Getting my first ducks. Questions!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by rubberduckies, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok... I always do lots of research before I do new things. So I've been reading a lot and I keep finding myself on this site. So I joined because I'm hoping y'all can answer some questions for me. I'm getting my first ducks in a few weeks. I want to get a few different kinds. Rouen, Pekin, and Indian Runners. 4 females, 1 male. Will these breeds get along and live together ok? I have plans to keep them inside for 6-8 weeks but then they will be going outside. I have plans to build a nice house for them to sleep in at night but during the day they will have a fenced in area with a kiddie pool. We are renting right now but in a few years will be moving back to the house we own (military). So what would you suggest I do about the enclosure? I'm thinking of putting up a chicken wire type fence. How difficult would it be to remove the chicken wire and move it to the other house? (Btw, putting up a chicken wire fence is ok with the land lord). I just can't do anything more permanent at the moment. Also, has anyone ordered ducks from idealpoultry.com? Did the ducks arrive healthy? Was it overnight delivery? I've heard good things about the site but I'm worried about ordering online. But I really want certain breeds/sexes and I would like them to all grow up together. (I won't be able to do most of that if I find local ducklings). Can't wait to hear some advice!
     
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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  3. duckins

    duckins Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your breeds should mix well. Are you planning breeding, meat, eggs, or pleasure. I ask bc drakes can be very rough when mating but
     
  4. duckins

    duckins Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry hit reply button way to soon. But as duckling their fine. Have not ordered from ideal poultry not sure but have from metzers super good arrived in 2 days ca to va I would rather get from mail than store you get what u want I have ordered 13 at different times only lost one think it was my fault overheating her. I have5 more coming this Wednesday from metzers. Strongly recommend vita/electro packets to mix with their water it helps give um a boost. Your on right track 6-8 wks inside in brooder. For outside it need to be heavy wire to keep preds out for a movable pen I have 10x10 dog lots ran chick wire over that 4 ft high and one ft on ground then I set railroad crosstie on that for digging preds the kennel wire is tough to resist chewing (check for weak links) on top I ran chick wire for overhead preds if you go this route close gaps that cats or raccoons may get threw. at this moment I find hawks and stray dogs to be worse pred in my area but I know there are many others out there. Pools fine in the lot just provide a house for wind rain shelter if no pool they'll need a bucket deep enough for head and nasal to be cleaned this is important when their older. They must have water to eat with otherwise they'll choke (duck or duckling). Sounds complicated but its not remember don't hesitate to ask questions on here they are very helpful I hope you enjoy them my ducks have brought us such joy and peace.
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I second the recommendation to buy from Metzer Farms. I've ordered sexed ducklings twice and been very happy with the stock, shipping, customer service.
     
  6. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice! I'll check out metzers. I definitely want what I want. Lol. So I don't want to just get whatever they have at the local feed store. I want them as pets. Have for a long time. They make me smile (especially the Runners). But I will be eating their eggs. Any advice on that? Lol. I might let them have a few babies eventually but mainly we'll eat them. It is ok to eat them if they're fertilized, right? I plan to collect the eggs every morning, put them kn the fridge, and eat them within a few days. As for the enclosure... I'm not exactly sure what I'll be using yet but I do want something sturdy ( like a wooden fence type thing) and then put chicken wire up too. Together. I hope that makes sense. And I just thought... I've heard to mix niacin with their food? How long should I do that? And if I'll be eating their eggs should I give them more protein after they're grown? Or is that not necessary? (I've heard both). And I read that ducklings need sand as grit to grind their food. Should I give them that right away? When should I switch to shells? Sorry I'm asking so many questions. I just don't want to do anything wrong. :)
     
  7. HauiBali

    HauiBali Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello and Welcome!

