Garden Ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by bettymae83, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. bettymae83

    bettymae83 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been reading about natural ways to get rid of bugs in your garden. I like the thought of a chicken moat, but not sure I have enough room. I'm still thinking about it though and I haven't ruled it out yet. I really like the idea of garden ducks, and I have no idea why. I have read 50/50 articles on this, 50% saying it's a horrible idea, ducks will thrash your garden and the other 50% saying they are awesome, won't touch garden (unlike chickens) and depends on the breed. Do any of you have garden ducks? What are your thoughts on garden ducks? And what would you recommend as a garden duck breed? I am looking for bug eating machines, but friendly, I have kids. Pictures would be awesome, if you don't mind. I was planning on fencing my garden, with a coop about 3 feet off the ground, and a small pond at the lower part of the garden. Nothing fancy at this point, but something to keep them safe from predators and healthy too. I will be putting bird netting above my garden to keep them safe from hawks, and bald eagles.

    However if the garden ducks idea does not work, I will try to modify the chicken moat idea to fit my plans.

    Thank you for any responses, Betty Mae
     
  2. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My ducks root around in my gardens. They will trample some things, but others they go around.
    My chicken makes a mess of my gardens and I'm tired of putting things back where they belong. I don't know that she's destroyed plants, but dirt/mulch is never quite where she thinks it should be.

    My veggie garden is fenced, but mostly to keep the dogs out. I do let the ducks/chickens in. Ducks root around in the exterior beds that are low to the ground and the chicken plays in the raised beds.


    If you leave the ducks in there full time, I'd look into making you garden with raised beds or fence off new tender plants because they will chomp/trample newly sprouted things.

    I have runners and a welsh harlequin.
     
  3. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    I have Runners and Buffs (and now a Cayuga, very recently).

    The reason I have the Runners is the garden - slugs were decimating most everything I planted.

    It takes some management and planning, but I let them come in after harvest, and well before planting to do slug patrol and fertilize. They don't scratch up the soil, they pat it down with their feet and fluff the top inch or two with their bills.

    If you read about ducks drilling holes in the soil, I only find that with mine when the soil is rather wet.

    They are great around perennials and woodies. The hazelnut, grape and kiwi are just fine with the ducks around.

    We go for walks around the place, and it is difficult to find a slug here anymore.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  4. bettymae83

    bettymae83 Out Of The Brooder

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    I do plan on raised beds, and I will now be planning to fence off the young plants. I have read that they drill holes with their bills, but that is only when it is wet and muddy. I have also read that ducks will cut down on the mosquito population also. That is a major plus in their favor. I have read that Harlequins are the elite in bug hunters! I will have to google more about them. Runners are the ducks that stand like soldiers, correct? All straight and noble, maybe even regal looking [​IMG]
     
  5. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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  6. bettymae83

    bettymae83 Out Of The Brooder

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    I highly doubt I will be eating my Garden Ducks, so they will be our pets. So in that case Amiga, how are Runners temperament? TLWR what about Harlequins and temperament? Anyone else have a suggestion?
     
  7. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, and my best garden was when I watered everything with water from the duck pool... nicely fertilized.
     
  8. bettymae83

    bettymae83 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmmmmm makes me wonder if I should put the duck pool at the top of the garden, instead of the bottom. But then I worry about nitrates and burning the garden. But I'm sure the water would neutralize most of the nitrates. I hope nitrates is the proper "burning" agent, I'm thinking of. I'm pretty new to all this, however I have been reading for a while.
     
  9. jducour

    jducour Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a good size garden, and 8 ducks. I had to fence off most of my garden until every plant and seedling was well established. They love the leaves of some plants - like potatoes and pumpkins, and left other leaves completely alone - tomatoes, raspberries. You can't trust a duck around a head of cabbage at any point.

    Last year we were completely overrun with snails. I would go out at night around midnight with a bucket, and gather 50-70 a night for a week straight. I haven't seen a single snail in my garden in 4 months. No joke. No slugs either, and most of my potato bugs are gone too. They have also eaten every single tomato in my garden- they breached the chicken wire fence so many times I gave up and have let them take over all 6 tomato plants. They wait for them to ripen, then eat them all :).

    I don't think my ducks would be happy about walking up 3 feet to their house. I know chickens don't mind - but ducks tend to like to stay close to the ground. I have been really impressed with my Runner ducks overall. They eat about 1/2 as much pellets as my other ducks, and they are excellent foragers. And for their petite size, they lay some amazingly large eggs. My two pound Runner lays the equivalent of an extra large chicken egg every single day.

    Their water would make a great fertilizer - we have a pond, not a pool, but we put all of their used bedding in the garden, and pump dirty pond water into the grass. We ahven't had to fertilize the grass or the garden once this year. They have also completely eliminated our dandelions. I haven't used an herbicide since we've had the ducks, and I haven't needed to. They will eat any broad leaf weed they can find.

    There are downsides - but that depends on your situation. For me - the problem is that my entire yard is manicured and nice. I don't know how else to say it. It is completely landscaped. This is not a livestock yard. It is grass, and landscaped flower beds, with a large pond and waterfall. Adjusting to the amount of poop on every surface of our yard has been the biggest hurdle. Grass, rocks, dirt, walls, every surface gets covered in poop. It's not a huge problem right now, you can hose it off, and it filters down to make a great fertilizer. I am worried about how bad it will get in the winter - when I can't pull out the hose and clean everything. I am considering blocking off part of my yard, so they only have access to the pond and the garden. I'm figuring it out as I go.

    Here is my yard and ducks - they are so spoiled and loved!

    [​IMG]

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    I just want to say - for how messy, stinky and gross they are - I wouldn't be able to give them up. They are beautiful, intelligent and hilarious little creatures. They eat their weight in bugs, give my family delicious eggs, and are great friends to my kids. They eat all of our leftover or less than perfect fruit and veggies, and turn it into yummy eggs. I can't believe I waited this long before I raised domestic ducks!
     
  10. bettymae83

    bettymae83 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2015
    Hoopa, Ca.
    I am planning on a 20' X 20' "guestimated" area for my garden. I would really like 2 maybe 3 ducks for this area. Maybe 1 male and couple females. What do you recommend? While the veggies are tender and new I will keep the ducks out, possibly free range on the acre. If ducks wouldn't like a 3' climb that's okay. I don't mind modifying my plans for my animals. I can drop it to the ground. My husband is an artist so maybe he can draw up what I am planning.
     

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