Gardening with ducks

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by lilstar, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. lilstar

    lilstar Songster

    Apr 8, 2011
    I'm new to gardening, AND new to ducks, and I'm getting my start with each of them at the same time :) My ducklings will be hatching on easter. I'm planning to keep around 4 of them. Mutts and/or barnyard surprise! I know the ducks will help my garden LOADS by taking care of the slug problem. Last year a garden just wasn't an option. Dozens upon dozens of slugs. I planted my daughter's squash, that had been thriving in its little paper up, gone the next morning! Up until then, I didn't even know slugs could do that kind of damage. So I've heard strawberries have no hope around ducks. We'll plant those in pots on our deck. What about raspberries? Will we need to fence those off? Our yard has a *ton* of wild blackberries in late summer, and possibly even a larger ton of wild grapes in the fall. The grapes are terrible (except for a small area that grows a sweet kind) and the blackberries are more than we have hope of eating.. they can have all of those they want! But what about our vegetables? Will we need to work to keep them out? Are there certain ones they'll destroy and others they'll leave alone?
  2. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Crowing

    Sep 25, 2010
    Kansas City
    Wonderful idea for a thread. I can't be much help, but I do know my ducks adore mulberries and strawberries so I would fence any berries off. I think with the veggies once they are established you can let the ducks around most. I will be subscribing to this to hear what anyone else has to say. [​IMG]
  3. lilstar

    lilstar Songster

    Apr 8, 2011
    I'm wondering if we might be better off with starts vs seeds so that they'll be a bit more established once the ducklings are able to be outside full time.
  4. cheesehead

    cheesehead Hatching

    Apr 1, 2012
    Central Wisconsin
    I have 5 'pet yard' ducks that just kind of wander around the yard and I love to let them into the garden to pick out the weeds and bugs, I have noticed that they WILL destroy strawberries, they won't touch any 'berry' anything that is prickly. My ducks will not eat my veggies, but they will eat any nice young (or not young) tender leafy greens, that can affect the veggies.. Carrot tops, broccoli, bean plants...they did eat some pumpkin leaves which surprised me because they are prickly but not the cucumber vines or leaves. I like to wait until every thing is a bit established and the weeds are growing, then Ill hoe them up a bit so when I do let the ducks in the weeds are easy to just uproot and eat whole, taking much longer for more weeds to creep in. Hope I helped a bit! Have fun with your duckies!
  5. MotherGoose 777

    MotherGoose 777 In the Brooder

    Dec 25, 2009
    I'd agree with cheesehead. I let my ducks in my garden, and haven't had any problems whatsoever with established plants (the strawberries were burned out before the ducks got there though). They didn't bother tomatoes, peppers, onions, potatoes (well, they nibbled some potato leaves but stopped) or peas. I think they didn't know what the peas were though ... I'd really not be surprised if ducks decimate peas if they have a chance. I just got lucky.

    My ducks came in after the plants were up a little, and they REALLY helped with the insects. They took care of everything I had except tobacco hornworms, which get on my tomatoes. We had a plague of grasshoppers here last year, and that's why I got the ducks for that garden. Before long I had fat ducks and far fewer grasshoppers. Everyone else lost their gardens to the grasshoppers ... mine hung in there until the drought wiped it out. :( But the ducks did their part.

    Good luck with it, and with your ducks! :)
  6. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Oh yes. Ducks will help you garden alright.

    Mine love veggies. They get all the plants at the end of the season. They will eat all the mature plants except for the prickly squash plants. They will eat the squash, just not the plants.

    I haven't planted yet, so I've got ducks in the veggie garden right now, weeding for me and cleaning up any early bugs.
  7. Tahai

    Tahai Songster

    I've read it's best to let the ducks free range in the garden in the spring before planting, and in the fall after harvest. They should only have supervised time in the garden during the growing season, and that only after the plants are well established. I've also heard they can effectively harvest a tomato plant in no time flat. [​IMG]
  8. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    My garden is fenced to keep the ducks and dogs out (ducks eat plants, dog eat dirt and steal watermelons).
    I did deliver them 2 worms that were trying to eat my broccoli this morning though.
  9. FarmrGirl

    FarmrGirl MooseMistress

    Jul 1, 2009
    Southern Maryland
    you'll want to make sure both plants and ducks are well established. Depending on what you let them forage on when young (weeds and such) they'll stay away from most of your veggies but eat most of the bugs. If they're young when you let them into the garden they're pretty indesciminante and will eat a lot of the stuff you don't want them to. Their taste is all a factor of what you raise them on.

    I wrote a blog post to chronicle my experience:
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2012
  10. Tahai

    Tahai Songster

    Excellent Blog!

    And it's great to know that ducks eat marmorated stink bugs! We just had our first reports of them at the end of last summer, and with the mild winter, I'm sure they'll be well established for this gardening season.

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