very excited about their arrival lol. I've never heard about the vanilla trees but I will try it. I planted a ton of basil everywhere because I read that flies avoid it too.

    Thank you for the input. Ducks are one of the few critters that I have no experience with (obviously! haha)
     
  4. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 2 pekins and they are my first ducks. I use the stinky bag and the catch and toss fly traps. The ducks catch some flies but they are a major problem along with mosquitos. Gah... The mosquitos! I cannot step foot outside the house without being covered head to toe in bug spray and kill at least one inside everyday. Anyway... I open the back door and feed my ducks treats so they tend To hang out there. They poop but I just hose it off when needed. Once to twice a day. You cannot just sweep it off. My ducks have free range of my yard and the only poop I see is on the patio and that's my own fault. My boys are almost 2 and almost 4. They like the ducks and feed them and the ducks wi eat out of our hands. Right now they are mad at me and won't because I kept chasing them around the yard to pick them up. They don't like to be picked up but deal with it once I have them. The kids LOVE to pet them but know not to chase them and it's worked out well. I imagine over time the ducks will be a bit more trusting and we might be able to pet them without resorting to picking them up. Welcome to BYC.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    You could try planting lemon balm all over the place - I am told mosquitoes don't like it. And it smells nice.
     
  6. Quackers Mama

    Quackers Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If its not already sealed, I'd seal the concrete. That way it'll be a lot easier to clean. Duck poop isn't always solid.

    I have a 7-8 week old Muscovy, had her since she was less than a week old, and a 4 yr old daughter. When Quackers was younger I taught my daughter how to properly pick her up. Quackers would fuss and try to run away, now she doesn't give much problems. I'm the only one who picks Quackers up now because her claws are sharp and she's bigger now. Only problem between Quackers and my daughter is that Quackers will peck at Evas toes. I think Quackers thinks they are little worms or something lol. Either way it's a no no and I've been doing beak taps/holds when Quackers is being naughty. Right now she's about 7-8 weeks old and going through her rebellious teenage phase. So she's testing her boundaries and seeing what she can get away with Lol. She's indoor right now and is rather quiet. Except for when she's looking for me. She'll chirp loudly throughout the house lol.

    She's really good about taking treats from our hands. Just have to be careful with smaller hands. I only let Eva feed Quackers from the palm of her hand. Fingers get bitten otherwise, not bad but it spooks Eva and she gets mad Lol.

    At first Quackers didn't like to be petted. After going slow with her and gently talking to her, she's starting to enjoy it. Eva knows if she starts running away or flaps her wings (as to say back off/leave me alone) she will leave her alone and give her, her space.

    For the insects bit, Quackers just chased her first spider last night. It was pretty entertaining to watch Lol. Right now my cats are the fly catchers, hopefully Quackers will join in soon. :)

    Oh and :welcome
    Supposedly your supposed to be able to pick a leaf off, rub it all over yourself and the mosquitoes won't bother you. I personally haven't tried it yet.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2014
  7. Sustained

    Sustained Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You keep Quackers inside? lol. How do you deal with the poo? Just curious. My chickens are convinced that I want them to be house pets and I'm constantly chasing them out because I don't want to clean poop out of the carpet. Call me picky [​IMG]
     
  8. Quackers Mama

    Quackers Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lol yes Quackers is inside right now, that is till I can get a house built outside. Quackers is a scary cat, gets spooked easily with sounds when she's outside. Even with the sound of leafs blowing in the wind Lol. Yet when inside when we have had loud thunderstorms it doesn't phase her lol. Right now I'm trying to slowly transition her to being outside.

    As for the poop, when it's solid she has her own roll of toilet paper, and when it's a splat, she has her own mop Lol. A lot of people who have indoor ducks put duck diapers on them. I like the idea of not having poop everywhere but I'd rather clean it up than have her with a yucky diaper on. They poop a lot! I only have carpet in my bedroom (she's only really in there when I'm cleaning my room or when she's in her bed at night. I use a pet carpet cleaner to clean up her poop), the bathroom has tile, and the rest of the house is hardwood floors. Now if my house was fully carpeted, she'd be diapered Lol.
     
  9. needlessjunk

    needlessjunk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have given up the plants do anything for bugs. I have marigolds, basil, citronella, mint, lavender, thyme and rosemary. Some how we still have fly/mosquito problems. I will rub myself down with it and still get eaten alive. DEET is my best friend. Not my first choice but better than west Nile. Oh and I don't just have one of all those plants I have several and all by the doors.
     
  10. Quackers Mama

    Quackers Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ever try those little fan things that you clip onto you? I forget who makes them, maybe Off!. I've used them once by a lake and it was awesome. Have yet to remember to buy another one.
     

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