Getting my first ducks- questions and tips?!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by 4ducklings, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. 4ducklings

    4ducklings New Egg

    Dec 28, 2016
    I am getting my first ducks for eggs this spring.. I have a couple questions I was hoping someone would have experience with? Right now I am planning to get 2 Welsh harlequin, a pekin, and a Cayuga. I am going to be ordering from Metzer I think and really want to handle them often as they grow so they are friendly when adults, I have two children who will be around them and really want them to be as friendly and able to be held/played with. Are these good breeds for both the pet aspect and the egg laying? They will be free range except at night, I live on the water so hoping they'll have a lot of natural foraging but my other question is what is the best feed for ducks? I would love to be able to grow a majority of their food if possible but just don't know what their main source of food should be? My last question is are ducks actually "trainable"? I'm nervous about them wandering away and not coming back? I do live in a small town with neighbors, I attached a photo of my backyard so you can see the water I am speaking of, I would like if they stayed back in this slew and would know to come back to their coop at nightfall, is this possible? If so, any tips on how to train them successfully? Sorry for the long post! Thank you!! [​IMG]
  2. No, you will not be able to train them to come back to the Coop/Run at night on their own....They might get conditioned to return for treats?......Nice pond, but the ample forage will possibly keep them there and be very hard to catch........I feed mine a scratch grain with less Corn...Duck Finisher and oat and barley crumble....Veggies and cat or dog kibbles....Your Breeds will be fine if that is what you decide on....They all lay eggs....

  3. Oh, also.......Not sure of your location but snapping Turtles could be an issue and many other predators also.......
    Wild Ducks also could come?

  4. Kiki to Nana

    Kiki to Nana Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2016
    I have two female black swedish that are 7 months old. We babied the hell out of them and even times I'd let them sleep on me for hours. Only one of them really lets you do whatever you want with her and the other one is a little more feisty when you touch her ( she was the one bullied cause she is a bit smaller :p ) None the less they are both very calm head bob anytime they see people.

    as far as food we (GF and I) used chick feed when they were young. When they were old enough to be outside and forge effectively we let them do their own thing but still provided the feed in case they didn't get the whole forging aspect.

    Eventually we transitioned them into Oats and leave a bowl for them every day in case they need it. I've read peanuts help the metabolism for winter but they just won't eat them (or corn) wish we would have fed them that at an earlier age so they would be use to it. Our other solution for winter was cabbage, they got the hang of that real quick. Just give them the whole head and they will pick at it for hours.

    You can't really train them, they seem to know the daily routine and for us they were easier to get in every night because they knew it was time. We have treat trained them with blueberries, they will literal come from or go to anywhere to get them.
    1 person likes this.
  5. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Don't let them into the pond without supervision and encouragement out of the pond for a bit.

    Get them used to a routine. Closed up at dark. You can figure out their favorite treat (peas are a huge hit with ducks) and use that every night as you put them to bed and close them in. Every night for a while, bring them in with peas. Then you can skip a night here and there, but get them to expect peas (or whatever snack you use).

    I'd not put them into the pond until you can get them to return to you with treats. Then let them on and let them play a while. Then use snacks to get them off the pond. I'd have them off the pond well before nightfall for a while. Once they reliably come off the pond when you treat them, then let them have a bit more free access.

    You can also try feeding them only at night in their pen then close them up. Then they will be used to getting dinner then going to bed after they are off the pond.

    Ducks like routine. So get that routine set and for the most part, they will stick to it.

    Not to say you won't have some nights where you are at the edge of the water begging your ducks to come in and threatening to let something eat them if they don't get their little duck butts where they belong... but for the most part, once you have a routine for them, they should be good to go.

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