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Give me Ducks 101.

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by Mamaperreca, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Mamaperreca

    Mamaperreca Chirping

    May 16, 2010
    Hey everyone. My DH has wanted ducks for a while now. By coincidence, a friend has to get rid of her 4 Welsh Harlequin ducks. So we are going to take them.

    So give me your best pointers and tips on Ducks.

    My first question being? Can I feed my ducks chicken layer food? They will also be able to free range almost every day, so hopefully will get most of what they need that way. In the winter if they are cooped up will the layer feed be ok. Or alternatively, is there a duck food that will be ok for my laying hens to eat.

    I was thinking of having drinking water available but have their swimming water outside of the coop. I can put a small kiddie pool outside near the coop and when I let them out each day they will have it available. If I have to be gone for a few days (rare) I can move the pool into the run that is attached to the coop. Its a big fenced in run that the chickens use when I am gone, or in the winter. Does that sound ok?

    What else? Anything I need to know about transitioning the birds to their new home? Do I need to keep them in the coop for a few days before I start free ranging them and cooping them at night? How do ducks do with this? Do they coop up at night like chickens?

    Also it is 2 males and 2 females I am getting. After doing a bit of reading in this forum I am thinking we might want to only keep one drake and eat the other guy. About that, she said one set is a male/female pair and the second male/female pair is their children.
    So I should most likely keep the "father" in this scenario and get rid of the "son" right? I am mostly wanting them for eggs, but since they already are adults it would be cool to hatch some eggs if the ducks set. If I decided to hatch a lot of them I would get a couple more unrelated females from a breeder.

    Any other tips or things I should know?

  2. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    You will want to keep them locked into smaller area while they are growing accustomed to their new home. Usually after they start putting themselves easily to bed at night, you can start letting them free range.

    I've used a 16% layer feed with my ducks and chickens when they are free ranging, but in the winter time when there are less bugs and stuff around I move them all to a 20% layer. I do this because waterfowl need more protein than chickens do, so when they are more dependent on the feed, I make sure it matches their needs. I have also found that if I leave feed out 24/7 for them, they will not range as much. This would mean they are not getting their nutritional needs met, in that case I would feed the 20%. I feed the waterfowl in the morning and in the evening and let them range all day, which is how I can get away with the lower % chicken feed. Alternatively, you get Purina's Flockraiser to feed them all all the time.

    Drinking water inside the coop will make a mess. They do not need water or feed overnight.

    Yeah, I would eat the son too.

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