Free ranging ducks?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by DeCanard, May 4, 2012.

  1. DeCanard

    DeCanard Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 11, 2012
    Hi! I was wondering what people's thoughts were on free ranging their ducks. We have a large pond, so I think it will provide enough safety, what do you think?
  2. It is best to give your ducks a fenced area -- hawks and eagles can attack ducks on a pond, owls can be an issue at night, coyotes can swim, as can stray dogs. You have no way of telling the ducks to STAY on the pond all night - they forage for food at night and it is quite possible that they would be hunting for goodies at the wrong time . . . .

    You can try it out and see -- if there isn't a high predator population you may be okay (but I'd expect losses) I am positive that without our electric fence, we would have lost all of our geese / ducks to roaming dogs, eagles, and our large coyote population. The wild ducks seem to make do, but I think they have better instincts than domestic ducks - plus, there is no telling how often the wild ducks lose mates or babies to predators.

    I think most people on here have a fenced area for the ducks, and let them free range with supervision during the day. If the pond is a large one, you may have some issues getting the ducks out of the pond and back to their house in the evening though, but if they are used to being fed, they'll get in the habit quickly. Mine drop whatever they are doing if they see the feed scoop!
  3. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    I have runners. My neighbors have had muscovies.
    Our yard is fenced with field fencing. Their yard (except for the stretch bordering ours) is fenced with barbed wire.
    They have a good sized pond (maybe around 1/4 acre).
    Their ducks were entirely free range and usually hung in the back with the horses, but often could be found in their front yard.
    I think they had 7 when we moved in 2 years ago. They said their ducks pretty much fended off things on their own, but they would lose one now and then (they didn't actually get the ducks, somebody dropped them off).
    As of a month or two ago, they have no more ducks. Their guess is the neighbor's loose dog got the last one as all they found was a bunch of feathers.

    Mine are behind a fence and closed up at night. So far, so good. Hopefully it continues that way.
  4. DeCanard

    DeCanard Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 11, 2012
    Thanks for the advice! I think I should probably fence them to be on the safe side.
  5. Goose and Fig

    Goose and Fig Grateful Geese

    Apr 19, 2009
    Fall Creek Falls TN
    MIne free range all day, but have a fenced pen they can squeeze into if a stray dog happens to come by. I lock them up every night, and if we're going to be away from the house for several hours they stay in. We have several LGDs that keep most non-flying predators at bay too. .
  6. jessaba

    jessaba Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 13, 2012
    North Ga
    We pen ours up due to some people letting their dogs run the roads and afraid they will come after our ducks..Although we have chickens that free range and never had a problem.

    One of our GP's is a bird chaser if they get in the goat pen (which is 2 acres of the farm at least) so I just keep our duckies penned up.
  7. Apyl

    Apyl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2012
    Necedah, Wi
    My ducks "open range". I use to call it free ranging but after seeing so many people on here refer to pens and chicken tractors as free range just because the y were on grass I got annoyed and found "open range" is a better term. But yes I open range all my chickens and ducks from sun up to sun down. The ONLY time my flock has been penned was for the first couple weeks so they would learn where the coop was and to go in it at night. Since then the flock nows the routine. I let them out about 7am and just before dark I come out and fill the feeder and they all go inside the coop. Sure eventually I'm sure a predator will come around but thats the risk you take. Like any livestock ducks and chickens do become aware of their surroundings and will seek cover when their is a threat. If they dont then they become prey its as simple as that.
  8. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2012
    My Muscovy ducks free range with my chickens all day. How safe it is really depends on how bad your predators are. So far I haven't had a single predator problem. Even my chicks start free ranging at about 6-7 weeks old. They have their coop, a couple chickens tractors and tree shade for protection. I find it very odd that I haven't lost any to predators, as I've seen foxes and hawks and neighborhood dogs on or around our property. We also had a raccoon living in one of our trees for awhile, and a 'possum stealing our cat's food at night. [​IMG]
  9. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

    May 24, 2011
    On, Canada
    Mine free range during the day.. we lock them up at night... I think there are many variables with this and certainly depends upon your set-up and your predators.. With mine being Muscovy I do not feel we could reasonably make a pen that provided them with enough room nor predator proof(hardware cloth) to make it worthwhile doing so.

    You have to weigh the pros and cons and decide what works best for you and your birds.
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  10. DeCanard

    DeCanard Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 11, 2012
    I haven't seen any daytime predators, but I put up a fenced pen just in's a little under 4 ft tall, and plastic. I am going to lock them up at night. [​IMG]

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