    There are many duck-keepers with much more knowledge than I have, but I'm happy to give you answers, and let them correct if I'm wrong, so I can learn too. :)

    I have a flock of five runners, all girl. Yes, fertilized and unfertilized eggs are safe to eat both. I made a nightcoop for them using pallets, cheap and affordable. Bedding is straw, changed every few days. If I have to run to work and I'm late, I just fork the bedding upside down. In the morning I let them out to the chicken wired run which has a small "lake" (well, it's pretty much a mudhole these days, more or less), where they stay still midday. Winter i's cold here, so this "half day prison" is because they eat more if they do not have the option to run like a bunch of ever-happy village idiots, which helps building a protective layer of fat. After dinner I let them out, and they roam around happily till the night comes, when they move to their home to sleep. When they were babies I fed them duckling food (broken little pellets), also they had a small tray with half-peppercorn sized gravel. "Washed white river-gravel" we call it. I had not gave them niacin, this premix designed for ducklings had everything in it (organic too, GMO-crops are banned in Hungary under very severe penalties).

    When they were two weeks old I started to give them little amounts of iceberg lettuce and cooked carrots, and later I mixed it with weeds I want to be removed from the garden. Worked perfectly well, they remembered that those weeds are special (because I gave them as a treat), so they select the sprouts first. Also, main reason was to get ducks is the slugs. They ate all. And all the snails too. This year we will probably have more cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha, "may bug") than in 2012 (as their number is fluctuating yearly), I wonder that will my ducks eat them.

    When there are no bugs in the garden (crickets! they love crickets) for added protein a freshwater live baitfish cut to chunks is good fro them, but they do love mealworms too (which is quite expensive, a good handful is appx. two USD). My ducks were born in 2012 June and today I had the first egg. In response to this, from tomorrow they will have oyster shell as a side dish. Their diet is now cracked corn and whole wheat, 50/50, also in the afternoons they eat sprouts, lots of them, they pull it out from under the snow.

    Always, always place water nearby their food, in a bucket that is deep enough for them ti clean their eyes and nostrils. And their muddy beaks and feet. Therefore, "fresh water" and "clean water" is as clean... well, "duck clean". They have different standards than human. Ducks love routine, so please try to do things at around the same time. Open the coop when the sun rises, close it when it sets. Runners are very curious and great pets, but you have to keep in mind that they are closer to wild ducks than say, Pekins, so don't scare them, and handle only when necessary.

    Just my two cents, have fun, and good luck with your flock! Buy at least 4-5, they love and need each others company. Drake is not necessary if you don't plan to breed them, they will lay without drakes too, just as well and even more (drakes have quite a libido, which can be harsh on some birds, especially if the drake has a "favourite").
     
  8. rubberduckies

    rubberduckies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, that's a lot of info. Thanks! Do you have a vegetable garden or flowers? I'd love to let them in my vegetable garden so they can eat the bugs but I'm kind of scared they'd eat the plants. Lol.
     
  9. Carcajou

    Carcajou Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] rubberduckies! Glad you joined. You have come to the right place!
     
  10. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners Premium Member

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    Welcome, and you have received a good bit of good information! Very good and helpful and knowledgeable membership here. Duck Forum folks have really pulled us (the flock and me) through.

    Getting back to housing. I feel very strongly that half inch metal hardware cloth is the best predator deterrent. So any openings in the night shelter must, for my ducks, be covered with that.

    Here are some ideas for your pen that will need to be moved.

    How about pre-made panels? The veranda (porch attached to the duck house) is made of them. Each is 4 ft by 4ft, covered with half inch metal hardware cloth. They are bolted to 2"x4"s between them. They sit on 1"x6" boards on top of concrete blocks. Between the panels and the 1"x6", I secured another section of hardware cloth to underlay the bottom. Here's why. Predators will dig under fence, even old floorboards. The hardware cloth is the alternative to digging a trench around the pen, which was recommended as one way to thwart foxes, dogs, coyotes, raccoons, etc.

    The Day Pen, not quite as predator-resistant because most predators come around at night, has coated chain link across the bottom, secured between 2 1"x6"s. Again, no trench digging or burying fence. Straw or shavings or whatever goes on top of the chain link. The sides and top are covered with 2"x3" coated woven wire. Along the bottom of the sides I have small-diameter-opening 2' tall chicken wire to keep things from grabbing ducks through the fence. The Day Pen is actually a large wire box. No fenceposts have been driven into the ground. Posts are sets of three 2"x4"s bolted together. It would be a chore due to the size (10x16 feet), but it could be disassembled and moved.
     

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