Hello everyone! I've been a lurker here for quite some time, and have finally decided to make an account. We're planning on getting a few ducklings within the next couple of months, and have a few questions that I'm hoping you guys can answer. I live with my parents and my mother wants ducks, which I am completely, overly okay with. Who doesn't want ducks? I'll be the one setting everything up and taking care of them, so she's leaving almost everything up to my decision. I'm leaning very strongly toward Welsh Harlequins. From what I've read, Welsh Harlequins seem like they'll be a good match for what we're looking for. Calm ducks with good foraging and mothering abilities, and average egg layers. Also, they don't fly, which is a plus. How have any of you WH owners faired with yours? Anything breed specific I should keep in mind before getting them? I think if we go the hatchery route we'll be getting them from Metzer Farms. They're one of the only hatcheries I've found with a low minimum and where you can choose which sex you get. I had been looking into Murray McMurray hatchery, but they're only offering straight runs on their Welsh Harlequins. My mother would rather get sexed birds, instead of leaving it up to fate. Do any of you know of any hatcheries besides Metzer's with good reviews and the option of choosing the sex? Know of any breeders that sell sexed ducklings? Now, onto the actual raising of the ducklings. I've recently gotten Storey's Guide To Raising Ducks, but haven't made it through the whole book yet. I have a large plastic tote (about the size of a bathtub) that I had planned on keeping the ducklings in. Could I use shredded paper as bedding or just stick with straw from the local ag store? I already have a heat lamp and thermometer, so that's taken care of. Can I use a small auto-filling cat feeder for the ducklings? It's the kind with the container upside-down on the base. Feed will either be gotten from tractor Supply or our local ag store. For water I was just going to use milk jugs with head holes cut out. Once they get bigger, I'll probably free range them during the day, then pen them at night. We have a dog run that's not in use that I was thinking of using. The only thing I would have to do is create a roof of some sort to keep out any predators. There's a pretty good size pack of coyotes that run in the woods behind the field across the road from us during the summer, mostly at night. Last year there was a pair of foxes that decided they were going to sneak in at night and eat some of the cottontails in our yard, too. Then there's a pair of bald eagles that makes their appearance a few times a month, not to mention all the hawks. Oh boy, now I might be rethinking the whole free ranging thing. Though about a mile down the road from us there's a small farm that leaves their Pekins run around during the day. I don't think they've had any problems with predators. Can and how hard is it to train ducks to stay in their own yard? We have an old kiddy pool I was planning on using for them until I can build them a proper pond. During the winter, can they be kept from the pond as long as they have access to water that is deep enough for them to stick their heads in? I think that might be all for now. Thank you in advance to anyone who has any answers or advice, and sorry for the long post.